New York Times, May 23

Greetings once again from the City of Brotherly Love.

Apologies for missing last week’s puzzle; I was in Italy for a friend’s wedding. Luckily, the combination of my jet lag and The Philadelphia Inquirer running Sunday NYT puzzles in syndication (read: a week late) means that I was able to polish off the May 23 puzzle before breakfast. I hope to do today’s later this afternoon.

The “Flip-Flops” title made me think that the theme answers would be common phrases with their first letters switched. Not quite. In this theme, entire halves of compound words were flip-flopped to create cute turns-of-phrase.

So “Where ETs do knitting and art?” is ALIEN CRAFT SPACE (23 Across); the “Thug living next to humorist Will?” is MR ROGERS’ HOOD NEIGHBOR (34 Across); “‘Get that first down … and don’t fumble’?” is a HAND-OFF REMARK (46 Across); “Watching over Warsaw’s national emblem?” is POLE FLAG SITTING (67 Across); “Waiting in line for hooch?” is AT A STILL STAND (88 Across); “Competition among shrinks?” is a PSYCHOLOGICAL FARE WAR (97 Across); and “Visitors’ fair warning?” is WE SHALL COME OVER (119 Across).

Not much else caught my eye in this puzzle, though I will take issue with the supposed “Growling sound” in 36 Down: RRR. Every growl I’ve heard sounds like GRR. And ARUGULA (50 Down, “Salad green”) reminded me how I learned this past week that some chefs refer to it as “rocket.” Anyone know why?

Off to start today’s puzzle.

Questions or comments? Tweet me @crosswordkathy.

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