Turning Back

New York Times, Sept. 5

A title with “Turning” in it nearly always indicates some kind of backward wordplay … and, indeed, today’s “Turning Back” takes common two-word phrases and reverses the second word, creating a humorous twist. So 23 Across, “Taking the dimensions of busybodies?” is MEASURING SNOOPS, which is SPOONS spelled backward.

Others: “Done swimming?” (42 Across) is OUT OF THE POOL; “Giving an award to the wrong person?” (45 Across) is PRIZE SLIPUP; “Slandering a Thanksgiving dish?” (70 Across) is TURKEY TORT; “Othello, before Act V, Scene II?” (74 Across) is a LIVING MOOR; “Summary of ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark’?” (101 Across) is an INDIANA RECAP; “Pious spouse’s ultimatum?” (123 Across) is LOVE ME, LOVE MY GOD; and “Comment in a women’s mag?” (99 Across) is COSMO REMARK.

Speaking of Cosmo Kramer, he is actually the fourth “Seinfeld” character to appear in today’s puzzle. Check out 4 Down, “Surname of TV’s George, Frank and Estelle” — COSTANZA. If only constructor Will Nediger could’ve gotten MANZIERE into the grid …

Bling Bling Dept.: AIR JORDAN (“Sneaker with a Jumpman logo,” 40 Down) and CRISTAL (“Champagne often mentioned in hip-hop songs,” 6 Down)

When’s Dinner Dept.: “Dish with greens and ground beef” is a TACO SALAD (53 Down).

Lovers’ Quarrel Dept.: The grid had both I MISS YOU (“Sweetheart’s telephone comment,” 96 Down) and AM I WRONG (“Is it not so?” 94 Down).

Words I’ve Never Seen In A Crossword (Or Anywhere Else) Dept.: POMELO (“Fruit with a thick rind,” 16 Down, which is apparently sort of like a grapefruit, but not really); AZERA (“Hyundai sedan,” 127 Across); and DOZY (“Ready for a nap,” 119 Down). When I’m ready for a nap, I am tired — and then I doze off. I’m never DOZY.

Questions or comments? Tweet me @crosswordkathy.

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