The Long and Short of It

New York Times, Jan. 9

Greetings! I’m back from vacation, which doubled as a first-year anniversary present. As many of you figured out from my post last week, I was in Aruba, where the native tongue is Papiamento (and the other main languages are Dutch, English and Spanish). But already the sunny skies and warm breezes feel a world away.

Manchebo Beach, Aruba

This morning I bundled up to face Philly’s sub-freezing temperatures and walked past remnants of yesterday’s snow to get the Sunday puzzle. “The Long and Short of It” takes common phrases (or names) and changes the pronunciation of the letter “I” — making it either long or short — to create amusing theme answers. Thus a “Manic desire to make sweaters when the weekend starts?” is SATURDAY KNIT FEVER (23 Across).

Others: “Contents of the Visine Gazette?” is EYE WHITENESS NEWS (32 Across); “Parts of many cheerleading uniforms?” are SLIGHT SKIRTS (48 Across); “Cleanup crew’s goal?” is ZIPPO LITTER (64 Across); “Punchophobic?” is AFRAID OF HITS (81 Across); “Company whose motto is ‘Our pilots are moderately intelligent’?” is BRIGHTISH AIRWAYS (94 Across); “‘That thar was an appropriate thing to say!’?” is THEM’S FITTING WORDS (106 Across); “Cronkite when at the top of the ratings?” is WALTER MIGHTY (16 Down); and “Easily damaged major organs?” are TENDER VITALS (58 Down).

Keystone State Trivia Dept.: Zippo lighters (from ZIPPO LITTER, above) are made in rural Bradford, Pa. The company recently celebrated its 75th anniversary, and even has its own museum.

Birthers Dept.: Sheep who give birth are YEANING (“Bringing forth young, as sheep,” 116 Across), a term this city slicker has never seen, in crosswords or otherwise.

Say Cheese Dept.: I missed a lot of news while I was gone, but I managed to catch Friday’s AP headline about too much fluoride causing splotchy teeth, among other problems. The ADA (“Org. that supports water fluoridation,” 105 Across) says it’s possible to have too much of a good thing.

Looking for a Sign Dept.: I was hoping the “Top-grossing concert act of 1989, ’94 and ’05, with ‘the'” (36 Down) would be the Eagles, which — while not a great statement for music — would be a great omen for Philly football fans. Alas, it was the STONES. And so far, the football Eagles are sinking like stones against the Packers. Ugh.

Epilogue Dept.: I got both a TAN LINE (“Where brown and white meet,” 50 Across) and a nasty cold in Aruba. I’m not expecting much sympathy, but I am counting the hours until I can take some more DayQuil.

Off to solve last week’s puzzle. Will post something soon!

Questions or comments? Tweet me @crosswordkathy or visit my Facebook page.

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