V-2

New York Times crossword Feb. 27 / Constructed by Peter A. Collins

Please pardon the typos. I am blogging from the passenger seat of a car traveling down I-95 from Boston to Philly. (Hooray for VirginMobile Mi-Fi!) It also means my grid is so messy from trying to write on a potholed road that I’m not going to post a photo of the puzzle, which is somewhat visual.

The black squares in the grid form a pair of “V”s, reflecting the “V-2” title. (The German V-2 rocket was the progenitor of all modern rockets, according to Wikipedia.) “V-2” also refers to several double-V theme answers: John McCain and John Kerry are VIETNAM VETS (27 Across); “‘Wedding Crashers’ co-star, 2005” is VINCE VAUGHN (73 Across); “Keepers of the flame?” are VESTAL VIRGINS (107 Across); “The other way around” is VICE-VERSA (4 Down); “Plant with purple flowers” is a VINCA VINE (16 Down); “Weekly since 1955, with ‘The'” is VILLAGE VOICE (59 Down); and a “Vessel seen just below the surface?” is a VARICOSE VEIN (63 Down).

What? No V FOR VENDETTA? I guess that pesky conjunction keeps it from being a true V-2. But there was an implied V-2 in “Word on either side of ‘a'”: VIS (63 Across). Then there was the simply clued “V” _ the Roman numeral for FIVE (104 Down). And the single letters in the valleys of each black-squared V-shape were Vs: SOV (“U.S.S.R. part: Abbr.” 89 Down) and OLAV (“Royal name in Norway,” 39 Down).

Travelogue Dept.: We got a glimpse of the CHARLES (“River crossed by Longfellow Bridge,” 42 Across) from Storrow Drive on our way into Boston. We’ve been gone for about 36 hours, which means our cat will undoubtedly be saying FEED ME (“What ‘Arf! Arf!’ or ‘Meow!’ may mean,” 55 Across) when we get home. Only if you haven’t destroyed the couch, Phoebe.

Onward and Upward Dept.: “Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, once, on ‘S.N.L.'” were COANCHORS (79 Across) until they moved on to the sitcoms “30 Rock” and “Parks and Rec.”

Generation Gap Dept.: “___-X” (53 Down) was not GEN-X, as this proud Gen-Xer initially thought, but the much more bloated GAS-X.

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