New York Times crossword June 5 / Constructed by Yaakov Bendavid
Today’s puzzle was all about the title. “Cagey Answers” was so aurally clever that it pretty much saved an otherwise unremarkable grid. “Cagey,” though, doesn’t refer to birds or evasiveness but to the letters K and G; the theme answers tweak common phrases by replacing a G with a K to create funny new meanings.
“How organized philosophers deal with ideas?” is ONE THINK AT A TIME (24 Across); “Highway S-curve?” is KINK OF THE ROAD (30 Across); “Countess bankrupts St. Louis N.H.L. team?” is LADY SINKS THE BLUES (51 Across); “Warning before driving past the town dump?” is THIS MAY STINK A LITTLE (67 Across); “Wayne Gretzky?” is THE LORD OF THE RINKS (85 Across); “Being too large to fail?” is the BIG BANK THEORY (103 Across); and a “Singles bar pickup strategy?” is A WINK AND A PRAYER (116 Across).
Blast from the Past Dept.: “Onetime Robin Williams co-star” is PAM DAWBER (110 Across) from that old TV show “Mork & Mindy.” Holy crap, whatever happened to her? According to IMDB, Pam is married to actor Mark Harmon (“NCIS”) and her last film credit was a movie called “I’ll Remember April” in 2000 with then-child star Haley Joel Osment (“I see dead people!”). More importantly, do I dare admit I owned a pair of those rainbow suspenders that Mork wore? (I was about 10 at the time … )
Blast from the Past II Dept.: Did anyone else notice that neighboring answers 72- and 71 Down are EVERT and LLOYD? As in former women’s tennis star Chris Evert-Lloyd? Despite this being the weekend of the French Open finals, the clues had nothing to do with tennis: 72 Down was “Turn outward” for EVERT and 71 Down was “Frank ___, two-time Oscar-winning director” for LLOYD. (Then again, Evert has been divorced and remarried a couple of times since her Evert-Lloyd days.) One more tennis-related clue: “Score right before a win, maybe” is AD IN (80 Across).
Down the Rabbit Hole Dept.: Will Shortz went for the adolescent romp instead of the childhood classic by using “Words on an ‘Animal House’ cake float” to clue the words EAT ME (59 Across).
Can You Hear Me Now? Dept: “Digital communicaton?: Abbr.” is ASL, for American Sign Language, which uses digits — fingers — to communicate (58 Across).
Just a Cool Answer Dept.: “Playbook figures” are X’S AND O’S (36 Across).