Pardon ‘E’ Interruption

New York Times crossword Aug. 28 / Constructed by Patrick Berry

Profuse apologies for the lateness of this post; it’s now Sept. 3. I’ll explain later, but basically Hurricane Irene washed out last week’s delivery of the NYT.

So … on to the puzzle. This week’s title, which brings to mind the similarly named ESPN show, pretty much gives away the theme: Common phrases are tweaked into humorous answers by the addition of  a long “E” sound. I’ll take the one that pays homage to the mascot of Boston University — my alma mater! — as an example: “Canine king’s regime?” is a REIGN OF TERRIER (26 Across). Go BU! Beat BC!

Others: “Lively dance performed as a six-pack is being laid to rest?” is a BEER BURIAL POLKA (23 Across); “Eco-warriors?” are BOTANICAL GUARDIANS (41 Across); “Encounter with an Alaskan bear?” is a KODIAK MOMENT (56 Across); “Set of shot glasses for Christmas?” is a PARTYING GIFT (76 Across); “Sharpshooter Oakley when she was a charming young musician?” is LITTLE ORPHEAN ANNIE (89 Across); “Interstellar valet’s jobs?” is PARKING METEORS (108 Across); and “Ship info kept for the Spanish Armada?” is MILES PER GALLEON (113 Across).

Greed Is Good Dept.: Is it a coincidence that “‘Wall Street’ character Gordon ___” GEKKO (44 Down) crosses with CITIBANK (“Beneficiary of a 2008 bailout,” 59 Across)?

Slam Dunk Dept.: “Dennis of the court” is RODMAN (93 Down), the flamboyant bad boy recently inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame. And, not sure who is responsible for this unfortunate phrasing, but the “All-Star Dick of the 1960s-’70s Knicks” is BARNETT (60 Down). I’m sure he’s a really nice guy.

Philly-Area Shout Out Dept.: “Valley ___” is FORGE (106 Down).

A Maori carving at Waitangi.

Excuse For Vacation Photos Dept.: “Native New Zealander” is a MAORI (88 Across). We saw lots of Maori carvings (right) at Waitangi when we visited in 2009.

They’re Baaaaaaack Dept.: My husband had an otherworldly urge to watch “Poltergeist” the other night, a film I hadn’t seen since it came out back in the ’80s. Now I remember why I feared CLOSETS (“Bogeymen’s hiding places,” 14 Down).

Roll Tide Dept.: “Tuscaloosa university, for short” is ‘BAMA (75 Down), which opened its football season today (Sept. 3) with a 48-7 routing of Kent State. It was an emotional scene at the stadium, which was hosting the first game since a deadly tornado devastated the city last spring.

Fish Tale Dept.: Speaking of natural disasters, Hurricane Irene barreled through Philly last weekend. I was called out to work on Sunday; luckily, the city was largely spared the nightmare visited on the residents of Vermont and upstate New York. But that’s why I didn’t blog last week … well, that and the fact that apparently the storm prevented delivery of the NYT to Philly newsstands. I know, I know — I wouldn’t have this problem if I subscribed online. My husband makes fun of me all the time for buying dead trees, as he calls newspapers, but old habits die hard. So I found the Aug. 28 puzzle in the Sept. 4 Philadelphia Inquirer, which publishes the syndicated version. (And the Inky puts out an early Sunday edition on Saturday, which is why I’m posting today.)

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