New York Times crossword Sept. 18 / Constructed by Josh Knapp
Don’t touch that dial!
Don’t squeeze the Charmin!
Don’t you dare!
And, of course, the famous Brady Bunch admonition: Don’t play ball in the house!
Those are just a few of life’s familiar “Don’t!” phrases that didn’t make it into this puzzle. But eight no-nos are featured in the grid, all with the simple clue “Don’t … !”: PLAY WITH MATCHES (23 Across); MESS WITH TEXAS (38 Across); BELIEVE THE HYPE (52 Across); QUIT YOUR DAY JOB (73 Across); QUOTE ME ON THIS (88 Across); TALK TO STRANGERS (103 Across); MOVE A MUSCLE (16 Down); and the Simpsonian HAVE A COW, MAN! (62 Down).
Speaking of Bart Dept.: The “Homeric cry?” in 60 Across — D’OH! — refers to his donut-eating father, not the author of the Odyssey.
Family Tree Dept.: A pair of “Biblical twin” clues led to JACOB (31 Down) and ESAU (109 Across). Also mentioned: ABEL (“Biblical shepherd,” 20 Across).
Polar Opposites Dept.: You can find a “Total hottie” — TEN — at 18 Down in the uppermost right corner. Diagonally opposite, in the lower left corner, is “Definitely not a hottie” — HAG (101 Down).
All in Good Fun Dept.: “Basic skateboarding trick” is an OLLIE (32 Down). And BEACH BALL is paired with SEAL (“One may be seen on a 28-Across’s nose,” 3 Down).
Wordplay Dept.: Clever or unusual entries include QWERTY (“Kind of keyboard,” 88 Across); PIMP (“Trick out, as a car,” 113 Across); TYRA (“Banks on a runway,” 71 Down); HOT-WIRE (“Start without permission?” 93 Across); and ADVERB (“Now or never,” 99 Across).
I’d Like to Thank the Academy Dept.: “France’s equivalent to an Oscar” is a CESAR (48 Down). Along those lines, the Emmy Awards are being given out tonight.
In Memoriam: “Hurricane of 2011” is IRENE (81 Across). As you may know, Irene was largely a bust in the places most worried about it — Philly, NYC and the Jersey Shore. But it devastated Vermont, washing out roads and bridges and cutting off many towns. My AP colleague John Curran, Vermont’s bureau chief, tirelessly covered the devastation and the residents affected by it, even traveling by ATV to get to newly isolated places like Rochester. I was stunned to learn that John died suddenly over the weekend. His death is a tremendous loss for both the AP and the public.