Entwisted

New York Times crossword Sept. 25 / Constructed by Paul Hunsberger

Good thing I’ve been going to yoga classes recently. It put me in the right frame of mind for today’s puzzle, which involves contortions of a different kind. Specifically, the theme answers take the letter N in various common phrases and twist it onto its side, rendering it into a Z. (Thus the puzzle’s title, “En-twisted” — get it?) So the “Result of being badly beaned?” is GREAT DAZE (21 Across), one N-twist away from GREAT DANE.

Others: “Scraping gadget with nothing in it?” is an EMPTY ZESTER (23 Across); “Pale yellow-shelled sea creature?” is a MAIZE LOBSTER (45 Across); “View the effects of a big lunch in court?” is SEE JUSTICE DOZE (60 Across); “Fluorescent candy?” is HIGHLIGHTER PEZ (67 Across); “‘Cheers’ spinoff mania?” is FRASIER CRAZE (92 Across); “Hapless Roman ruler?” is EMPEROR ZERO (113 Across); and “Taser for children?” is a KID ZAPPER (115 Across).

Fun Phrases Dept.: “No worries” is IT’S ALL GOOD (13 Down); “Why not!” is WHAT THE HEY (27 Down), which I have to admit I first entered as WHAT THE HAY. I never knew.

Parks and Rec Dept.: “Funny Poehler” is AMY (98 Across), formerly of “Saturday Night Live” and now of the NBC sitcom “Parks and Recreation.” Have to say that last night’s season premiere of SNL with Alec Baldwin was actually pretty funny (though I bailed after “Weekend Update”); I laughed at this sketch about a TV reporter in Costa Rica. Speaking of Alec Baldwin on SNL, did you see that Ben & Jerry’s made a real ice cream flavor based on his classic “Schweddy Balls” skit?

Sports Center Dept.: The Philadelphia Eagles of the NFL (“CBS’s ‘The ___ Today’,” 34 Across) played their home opener today against the New York Giants. (It wasn’t pretty.) Quarterback Michael Vick may have called HIKE! (“Cry after a series of numbers,” 29 Across) on the field, but I couldn’t hear it from my couch at home. These Giants, by the way, are not the same team mentioned in 12 Down: “Giant who made ‘The Catch,’ 1954.” That would be Willie MAYS, who played with the New York (later San Francisco) Giants of baseball. A picture of “The Catch” is here.

Guilty As Charged Dept.: “Quiz bowl lover, say” is a NERD (16 Down). Full disclosure: One of my favorite things to do in Philly is play Quizzo at the Black Sheep pub on Wednesday nights with Johnny Goodtimes.

Where Do Babies Come From? Dept.: “Vlasic pickles mascot” is a STORK (53 Across). “That babies come from a 53-Across, e.g.” is a MYTH (55 Across). Huh. Go figure.

Citizen Kane Dept.: “California’s ___ Castle” is HEARST (71 Down). Really wanted to see that on my West Coast trip last month but just couldn’t fit it in. Maybe next time.

Philly -Area Shout Out Dept.: Crossword constructors love the Welsh name of the elite women’s school just up the road: Bryn MAWR College (1 Across).

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