Networking Event

New York Times crossword Jan. 29 / Constructed by Ian Livengood

Hope you have cable TV — and are a big channel surfer — because today’s puzzle is all about networks. And we’re not talking the Tiffany Network.

The three major stations I grew up with (ABC, CBS and NBC) are nowhere to be found in this grid. Instead, constructor Ian Livengood did an admirable and fun job of fitting the names of eight — possibly 10? — other channels into the theme answers.

The lineup: SPIKE HEELS (“Fancy footwear at a TV station?” 22 Across); E-MARKETING (“Advertising department at a TV station?” 24 Across); ENCORE PRESENTATION (“Slide show at a TV station?” 36 Across); ION EXCHANGE (“Q&A at a TV station?” 56 Across); HISTORY BUFF (“Expert at a TV station?” 72 Across); LIFETIME MEMBERSHIP (“Enrollment at a TV station?” 86 Across); FOX HUNTERS (“Recruiters at a TV station?”) 104 Across); and OXYGEN TANK (“Fish holder at a TV station?” 106 Across).

Two answers that come close to being part of the theme are BASS TUBA (“Instrument with a big bell,” 69 Across) and CHOP CHOP (“Lickety-split,” 58 Across). The clue wording doesn’t follow the same pattern as the other theme clues, but there is a “Bassmasters” program on the Outdoor Channel and a show called “Chopped” on the Food Network.

Dance Fever Dept.: The puzzle also contained an awesome reference to one of Fox’s longest running and most popular shows: “‘The Simpsons’ character with platform shoes” – DISCO STU (8 Down).

Big Apple Dept.: I’m actually in New York this weekend, surrounded by Super Bowl hype for the Giants. A couple of related clues: “Bowl call” is RAH (48 Down), and “___ Levy, four-time Super Bowl coach for Buffalo” is MARV (27 Across), a clue that mercifully doesn’t rub in the fact that he lost all four games.

Very Funny Dept.: “Sidecars might go on it” is BAR TAB (65 Down). “Oil producer?” is a PAINT BRUSH (53 Down).

Shortz Slang Dept.: After the brouhaha over the clue for “illin'” a couple of weeks ago, Will braves modern slang again with 98 Across: “Playful response to a good insult”: OH SNAP!

Three Things I’ve Never Heard Of Dept.: “Leucippus and Democritus, philosophically” – ATOMISTS (49 Down). I tried to read about atomism but it was too early in the morning.

Training Dept.: “Classic toy company whose name is its founder’s middle name” is LIONEL (35 Across).

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