In-nuendos

New York Times crossword April 8 / Constructed by Daniel A. Finan

You really had to read between the lines, or within the circles, to figure out this fun and clever puzzle. The rebus-like theme uses circled letters to literally hide answers “in” the entry — thus the title, “In-nuendos.” (I’ll have to underline and bold the circled letters here.) For instance, 101 Across — “Golf ace” — yields the answer THE LONELIEST NUMBER. The circled letters spell HOLE, while another word for “the loneliest number” is “one.” Thus a “Golf ace” is a HOLE in “one.”

Others: “1997 Will Smith/Tommy Lee Jones flick” (22 Across) is AFRICAN AMERICAN, for MEN in “black.” “Preventive measure, proverbially” (36 Across) is IT’S TOLD USING A WATCH, for a STITCH in “time” saves nine. “Headstone phrase” (51 Across) is TREATY RESULT, for REST in “peace.” “Lurid 1979 film about John Dillinger’s girlfriend, with ‘The'” (69 Across) is COLOR FOR VALENTINE’S DAY, for LADY in “red.” “‘To be on the safe side …'” (88 Across) is JUDGE’S MATTER, for JUST in “case.” And “One who looks friendly but isn’t” (121 Across) is WOOL FACETIOUSLY, for a WOLF in “sheep’s clothing.”

Athletic Dept.: Lots of sports-related clues in this puzzle. “Athlete wearing a calligraphic ‘D’ logo” is a (Detroit) TIGER (67 Across). “Knicks star Anthony, to fans” is MELO (26 Across). “Golfer with an ‘army'” is ARNIE (Palmer, 21 Across). “Big name in the diamond business,” as in baseball, is ALOU (23 Down). “Home of the Texas Sports Hall of Fame” is WACO (82 Down). “Virginia athlete, informally” is a CAV, for Cavalier (58 Down). “N.B.A. forward Lamar ___” is ODOM (71 Down). And a “Stone-pushing Winter Olympian” is a CURLER (97 Across).

Doubling Up Dept.: “Where skaters skate” was a repeated clue that yielded ON ICE (17 Down) and RINKS (18 Down). “Locale for many a lounge chair” is POOLSIDE (48 Down), while “Lounge lizard’s look” is a LEER (50 Down).

Did You See The End Of Season One? Dept.: Because I’m pretty sure this guy died. “‘Game of Thrones’ protagonist ___ Stark” is, or was, NED (72 Down).

Blast From The Past Dept.: I never actually played PARCHEESI (“The Royal Game of India,” 114 Across) as a kid, but I remember the board game being ever-present on some people’s shelves.

Easter/Passover Dept.: “Bishop’s local” is a DIOCESE (35 Across). “Not kosher” is TREF (90 Down). Also might add in SLAVE (“___ driver,” 113 Across), since we watched the end of the annual broadcast of “The Ten Commandments” on TV last night. And for both religions, “There is ___” A GOD (119 Across).

Philly Shout-Out Dept.: “Letter seen twice in Philadelphia,” at least in its original Greek, is PHI (79 Across).

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