Indies

New York Times crossword May 13 / Constructed by Ben Tausig

Greetings from my stoop! It’s a beautiful day in Philadelphia — headed up to a sunny 80 degrees! — leading to the first outdoor solving of the year for me.

In case you hadn’t guessed, constructor Ben Tausig tells you straight out that “The title of this puzzle, e.g.” is a PUN (85 Across). “Indies” makes you insert a “D” sound into common phrases to create new ones: “Persians who protect their feet?” are THE SHOD OF IRAN (36 Across).

Others: “Entitlement to cross the stream first?” is RIGHT OF WADE (50 Across). “‘If you can’t behave on this tour, I swear you’ll be sorry!’?” is NO MORE MISTER NICE GUIDE (69 Across). “Big part of the dairy business?” is CHEESE TRADE (88 Across). “Lost subject of a hit Beatles song?” is WANDERING JUDE (104 Across). “Clothing-free version of the national pastime?” is WHOLE NUDE BALLGAME (115 Across). And a “Slogan for medical marijuana activists?” is WEED SHALL OVERCOME (23 Across).

Sex, Drugs and Rock-‘n-Roll Dept.: I was semi-surprised (but not offended) at the pot reference in 23 Across, seeing as how Will likes to keep the puzzle G-rated; I guess it’s kosher because joints are legal in some states now.  I was more surprised (but not offended) by the clue and answer for 106 Down: “Made whoopee” is DID IT. I was not surprised at all to see The Who and Bruce make appearances: “‘Tommy,’ e.g.,” is a ROCK OPERA (12 Down), while “State for which a Springsteen album is named: Abbr.” is NEBR (78 Across), for “Nebraska.”

Athletic Dept.: Quite a few sports are represented in the grid today. “Hank Aaron led the N.L. in them four times” is RBIS (12 Across). “Mark who won the 1998 Masters” is O’MEARA (19 Across). “Famously temperamental court figure” is MCENROE (16 Down). “Jason who’s a five-time baseball All-Star” is GIAMBI (52 Down). “Two-time N.L. batting champ Lefty” is O’DOUL (39 Down), who I’d never heard of until today. (Here’s his bio.) And while the answer to 114 Across, LIN, could have been clued as a reference to phenom Jeremy of the New York Knicks, it instead referred to artist Maya, the “Vietnam Memorial designer.” So much for Lin-sanity. (That coming from someone in a city whose NBA team made the 2nd round of the playoffs for the first time in about 10 years. Go Sixers!)

Two-For-One Dept.: “Smack” is KISS (76 Across). “[Smack!]” is BAM (93 Across).

Philly Shout-Out: “Dead Sea Scrolls writer” is ESSENE (103 Down). The scrolls are actually on display in Philly right now at the Franklin Institute; Essene is also a health food store in the city. Diagonally across the state, by the way, you’ll find ERIE, PA (“City down the lake from Buffalo, N.Y.,” 60 Down).

For Fun Dept.: Anyone who can fit KIM JONG UN (“World leader beginning December 2011,” 31 Down) into a puzzle deserves big kudos. Other creative entries: MORSE CODE (“Something you might tap into,” 64 Down), SKIP ROPE (“Play double Dutch, say,” 99 Across) and ODWALLA (“Big maker of smoothies and energy bars,” 90 Down).

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