Pardon Ze Interruption

New York Times crossword Sept. 2 / Constructed by Joel Fagliano

Hope you will pardon “ze” interruption of your long Labor Day weekend! As you might have guessed from the title, today’s puzzle adds a “zee” to common phrases to create amusing theme answers. At first I thought constructor Joel Fagliano would just add the letter Z, but it’s actually the full “zee” sound — and it comes via many spellings: There’s CHOOSY TOY (“Chihuahua that eats only the best dog food?” 23 Across), as well as HOLDS SWAYZE (“What Jennifer Grey does in ‘Dirty Dancing’?” 25 Across).

Others: “Promiscuous woman of the Far East?” is ASIAN FLOOZIE (32 Across). “Begin a game of ‘She loves me, she loves me not …’?” is SEIZE THE DAISY (52 Across). “First-class piece of infant’s wear?” is CAPITAL ONESIE (70 Across). “Everest?” is a MOUNTAIN DOOZY (83 Across). “Where busybodies live?” is NOSY-MAN’S LAND (106 Across). “Group that regularly plays a classic dice game?” is a YAHTZEE CLUB (117 Across).

And finally there is SCRUB JAY-Z, the answer to “Drop a hip-hop star from the festival lineup?” (119 Across). Which is so ironic because Jay-Z was most definitely *not* scrubbed from the “Made In America” festival lineup that just played here in Philly last night. He even brought along surprise guest Kanye West. The two-day party continues today with co-headliner Pearl Jam and about a dozen other bands. Come on down — there are probably still tickets available, and the music goes on until 11 p.m.

Speaking of Music Dept.: Sure, “Rock and roll, e.g.” are technically just a couple of NOUNS (109 Down). But when you put them together at Citizens Bank Park tonight in Philly, you have a concert by Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band. We’ll be there. Hope the rain holds off!

For Fun Dept.: Lots of interesting words in today’s grid, including MANI-PEDI (“Salon treatment, informally,” 46 Down); HOT SAUCE (“Burrito topper,” 56 Down); AFC EAST (“Patriots’ group,” 1 Down); RED-EYES (“Two-day trips, sometimes,” 76 Across); and MOUNTIES (“Northern force,” 82 Across).

Names You Don’t See Every Day Dept.: MORTICIA (“‘The Addams Family’ matriarch,” 65 Across) and Winnie the Pooh’s friend EEYORE (“‘It’s not much of a tail, but I’m sort of attached to it,’ speaker,” 16 Down).

Geography Dept.: “Lake at one end of the Welland Canal” is ONTARIO (121 Across). “National park through which the Virgin River runs” is ZION (85 Down).

News To Me Dept.: A “Pentathlete, at times” is apparently an EPEEIST (89 Across). I didn’t know they competed in events outside of the track area (discus, javelin, pole vault, etc.) And “Foofaraw” is much ADO (21 Across) about something.

Dollar $ign$ Dept.: Last week, I mentioned a curious-looking Merl Reagle puzzle that featured dollar signs in all of the black (gray) squares. Called “Campaign 2012,” the theme turned out to be answers containing the letters PAC — for all the political action committees dumping millions of dollars into the election. My favorites: MS PAC-MAN (“1980s arcade game,” 34 Across); GAZPACHO (“A dish best served cold,” 46 Across); KEVIN SPACEY (“Two-time Oscar winner,” 25 Across); CAP (“Investment money, briefly, or this puzzle’s theme, backward,” 121 Down) and the related entry SUPER (“Adjective for the hidden words in this puzzle,” 58 Down).

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