Circling The Job Listings

New York Times crossword Sept. 9 / Constructed by Kevin G. Der

Wow, did anyone else have trouble with this puzzle? Not the theme –which was series of fairly easy-to-deduce occupations — but the rest of the clues?

Maybe I just hadn’t had enough coffee. This puzzle took me forever and my grid is filled with messy corrections. SAM became EVA (“Mendes of Hollywood,” 93 Across) and TRUMAN became STALIN (“Potsdam attendee,” 54 Across), to name just two.

Anyway, the theme by constructor Kevin G. Der revolves around cleverly written “job listings” that apply to more than one profession. “Must wear gloves in the field” — the clue for 23- and 33 Across — yields BASEBALL PLAYER and ARCHAEOLOGIST, respectively. And “experienced in conducting surveys for sites” — for 33- and 50 Across — cycles back to ARCHAEOLOGIST and moves ahead to ONLINE MARKETER.

Continuing the “circle” referred to in the crossword’s title: “May be tasked with generating impressions” (50- and 62 Across) refers again to ONLINE MARKETER and to METAL WORKER. “Excellent filing skills required” (62- and 69 Across) is that same METAL WORKER as well as a LIBRARY PAGE. (In another boo-boo, I tried to enter MANICURIST for someone with filing skills. Sigh.)

More: “Focused on improving circulation” (69- and 86 Across) harkens back to LIBRARY PAGE and to CARDIAC SURGEON. “Willing to open chests and work on vessels” (86- and 96 Across) is that same CARDIAC SURGEON as well as a PIRATE CAPTAIN. “Strong, disciplined hands a must” (96- and 112 Across) is PIRATE CAPTAIN and CONCERT PIANIST. And “Should be comfortable sitting on the bench” completes the “circle,” linking the CONCERT PIANIST (112 Across) back to the BASEBALL PLAYER (23 Across).

Doubled-Up Dept.: There were two pairs of similar clues. “Dessert wines” are PORTS (96 Down) while a “Dessert wine” is ASTI (108 Down). “Divides” is RENDS (76 Down) while “Divide” is CLEAVE (95 Down). There was a pair of similar answers as well: ARMET (“Medieval helmet,” 99 Down) and ARMLET (“Jewelry item,” 91 Across), which I first incorrectly guessed as ANKLET. Who wears an armlet?

Not Sure About Dept.: Another screw-up I made was thinking “Space traveler?” (44 Across) referred to another type of job — COSMONAUT. I think now it refers to a COSMIC RAY, which crosses with my uncertain entry of OHIO (“What the French once called ‘la Belle Riviere’,” 36 Down). That, in turn, means the answer to “‘Hogwash!'” (41 Across) is PAH, which is both lame and a word I’ve never heard. If you got something different for those answers, please holler.

Empty Space Dept.: The one square I couldn’t get was the last letter of “Utah’s ___ National Forest” (38 Down). I had UINT_, crossing with H_W (“Shout from a field,” 59 Across). My best guess was HAW, which turned out to be right, making the forest UINTA. But I’ve never heard of HAW in that context. The clue is correct, according to the second definition on dictionary.com, but I’m calling a foul for being too arcane.

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