I have never met constructor Elizabeth C. Gorski, but I’ve solved enough of her puzzles to know that I’m in for something fun when I see her name on a grid. Today was no exception.
The first thing I noticed was that the theme answers appeared to be all vertical. Paired with the fact that the title was “Bottoms Up!”, I began to think I’d be entering Down answers backward, i.e. from the bottom up. Turns out I was close — only the last word of each answer was reversed, thus putting a new twist on a common phrase. “Cash for trash?” is a JUNK REWARD (3 Down), partially flipping the phrase “junk drawer.”
Others: “Angry slight?” is a HOT CROSS SNUB (4 Down). “Great Danes, e.g.?” are GIANT PETS (10 Down). “One-of-a-kind Dutch cheese?” is CUSTOM EDAM (14 Down). “Demon’s weekend plans?” are SATURDAY NIGHT EVIL (24 Down). “Catherine’s demand of Heathcliff in ‘Wuthering Heights’?” is GO TO YOUR MOOR (60 Down). “‘How’s it going, fish?’?” is WHAT’S UP, COD? (67 Down). “Dracula’s bar bill” is a VAMPIRE TAB (70 Down). And a “Celebratory swig after a football two-pointer?” is a SAFETY NIP (75 Down).
Senior Class Dept.: The doubled clue for 15 Down and 82 Across gave you a couple of hints to what AARP stands for: AMER and RETD (“Part of AARP: Abbr.”). But the interest group actually stopped calling itself the American Association of Retired Persons in 1999 because it represents people 50 and over, many of whom have not retired.
Thank God That’s Over Dept.: The best thing about living in the Philadelphia media market this past election season is that we were not in a SWING VOTE (“Target for many a political ad,” 68 Across) area, so candidate commercials were kept to a minimum. I can’t imagine how anyone in Florida or Ohio could have turned on their TV over the past few weeks.
Habla Espanol? Dept.: “Animal in una casa” is a GATO (33 Across). “Piñata part” is a TILDE (45 Down), referring to the squiggle over the “n.” (Which I am very pleased that Word Press added for me, because I have no idea how to generate it on my keyboard.) While we’re on the subject, Gorski also included LATINO (“Like about 7% of the U.S. electorate,” 105 Across), SOMBRERO (“Kahlua and cream over ice,” 100 Across) and TACO STAND (“Place that sells shells?” 103 Across).
Hollywood Is Calling Dept.: “Subject explored in the ‘The Crying Game'” is ANDROGYNY (58 Across), a great word for a puzzle but a huge spoiler if you haven’t seen the film. “Villainous ‘Star Wars’ title” is DARTH (50 Across), which I only realized was not Darth Vader’s first name after George Lucas introduced a character named Darth Maul in Episode 1: The Phantom Menace. And “Quo ___?” is VADIS (52 Across), which I only know because it’s a movie title. Apparently, it means “Where are you going?”
Gathering No Moss Dept.: “‘___ You (#1 Rolling Stones album)” is TATTOO (34 Across). The Times has a big story today on the band’s 50th anniversary.