I Heard You The First Time

New York Times crossword Feb. 10 / Constructed by Patrick Berry

What what? I couldn’t hear you the first time. Today’s puzzle was too easy, you say? Yes, yes, I’m afraid it was.

I suppose solvers are bound to feel let down after a challenging puzzle like “Black Cats,” and today’s simple theme definitely falls into that category. Its repetitive clues lead to phrases that repeat the leading word, like HUNGRY, HUNGRY HIPPOS (“Somewhat redundant Milton Bradley game?” 30 Across) and OFF-OFF BROADWAY SHOW (“Somewhat redundant theater production?” 100 Across), to name a couple.

Others: GREEN, GREEN GRASS OF HOME (“Somewhat redundant 1965 country song?” 22 Across); THE WILD, WILD WEST (“Somewhat redundant 1960s spy series?” 64 Across); SHORT, SHORT STORY (“Somewhat redundant literary genre?” 83 Across); EXTRA-EXTRA-LARGE (“Somewhat redundant size?” 49 Across); and the capper, IT’S A MAD, MAD, MAD, MAD WORLD (“Extremely redundant 1963 caper film?” 112 Across). It not only has one of the longest titles in Hollywood, it’s also one of the longest movies, period — 192 minutes. I tried to watch it once, “tried” being the key word.

Can You Repeat That? Dept.: Just in case you haven’t spent enough time in this echo chamber, “Human speech mimickers” are MYNAHS (9 Down).

Big Sigh Dept.: “MTV’s earliest viewers, mostly” were GEN X (31 Down). Yeah, that’s me. “Portlandia” had an awesome sketch recently featuring ’80s-era VJs Tabitha Soren, Kurt Loder and Matt Pinfield (OK, I don’t remember him at all) in which Gen X-ers try to take back the channel so that it actually plays music again.

Sweet Tooth Dept.: I don’t eat MALLOMARS, which is probably why I had no idea they are “Nabisco treats sold only seasonally” (79 Down). Marshmallows have a growing season?

Philly Shout-Out Dept.: “Cheney’s follower” as vice president is BIDEN (103 Down), who happens to be coming to Philly tomorrow for a forum on gun violence. I’ll stretch this hometown category to include the well-known South Philly street ELLSWORTH (though in this grid it references the “South Dakota Air Force base,” 44 Down) and OWL (“Bedtime preyer?” 56 Across), the mascot of Temple University. Temple just joined UCONN (“Big East sch., 75 Down) in that athletic conference.

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Comments

2 thoughts on “I Heard You The First Time”

  1. IMHO, the cleverness lies less in the construction (answers) and more in the clues. “Somewhat redundant” is a cheap way out. Are there no synonyms for “redundant”? Where is the thesaurus when you need it?

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