Added Satisfaction

New York Times crossword puzzle Aug. 11 / Constructed by Dan Schoenholz

Ah, the satisfaction of solving a New York Times crossword puzzle! It’s a sentiment you should take literally today. Constructor Dan Schoenholz has tweaked common phrases by adding the syllable most commonly associated with satisfaction: AH!

The title “Added Satisfaction” gave a strong hint to the theme, and my hunch was quickly confirmed with the solving of LEFT BAHRAIN (“Departed from Manama, maybe?” 86 Across) and AUNTIE AHEM (“Niece’s polite interruption?” 102 Across), a reference to Auntie Em from “The Wizard of Oz.”

Others: JUST SAY NOAH (“Webster’s directive to the overly formal?” 42 Down); HEAD TO TAHOE (“What many Bay Area skiers do on winter weekends?” 52 Down);  AFTER ALLAH (“Where most things rank in importance to a Muslim?” 26 Across); ; HOOKAH, LINE AND SINKER (“Equipment list for a hashish-smoking fisherman?” 62 Across); and SAHARA SMILE (“Welcome look from a Bedouin?” 25 Down).

Philly Shout-Out Dept.: I have to admit that the aforementioned SAHARA SMILE rang a bell, but I couldn’t quite place its origin (“Sara Smile”). Turns out it’s a Hall & Oates song. The duo met while they were students at Temple University in Philly.

Doubled-Up Dept.: The twice-used clue “Commotions” yields both STIRS (114 Across) and ADOS (16 Down). “Raises” is REARS (45 Across), while its neighbor “___ raise” is PAY (46 Across). “Speck” is a MOTE (4 Down), while the neighboring “Space specks” are STARDUST (5 Down). Some answers were doubled, too: UH-UH (“‘No way!’,” 103 Down) and NY, NY (“’30 Rock’ setting, briefly,” 104 Down).

For Fun Dept.: Several unusual long entries in the grid weren’t part of the theme, such as THE BEAST (“Beauty’s counterpart,” 83 Down), UPHOLSTER (“Cover, in a way,” 92 Across), JOE CAMEL (“Old ad figure with a big nose,” 11 Down), LARKSPURS (“Often-blue garden blooms,” 50 Down) and STUD POKER (“Game for those who don’t like to draw,” 35 Down). Others: ON THE EDGE (“Close to losing it,” 106 Across), HOT DATES (“Exciting matches?” 52 Across), FIRE SALES (“‘Everything must go’ events,” 91 Across) and FEAST UPON (“Eat heartily,” 24 Across).

Mea Culpa Dept.: I was stymied a bit after entering QUATRO for “Numero of countries bordering Guatemala” at 98 Across. I finally realized my mistake – it should be CUATRO – after futilely struggling to come up with a four-letter word for “Intimidates” (98 Down) that began with Q. The C made it easy to figure out it was COWS.

Say What? Dept.: This puzzle had a few obscure entries, including POESY (“Burns books?” 57 Across), POLITY (“Organized society,” 19 Down), UTHER (“King Arthur’s father,” 92 Down), ATRI (“Italian bell town,” 100 Down) and BAWD (“Madam,” 51 Across). Funny, I’ve never heard the word “bawd,” though its derivative “bawdy” is pretty familiar.

Flying High Dept.: I first learned about the ENOLA GAY (“Historic exhibit at Washington Dulles airport,” 81 Down) while researching a junior high school report on the bombing of Hiroshima. I was surprised to learn from this puzzle that it’s at Dulles – could waiting passengers just walk over and see it? Not exactly, according to the Smithsonian’s website. The plane is at the Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Va., just south of Dulles.

Need some solving tips and tricks? I’ve posted some here. Feel free to ask questions or leave comments below. You can also visit my Facebook page, or tweet me @crosswordkathy.