Overheard In New England

New York Times crossword puzzle Sept. 29 / Constructed by Norm Guggenbiller

Who’s up for some some chowdah? Or lobstah, anyone? There’s not much to say about today’s puzzle, except that whatever you do say should be uttered with a Boston accent. “Overheard In New England” takes common phrases and replaces the “R” sounds with “AH” sounds.

So, if “A ‘Star Trek’ officer and a physician are going to board a plane?”, SPOCKS WILL FLY (24 Across). “Work agreeably in a greenhouse?” is POT ON GOOD TERMS (59 Across). “‘Happy Birthday’ on a cake, e.g.?” is GOBBLED MESSAGE (76 Across). And “Sexy operators?” are HOT SURGEONS (95 Across).

But the problem with some of the theme answers is that while the first word follows the accent, the second word doesn’t. COD COUNTERS (“Atlantic fishery officers?” 36 Across), for example, would actually be pronounced closer to “cod countahs.” Same with HOPPERS’ BAZAAR (“Where frogs shop?” 112 Across), which would be more like “hoppahs’ bazaah.”

Anyway, meh. I guess I should expect a bit of a letdown after last week’s blockbuster contest. And the theme would have been easy even if I hadn’t lived in Boston for eight years – and even if I hadn’t married a Beantown native. Though my husband doesn’t have much of an accent, he has a couple of relatives that pahk their cahs in Hahvahd Yahd, if you know what I mean.

Philly Shout-Out Dept.: “Comcast media holding” is NBC (41 Across). The hometown cable giant has the tallest building in the city.

Old School Dept.: I didn’t mind seeing quirky, cult TV character Les NESSMAN (“‘WKRP in Cincinnati’ news director Les ___,” 92 Down) in the grid. But who on earth is “1960s-’70s pitcher Blue Moon” ODOM (61 Down)? NBA player Lamar Odom, who doubles as a reality star in the Kardashian empire, is better reference. And who are the “1960s duo” OTIS & Carla (110 Down)?

Pole Position Dept.: Today’s post is short because I am fulfilling item #346 on my bucket list today: Attending a NASCAR race. I finished solving the puzzle in the parking lot, where there are plenty of tailgaters firing up their grills. But I have not yet seen a BUG ZAPPER (“Sight at many a barbecue,” 78 Down).

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.

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