Oh, Who?

New York Times crossword puzzle May 18 / Constructed by Joe DiPietro

After solving today’s Irish-themed puzzle, I ended up taking a stroll through Philly’s Italian Market Festival and buying a plate of street tacos. Such are the wonders of life in the city.

This grid left me wondering a bit as well.  Constructor Joe DiPietro uses the O-apostrophe naming convention to create punny monikers for Irish people with various occupations. But the puzzle seems to have a split personality.

First we meet the “Irish arborist” WILL O’TREES  (24 Across) and the “Irish woodworker” PATTY O’FURNITURE (63 Across). Then comes MAE O’CLINIC, the “Irish health care worker” (110 Across), and JUNE O’ALASKA, the “Irish dog sled racer” (110 Across). Fair enough.

Yet then we meet ANGIE O’GRAM, who instead of being an Irish cardiologist is a “chemist” (22 Across). And COREY O’GRAPH is not an Irish dancer but an “algebra teacher” (47 Across). I get that chemists measure things in grams and that algebra uses graphs, but it’s kind of confusing, no? And MEL O’YELLOW (112 Across) is not a soda magnate but a painter? NATE O’SUMMIT (83 Across) is not a diplomat but a mountain climber? Hmmm. And I’m not even sure what profession does JEAN O’TYPING (32 Across), but I’m pretty sure it’s not a secretary.

What did you think?

On The Map Dept.: Speaking of other countries, a “Canadian blockhead” is a HOSER (87 Across). And BIG IN JAPAN applies to “(S)ome bands with only modest Western popularity” (3 Down).

Seriously? Dept.:  I really want to ask the Philly police if they’ve ever filed CARNAP charges against anyone (“Steal, as a vehicle,” 14 Down). Also in this category is the borderline cheesy PUT ‘ER THERE (“‘Let’s shake!'” 69 Down).

Almost Stumped Me Dept.: My fruit and floral knowledge is somewhat limited, so I had to guess – correctly, it turns out – that a “Pear or quince” was a POME (63 Down). I know “pomme” is French for “apple,” and I had PO _ E, but I wasn’t sure because it crossed with ARU_ (“Jack-in-the-pulpit, e.g.” 75 Across). Never heard of the plant term ARUM, though I do know Bob Arum is a major figure in professional boxing.

Stumped Me, The Sequel Dept.: I left one square blank: T _ PEE (“Pith helmet,” 37 Down), which crossed with T _ O (“All-human bridge?” 43 Across). I should have gotten the joke in the second clue – TOO is the “bridge” in the phrase “All TOO human.” But I’ve never heard of a TOPEE, which is something you’d wear on a SAFARI – at least the kind that’s not a “Preinstalled iPhone browser” (53 Down).

For Fun Dept.: Long answers that weren’t part of the theme include TOSS A SALAD (“Prepare the first course, say,” 72 Down) and CLERK’S TALE (“Chaucer work that invokes the book of Job, with ‘The’,” 15 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. And here’s a little more about me.