New York Times crossword puzzle Sept. 8 / Constructed by Pete Muller and Sue Keefer
Ladies and gentlemen, start your engines! Today’s puzzle is for the car lovers among us: Each theme answer is a clever phrase composed solely of the names of vehicle models. Strung together as such, they “bump” each other – but don’t worry, nobody’s fender gets dented. And you won’t get whiplash.
The “Search for a cradle-robbing woman in New York City?” is a PARK AVENUE COUGAR QUEST (23 Across). A “High-handed ambassador stationed off the Italian coast?” is a CAVALIER CAPRI DIPLOMAT (37 Across). And a “Peace treaty between a predator and its prey?” is a BOBCAT-RABBIT ACCORD (55 Across).
More: “Tom Brady, in the 2002 Super Bowl?” was an INTREPID RAM CHALLENGER (67 Across). A “Musical piece for a ‘Star Wars’ battle scene?” is a STORM TROOPER SONATA (78 Across). An “Advocate for pro-am tournaments” is a CELEBRITY GOLF DEFENDER (98 Across). And a “Diminuitive Aborigine?” is a MIDGET OUTBACK EXPLORER (116 Across).
Overall, it was a pretty straightforward crossword after a couple of weeks of tricky grids. I have to say, though, as an urban dweller who uses her 9-year-old car about once a week (if that), some of these model names were unfamiliar to me. STORM? DIPLOMAT? DEFENDER? And I’ve only ever owned one of these cars – a beloved VW Golf for eight years.
Pushing It Dept.: No one in California uses the phrase UCAL to describe the state’s flagship university (“Berkeley campus, for short,” 52 Down). It’s just “Cal.” Also, since when is “toga” a verb? The answer to “Ready for a frat party, say” is TOGAED (12 Down), apparently as in all togaed up and nowhere to go. Hmmmm.
Retro Gamers Dept.: I didn’t think I knew about SOMA cubes, a “popular 1960s puzzle,” per 75 Across. But I recognized it once I saw the picture.
Wedding Bells Dept.: The “‘CBS Evening News’ anchor before Pelley” was Katie COURIC (8 Down), who just got engaged to her banker beau.
How Did I Not Know This? Dept.: REEBOK is a “Shoe brand named after an animal,” according to 60 Down. I’ve worn Reeboks without realizing that it’s a variant spelling of “rhebok,” the Afrikaans/Dutch word for a type of antelope or gazelle.
What did you think of the puzzle?