What an oddball theme, so I suppose it's no surprise it shows up on a Wednesday. I finished the puzzle and looked over all the theme answers with no clue as to what was going on. So I showed it to Hope, who immediately said that the verb portion of the answer was an anagram of the city name.
True enough, but why? Reading the clues, I see 18A: Work as a metropolitan health official? (DIAGNOSESANDIEGO). It seems that rather than using the word "metropolitan" as an adjective describing the health official, it is in fact the object of the health official's work. The idea of a "reclaimant" going about her job as she SALVAGESLASVEGAS is pretty amusing. Perhaps it's something to do with the Southern nature of the four cities involved (presuming Athens is the one in Georgia). All that heat curdles the mind, you know.
Outside of a NEBR (and that's pretty ugly, mind you), and the peculiarly pluralized ONSETS, the rest of the puzzle is pretty DAMN smooth. Some nice long down answers, with ARCHENEMY and USEDCARLOT (the minitheme of junkers is amusing - c.f. CRATE and BUCKET - okay, that last one is not actually in the minitheme). I'm also a fan of LASAGNA.
62A: Things get crazy when all of them are off (BETS) has to win the award for circling around the answer. I love it! Similarly, 39A: It gets depressed on the road (BRAKE) is very nice. I wanted the more generic "pedal" first.
I think I've finally come down on the side of thumbs up for this one.
For a while I had ahi instead of EEL but with hindsight that doesn't work: ahi can be grilled or in sushi, but not both together.ReplyDelete
As for the theme, I had the first half of a few of the themers but had precious few crosses towards the ends. So once I got one, I saw cities and soon after that the anagrams. Which were quite helpful, for example in picking SANDIEGO over SANtIaGO.
Coming up with DAMN was fun because one needed to thread the needle: stronger than Phooey but weaker than a variety of four letter words which tend not to be used in crosswords nor crossword nlog comments.
Like Mr. Kingdon, understanding the theme mid-solve - a rarity for me! - helped me to finish it. I think I got it with HASTENATHENS, which is patently absurd. SOCANI should be a gelato flavor.