Hey, folks! It's coming up on the end of another year here at HaFDtNYTCPFCA, as we like to off-handedly refer to this little endeavor. I like to imagine that we have a little office with venetian blinds and a ceiling fan, and we're sitting in old-timey desk chairs with our collars open and our ties pulled down, fanning ourselves with a Peter Gordon Fireball Crossword book, while we banter about which clues we liked best.
Well, perhaps not, but we do still love to talk about the puzzle, and I guess it's impressive as we near the end of the sixth year of this blog, that we're still going. I hope our readers enjoy our idiosyncratic takes on the puzzle.
Meanwhile, today, we have a theme where the definite article is dropped from a common phrase, which is then clued in a wacky way. As always, the best examples of these are where the words have to change their meaning in a significant way to fit in the new sense. Today's winner (and by a long shot, in my opinion) comes at 36A: Reason for an R rating? (BEHINDSCENES). I love how the first word has transitioned from a preposition to a noun, and it's a ludicrous thought, to have whole scenes in a movie just about the human posterior.
In fact, there was a distinct OUTOFBLUE feeling to the puzzle, what with UNLACE, BRAS, possibly HOTTUB in some circles, and of course, BREST. Too soon?
Other good theme answers included WELLOFFMARK (nice repurposing of "mark" to the name), and SKIRTISSUE.
I will cavil at the following: EAGERER (simply does not exist in usage - I'd say "more eager"), IEST, and the spelling out of BTWO.
There's not a ton of long snazzy extras, but I enjoyed all the Bs in the NW, as well as JAFAR and JUGHEAD just below. Overall, it was a challenging and pretty enjoyable Sunday, which is really what I look for on a lazy day.