This was a strange puzzle for me. For one thing, it took me about twice as long as it has taken me to do recent Sunday puzzles. Not that that’s a bad thing, of course… and it could have had something to do with the fact that I am in a small house with my entire family and more walking around and talking to me. But for another thing, it took me a long while to understand what was going on. The theme is, essentially, playing with words hidden within answers, rebus-style, and then explaining what’s going on in another answer. This leads to what appears to be a lot of duplication within the puzzle, which I find unsettling.
Take SCOFF (Jeer) over POPULARKIDS (In-group at school school) with the words “off” and “lark” circled, which is explained by OFFONALARK. I know the words OFF and LARK are not really duplicated, but they are circled, and so in a way, they are.
That said, the trick is pretty well done. Finding a SPREADEAGLE inside EVANGELIZE, for instance, is pretty cool. And putting a revealer of HEADLESSCHICKEN on THEPLOTTHICKENS is also very clever. And that SWANDIVE adds a whole nother dimension to the theme. So in the end, I walk away a fan. Nice job, Mr. Eaton-Salners.
In other areas, I still think MISCALL is too soon (Nate Silver is dead to me), and I like the inclusion of TAKESAKNEE (Colin deserves another shot). BIGD reminds me of a song (see above) by the group Bishop Allen, and SLEEPERCAR (Berth place) reminds me that this country deserves a better rail system.
OK, before I get carried away with my rants, I'll let you go and enjoy your Sunday. I hope everyone is have a good day.