I *think* the unifying feature of today's four theme answers is that all their letters have STRAIGHTEDGES at the left. I solved the puzzle in an app where the theme wasn't super obvious visually, but according to a note, in the print version of the puzzle, each square of the theme answers has a short vertical line in the left half of the square. With the added graphic, the effect must have been a true delight. :) I'll bend the usual rules and render my favorite of the theme answers vertically - and in a sans serif font. The effort justifies the result, don't you think?
I didn't become aware of the theme until after I solved the puzzle, but it is a neat trick. I did, however, take note of some fun clues, including
"Rude rejection" (BITEME)
"Spike of interest in movies?" (LEE)
"Like some brides or threats" (VEILED)
"Line that an actor waits to hear" (CUE)
And my favorite, "They may hang out at pubs" (BEERGUTS)
I also liked RATCHET, PECK, FOCI, and SOUSE along with his "drinking buddy" BARTAB.
|METEOR (center) seen from the International Space Station|
Mr. Chen - every inch the consummate constructor - threw this solver a few curves. I tried 'pleat' at first for 'Arrange in folds" (DRAPE) and 'ice' before getting FOG (Hazard for takeoffs and landings). Also, it took me way too long to figure out the clue "Florida gridders, in headlines." Our esteemed readers know that, as a rule, sports are not my strength, so I did take a measure of satisfaction in knowing the answer (BUCS), once I understood the clue.