Things looked a little uncertain after a first pass today. I had POL, ELIOTS, LORI, and not much more. Fortunately, the SW corner gave me some meaningful entry into the puzzle. For whatever reason, it's often the last part of the puzzle I get to on a first pass.
ONME was the first answer I got there, followed quickly by ESIGNS, and then INAYEAR. At that point, YSL and ASSUME were put in, and then for 32D I had ____SSS_. There's only one phrase that fits that pattern, and so IGUESSSO fell. I'd like to say things went smoothly from there, but not so fast.
37A: Things you can barely see at art galleries? (NUDES) gets a chuckle and a nod for most tortured punning clue. If you haven't watched Queens Gambit with ANYA Taylor-Joy, then you're way behind the zeitgeist. It was a ton of fun and she's great in it.
As I look at 32A: "You have my vote!" (ITSAYESFROMME) I can't help but reparse that as "It's a yes, Fromme," referring to the Manson family individual who attempted to assassinate Gerald Ford. I mean, what an odd target. Ford? Apparently, she was going to plead for help for the California redwoods, so that's something. Also, she lives in upstate New York now.
|URSULA von der Leyen|
But enough of this silly digression. Let's acknowledge the fun clue at 38A: Time for an exhibition (PRESEASON). I was definitely not thinking sports on reading that clue. I also liked 13A: Things often hit during rush hour (CARHORNS). The best clue for misdirection today was 7A: Wage conflict, say (PAYGAP). Ha! I love the way the first word changes from a verb to a noun once you understand what it's getting at.
I'd never heard the term FREEGANS before, but I get the point. Maybe Fromme would have been one, had she not been in jail when they became a thing in the 1990s. Other tough gets today include SKEELO, which took a lot of work to figure out, and 8D: Singer whose name becomes a city if you add an "R" in the middle (AKON). The clue actually helped me out there.
I will turn my nose up at SEAMER. Is this even a real term? I can find a definition on Google, but nothing else. Otherwise, it was a fun and tough Saturday. Good week for the blog. Here's hoping Horace gets as good a week, starting tomorrow.