Hey, folks! I'm back from my week of vacation in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, ready to take over this week's blog posts from my co-bloggers. I'm going to try to make this a week without any confusion over who's posting...
Today we get a debut puzzle from Ms. Labadie! It's a fun one, with six answers whose oddities from a spelling perspective are highlighted with secondary clues in the grid, each of which is a standard phrase made up of a numeral and a letter or letter combination. Confused? Let's do some examples.
25A: Not true? (ATANANGLE), with a cute QMC, is also hinted at by 68A: Top credit rating ... or a hint to 25A (TRIPLEA). Because each of the three words in 25A starts with an A.
TWOAM also notes that SAMADAMS has the letter combination AM twice. FIVEO refers to the 5 instances of the letter O in VOODOODOLL. Likewise, FOURH and HUSHHUSH.
I'm a little troubled by 71A: 23rd in a series ... or a hint to 27-Across (DOUBLEU) - which I get, is the phonetic spelling of the letter W. But 27A (UNIQUEUSER) has that extra U in it. I also get this: the "double" refers to the initial letters of each word (rather than using the number "two"). But I would have liked it better without the extra U. Nitpicky, I know.
But the tricksy one comes at the end: 54A: Weightlessness ... or a hint to 118-Across (ZEROG). Thus the usual call "Going... going... gone!" is reduced to OINOINONE. Hah!
I'll call out some excellent entries such as ENZYME and JOLENE. I also liked 12D: Where you might turn on the jets (JACUZZI) for the nice answer and the fun non-QMC.
Also, NINASIMONE is an excellent full name, with a bit of TRIVIA I was unaware of in the clue.