## Sunday, December 11, 2022

### Sunday, December 11, 2022, Laura Taylor Kinnel

STEP ON IT!

Well, what do you know. Another year has slipped by. This is my final week of review posts in the calendar year of 2022. I will put off any valedictory remarks to my colleagues, but I will just say that it's been an honor and a pleasure to write these silly reviews for our faithful six readers. (I actually don't know how many readers we have! I just like to think I have a tiny little crew reading my blogs...)

Today's Sunday puzzle has a rebus theme! We do enjoy those here at HAFDTNYTCPFCFA. I especially enjoy a rebus where the spaces are unpredictable and/or the rebus themselves change from answer to answer. And we get both in this one!

Isn't it funny how we have different levels of disgust at the insect world? An ant or a bee (even with my unreasoning phobia) don't arouse the same amount to repulsion as, say, a roach or a tick. Still, the seven insects infesting this puzzle are reason enough to suggest a squashing reaction.

I got the rebus with the first answer. We all know that 23A: Hypotenuse-finding formula (PYTHAGORE[ANT]HEOREM) could have only one answer. But how to squeeze all those letters in? Fortunately, 9D: Simple shelter (LE[ANT]O) provided the answer. Imagine my delight when I got to 43A: One drinking soft drinks at a party, perhaps (DESI[GNAT]EDDRIVER) and realized the changing rebus.

My favorites are the ones where the rebus crosses words, like in the first one and in 67A: Symbol of Irish heritage (CEL[TICK]NOT). Next, I like answers where the insect name is pronounced differently than the syllable it finds itself in, as in 89A: "The Pink Panther" character (INSPECTORC[LOUSE]AU). I suppose INLIKE[FLY]NN and LUDWIGVAN[BEE]THOVEN fit in that category, but three-letter rebuses are less impressive.

61A: Cause of class struggle? (ESSAY) wins for best C/AP today. I also liked 80A: Bum (PATOOTIE), and 17D: Disorder from which Dostoyevsky and many characters in his novels suffered (EPILEPSY). That's the neurologist in me speaking up. How about 89D: Post-merger acquisitions? (INLAWS). Hah! That made 75D: Post-merger overhauls, informally (REORGS) better in retrospect.

- Colum