Wednesday, January 31, 2024

Wednesday, January 31, 2024, Nathan Hale

Oh, I really really liked this puzzle. First you get a silly pun style theme, but there's also a bonus! It's a lot of theme material, but the fill is reasonably smooth. 

First, the theme. Mr. Hale takes phrases of the form X to Y, and reimagines them as Xd a Y, turning the first part of the phrase from a noun or adjective to a past participle. Clue them wackily, and hilarity ensues. Thus, 20A: Prepared to fight Goliath? (READIEDAROCK) comes from the original phrase "ready to rock."

My favorite is probably 34A: Practiced changing one's costume by the clock? (TIMEDAGETUP). What a clever twist from the phrase "time to get up," because the second part has to be reparsed as well. BACKEDAWORK is fine, although not as guffaw-worthy.

The second unexpected part comes from 51A: Betrayed Paddington? ... or what 20-, 34- and 41-Across did in this puzzle (CROSSEDABEAR). It would have been enough to leave it just as another humorous reparsing. But it turns out that the other answers all intersect with down answers (in shaded boxes) that are types of bears: TEDDY, SMOKEY, and BOOBOO. Just superb.


Add on top of that SKEDADDLE (such a great word), and 61A: Something you shouldn't take lying down? (POLYGRAPH), and it's one to remember. 

Also full of chutzpah is 44D and 41D, adjacent answers both ending in -ING, which leads to the SW corner having RADII, UPENN, and GREGG on top of each other.

Color me impressed.

- Colum

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