XW Info

Sunday, February 26, 2017
by Josh Knapp
© 2017, The New York Times
Jeff Chen notes:

MIXED FEELINGS explains it all, various feelings like WOE and WONDER anagrammed within phrases for kooky effect. I usually am not hot on this theme type, as the lack of flexibility in anagram pairs often makes for unfunny theme phrases. But I enjoyed many of Josh's. DOWNER WOMAN (from "Wonder Woman") would make for one sad superhero. MY SIRE LOVES COMPANY gave me a funny image of a king just looking for someone to play with. It's also a fun anagram find (misery to MY SIRE).

My favorite was CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM — hilariously uncomfortable show to watch — to CURB YOUR SUN ATHEISM! Great anagram and a chuckle-worthy result.

Now that I look at the answers again, I'm surprised at how many amused me. TINY AXE ATTACK makes me think of little one-inch high dwarves raging en masse. Good stuff.

My main issue sticking point was that I had a hard time figuring out what the base phrases were. I had to put TINY AXE into an anagramming website to figure out it was ANXIETY. Same with UPRISERS and SURPRISE. Even HAVE NO FARE and STRUTWORTHY baffled me for a while.

Maybe I'm just terrible with anagrams. (HAVE NO FEAR, TRUSTWORTHY.)

Josh usually does themelesses — really well — and his expertise there shines through. I didn't even notice it was a 136-worder, an incredibly tough construction task because it was so smooth, so pretty. He features some great bonus fill: ROAD BIKES, WAIT FOR IT …, SAKE BOMB (extremely potent!), MOM JEANS, BIGWIG, TEA TIME.

And he does that with just a tad of crossword glue: ORO and ATS. ALEATORY (risky) is an oddball of a word, too, but these are all minor infractions. A typical 140-word Sunday puzzle has maybe 10 dabs of crossword glue. To keep a 136-worder to low single-digits is amazing.

Anagrams are often mined for crossword ideas, but I liked how Josh kept his idea tight, mixing up only types of feelings. If it hadn't been so hard to figure out some of these base phrases, this anagram-skill-deficient-solver would have considered it for the POW! But as it was, I had to struggle a little too much to grok the connections.

1.Word before "Ooh, didn't mean to make you cry" in Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody" : MAMA
5.Maxim : SAW
8.Brother with a cross : ABBOT
13.Unfaithful sorts : CADS
17.Roasting place : OVEN
18.Land between hills, poetically : VALE
19.___ Palmer ("Twin Peaks" victim) : LAURA
20.Jacobin revolutionary who was stabbed in a bathtub : MARAT
21.They're pumped to compete in a race : ROADBIKES
23.Fashionable enough for a runway model? : STRUTWORTHY
25.Assault involving a hatchet? : TINYAXEATTACK
27.Broadway's Eugene ___ Theater : ONEILL
28.Throw in : ADD
29.___ relief : DEBT
30.Post-run feeling : ACHE
31.1982 Dustin Hoffman film : TOOTSIE
32.Place for a sponge : REEF
34.Annoying sort : NOODGE
36.Bro : PAL
37.Little bit : TAD
38.Coffee brewing style : DRIP
40.Some scans, for short : MRIS
41.Lifesaving team : MEDICS
44."Stop insisting Ra doesn't exist!"? : CURBYOURSUNATHEISM
51.Pill bottle info : DOSAGE
54.Really comes down : POURS
55.A bit crude : EARTHY
56.Andean gold : ORO
57.Places : PUTS
61.Fast-food sandwich not available in Muslim countries : MCRIB
63.Goes up : RISES
64.Stories from bankruptcy court? : TALESOFOWE
68.Be too broke to take the bus? : HAVENOFARE
70.Country singer Black : CLINT
71.Grammy category : OPERA
73.Beast in rare "sightings" : YETI
74.Poet/musician ___ Scott-Heron : GIL
75.One who can't learn new tricks, they say : OLDDOG
77.___-Lay : FRITO
79.Doze : NODOFF
82."The king really wants to be around people right now"? : MYSIRELOVESCOMPANY
87.Professor's goal, one day : TENURE
88.Marvel role for Chris Hemsworth : THOR
89.Yazidis, e.g. : SECT
92.Go in (for) : SUB
95.Actor Curry : TIM
96.Go all in : COMMIT
98.What many 100-Across do in the spring : SHED
100.See 98-Across : ANIMALS
103.Certain earring : HOOP
105.Trader ___ : JOES
107.Baseball league for the Salt Lake Bees : AAA
108."Yeah, let's do it!" : IMGAME
109.Celebration after a coup? : UPRISERSPARTY
112.Negative Nancy? : DOWNERWOMAN
115.Words before a punch line : WAITFORIT
116.Muddies : SOILS
117.2% alternative : WHOLE
118.Moving line on a tree trunk : ANTS
119.Orange-and-white Pixar title character : NEMO
120.Wild revelry : ORGY
121.So, so awful, with "the" : WORST
122.Rapper with the most-viewed YouTube video of all time : PSY
123.P.M. after Churchill : EDEN
1.Weapon usually fired between a 45° and 90° angle : MORTAR
2.Ducked : AVOIDED
3.Go wherever : MEANDER
4.With 41-Down, first tennis player to win two Olympic singles gold medals : ANDY
5.Potent sushi bar cocktail : SAKEBOMB
6.Dependent on chance : ALEATORY
7.Against the jet stream : WEST
8.French region around Strasbourg : ALSACE
9.Tray of brownies, e.g. : BATCH
10.Philosopher who said "The people never give up their liberties but under some delusion" : BURKE
11.Christian school in Okla. : ORU
12.Skin art, informally : TAT
13.Character resembling a hat : CARET
14.Drawer, say : ARTIST
15.Flower named for a Swedish botanist : DAHLIA
16.All done up, as hair : STYLED
18.Den mother : VIXEN
20.Like original Buddy Holly and the Crickets recordings : MONO
22.Turned : BAD
24.Detergent brand with a fabric in its name : WOOLITE
26.Gets back on base : TAGSUP
31."And that's it!" : TADA
33.Abbr. on a pay stub : FICA
35.God: It. : DIO
36.Thoughtful : PENSIVE
39.So-ugly-it's-cute pooch : PUG
41.See 4-Down : MURRAY
42.One-named singer once married to Xavier Cugat : CHARO
43.Letter feature : SERIF
45.Take back, in a way : REPO
46.CD or DVD follower : ROM
47."___ is life" : SUCH
48."We're on!" : ITSAGO
49.Muslim official : SHERIF
50.I, personally : MYSELF
51.E-business : DOTCOM
52.By voice : ORALLY
53.One side in a pool game : SOLIDS
58.Subject of a tinfoil hat theory : UFO
59.Peak physical condition : TOPFORM
60.Veer : SWERVE
62.Put up stakes : BET
65.Stop seeing each other : ENDIT
66.Box on a mall map : STORE
67.Former tribe in western New York : ERIE
69.Singer Simone : NINA
72.@@@ : ATS
76.Less stormy : GENTLER
78.Sea creatures with remarkably high I.Q.s : OCTOPI
80.Turn-___ (thrills) : ONS
81.Congo red and gentian violet : DYES
83.San ___, Argentina : LUIS
84.Volt/ampere : OHM
85.High-waisted, shamelessly unfashionable garment : MOMJEANS
86.Chief concern : PRIORITY
90.Way overcooked : CHARRED
91.4:00 p.m., maybe : TEATIME
92.Made a declaration : SAIDSO
93.Set adrift : UNMOOR
94.V.I.P. : BIGWIG
96.Instrument for Louis Armstrong : CORNET
97.Doctors' orders : TESTS
99.National Aviation Hall of Fame city : DAYTON
101.Macho : MANLY
102.NASA's ___ Research Center : AMES
103.Comedy : HUMOR
104.Crown insets : OPALS
106.Letters on some lotion : SPF
110.It's a deal : SWAP
111.Unbeatable : AONE
113.Net letters : WWW
114."Well, look at that!" : OHO

© 2017, Jim Horne