I’m a bit late in mentioning it, but congratulations to Stan Newman on publishing his 10,000th crossword in Newsday this past Monday. That’s an astounding body of work for one person. If my math is right, that’s at least one crossword a day for more than 27 years. To publish 10,000 crosswords in The Washington Post Magazine, I’ll have to do this for 192 years. Let’s revisit this in the year 2207, okay?
Today’s theme centers on the two-part revealer at 67A/76A: [With 76 Across, attire worn by some models, and an alternate title for this puzzle] which is PLUS-SIZE CLOTHING. Eight pieces of clothing add either an S, an M, an L, or an XL to create wacky fashion items. The theme answers in the top half of the puzzle proceed in order of size in adding S, M, L, and XL; in the bottom half the order is reversed.
- 23A: [Trousers worn while having a nip of vodka?] is SHOT PANTS, based on hot pants.
- 30A: [Denim garment worn by author Judy?] is BLUME JEANS, based on blue jeans.
- 37A: [Blazers worn while ringing church bells?] is PEAL JACKETS, based on pea jackets.
- 59A: [Outdoor garments worn while checking the inventory at Madame Tussauds?] is WAX LIST COATS, based on waistcoats.
- 81A: [Business attire worn while making a sudden leap for cured salmon?] is LOX LUNGE SUIT, based on lounge suit.
- 99A: [Footwear worn by an amoeba?] is BLOBBY SOCKS, based on bobby socks.
- 112A: [Dress bottom worn by an editor of a men’s magazine?] is MAXIM SKIRT, based on maxi-skirt.
- 122A: [Summer wear worn by one who reeked?] is STANK TOPS, based on tank tops.
I remember that while thinking of theme answers out loud a while ago, my wife came up with STANK TOPS on the spot. There was no way I wouldn’t use it in the puzzle after that.
Some others I left out include CAST’S PAJAMAS (which, unlike the other theme answer, doesn’t refer to an actual article of clothing), PUSH-UMP BRA, POLLO SHIRT, and HEX LAD SCARF (I have no idea how I would have clued that). I did wonder if adding XL made the theme a bit too wacky since the other additions create a word that you can somewhat easily associate with a specific person, whereas WAX LIST and LOX LUNGE aren’t real phrases and so they require some stretching. But that’s why I test all of these out and see how they fit.
Some other answers and clues:
- 47A: [NFC participant in Super Bowl LIII] is L.A. RAM. I’m glad I didn’t try to guess who would win the Super Bowl when I wrote this puzzle a few weeks ago, but “participant” is barely sufficient considering how the Rams played, in my opinion.
- 55A: [Like a full-moon viewing?] is OBSCENE. Strangely I don’t think this was my most PG-13-rated clue today.
- 73A: [Backs out of a deal?] is FOLDS. This was a last-minute replacement for another punny clue for this answer, but I thought it worked well.
- 78A: [Feline pal of 53 Across] is MILO and 53A: [Canine pal of 78 Across] is OTIS, the cat and dog friends from “The Adventures of Milo and Otis.” I loved that movie growing up.
- 119A: [Police station?] is ARENA. As in, an arena that the Police might perform in during a rock concert.
- 4D: [Asp holes] is SNAKE PITS. This would be the most PG-13-rated clue today. Sometimes, the stars align and you just have to go for it.
- 19D: [Bacon or facon pieces] is STRIPS. I learned from my one of my test-solvers while writing this puzzle about the word “facon,” which is a portmanteau for vegetarian bacon meaning “fake bacon."
- 61D: [First name in fashion] is OLEG. I don’t know which of this puzzle’s clothing items might have been closest to something in Mr. Cassini’s collection, but I’m going to go with either MAXIM SKIRT or STANK TOPS.
- 82D: [It features works adapted for the screen] is NOOK. I had thought that I would make greater use of my Nook during grad school since it was easier to transport than a bunch of printed books, but it didn’t actually help me for reading quickly or for easily marking important excerpts (both of which were absolute musts). But maybe they’ve improved on the models since 2012.
See you next week!