The letters of eight job titles have been scrambled to make wacky job titles:

  • 23A: [The TEST PILOT quit aviation to write odes about a clown’s prop by becoming a ___] is STILT POET.
  • 35A: [The STAGE MANAGER left the theater to represent a giant flying turtle of Japanese monster movies as ___] is GAMERA’S AGENT.
  • 52A: [“I prefer stones instead of stars now, and I specialize in sculptures that evoke nostalgia,” said the ASTRONOMER turned ___] is RETRO MASON.
  • 64A: [After years of performing cardiac procedures, the HEART SURGEON ran for office to become a ___, a more gigantic version of other politicians] is HUGER SENATOR.
  • 69A: [The EGYPTOLOGIST left a career in ancient history to transcribe memos for a tech company as a ___] is GOOGLE TYPIST.
  • 86A: [No longer satisfied with the legal profession, the U.S. ATTORNEY became a ___ to certify documents about bird feeder food] is SUET NOTARY.
  • 98A: [The SCRIPT EDITOR, seeking a different role in Hollywood, became a ___ to make films about ejecting saliva] is SPIT DIRECTOR. This is a director who’s clearly skilled at getting spit takes. (I’ll show myself out.)
  • 116A: [After one last moon mission, the ASTRONAUT became a ___ to teach others about previous moon missions] is NASA TUTOR. This one surprised me with how apt it was when I found it; it must have been a lateral career move.

As someone who has gone through a few career changes myself, I can certainly appreciate the thought process one goes through when choosing a different career track. It takes a lot of introspection and soul-searching to completely change direction in one’s working life. I do think anyone would jump at the chance to be a GAMERA’S AGENT, though. No introspection required for that one (Gamera would probably eat you if you didn’t do it, anyway), but all others — sure. Some I left out include a TRAVEL AGENT becoming a GARNET VALET, a THERAPIST becoming a HEP ARTIST, and a DENTAL SURGEON becoming a TED LOGAN NURSE (you’d have to know that Ted Logan was the name of the character from the “Bill & Ted” movies to get that one, I think).

Some other answers and clues:

  • 91A: [One known for their teaching chops?] is SENSEI. I couldn’t find a good job-based anagram for this.
  • 1D and 2D are BASS and ALTO and they both have the clue [Chorale voice part]. I didn’t plan this beforehand.
  • 8D: [Notion that we use only 10 percent of our brains, e.g.] is MYTH. I don’t remember where I first heard this. For some reason I’m thinking of the 1995 movie “Powder” which made a point of saying the main character used 100 percent of his brain. Anyhow, you can read more about that myth here.
  • 15D: [“We ___ Young” (hit by fun.)] is ARE. This was the last song that played at my wedding.
  • 50D: [“The Not-Too-Late Show With ___” (spinoff of “Sesame Street”] is ELMO. It gets tiring looking for new ELMO clues since he comes up so often, but I thought this one was a funny angle.

What did you think? By the way, heads-up that next week’s puzzle is going to be a challenging one.