Eight one-word musicals have been spelled upward in familiar phrases running Down in the grid:
- 3D: [“Well, I never!”] is WHAT NERVE, which hides Rent backward.
- 5D: [Former NHL team that relocated to Colorado in 1995] is QUEBEC NORDIQUES, which hides Once backward.
- 11D: [Bandleader Pérez Prado’s sobriquet] is KING OF THE MAMBO, which hides Mame backward.
- 16D: [Some Firestone products] is RADIAL TIRES, which hides Aida backward.
- 48D: [Modifiers of nouns] is RELATIVE CLAUSES, which hides Evita backward.
- 53D: [Multinational state that dissolved at the end of World War I] is AUSTRIA–HUNGARY, which hides Hair backward. You might even say it “splits” Hair backward. But I wouldn’t say that. Never.
- 70D: [Domestic employee who resides at the place of employment] is LIVE–IN NANNY, which hides Annie backward.
- 85D: [Honor for Crowe or Finch] is BEST ACTOR, which hides Cats backward.
Some other one-word musicals I didn’t include: Nine, which is hidden in numerous phrases like WHEN IN ROME and OPEN INVITATION; Chess, which is hidden backward in MANASSEH CUTLER (a 19th-century representative in the U.S. House and a co-founder of Ohio State University); and Oliver, which is hidden backward in BREVILOQUENT (a fancy and ironically not-brief way of saying “brevity of speaking”).
A few other clues of note:
- 95A: [Comedian Kondabolu who starred in the documentary “The Problem With Apu”] is HARI Kondabolu. I think he’s a good alternative to various Mata Hari clues, and this longtime fan of “The Simpsons” can confirm that the documentary is quite good. You can watch it on TruTV’s website.
- 98A: [Deep space?] is SEA. My favorite clue this week.
- 109A: [“A Wrinkle in Time” director DuVernay] is AVA DuVernay. A clue that looks into the future! The movie opens on March 9.
- 56D: [Movie star Dianne who turns into movie star Mae when I ain’t there?] is WIEST, whose name becomes WEST when you remove the I. That’s a long-winded clue to get to a joke, but I got a bit worried about the crossing with HOWE at 54A: [Red Wings great Gordie] if you didn’t know who Dianne Wiest or Gordie Howe was (to be fair, though, Wiest is a two-time Oscar winner, so she’s more than fair game for a puzzle).
- 87D: [Source of fake news] is LIAR. Actually, I lied. This is my favorite clue this week.
Heads-up: Next week’s crossword has a metapuzzle. Good luck!