I’m feeling really, really good about finishing this puzzle without any errors because it was really, really hard!! Rex Parker (aka King of CrossWorld) labeled it “Challenging.” And when I emailed the P.G. to ask what he thought of it, he replied: “Last Sunday’s puzzle was the hardest Sunday puzzle that I can remember in a long time. It is definitely quite an achievement if you finished it with no mistakes.”
Thanks, P.G.! Your compliment gave me a huge case of the warm and fuzzies.
Title: Rear-End Collision
Trying to figure out how exactly the title applied to the theme answers was difficult. My first thought was that the last two letters of each answer would probably be in the same square. However, it turned out to be a lot more complicated. Each answer was composed of a common two-word phrase, and all the letters of the second phrase were bunched together, two in each of the remaining squares.
15A. Burro, e.g. = Pack An/im/al
26A. When the pressure’s on = Crunch Ti/me
45A. Big media event = Press Co/nf/er/en/ce
53A. Widely popular shows, say = Crowd Pl/ea/se/rs
55A. Bunting is part of it = Squeeze Pl/ay
71A. Some morning fundraisers = Pancake Br/ea/kf/as/ts
86A. Late rallies = Clutch Pe/rf/or/ma/nc/es
99A. Car safety feature = Crumple Li/ne
101A. Data storage device = Compact Di/sc
111A. Mexican cooking ingredients called “flores de calabaza” in Spanish = Squash Bl/os/so/ms
135A. Diamond substitute = Pinch Ru/nn/er
142A. Occasions to try out riffs = Jam Se/ss/io/ns
Rex Parker also noted something that had not occurred to me — “the first words can all be verbs that indicate some sort of SQUEEZing or CRUMPLing or COMPACTing action, but in the phrases they are all adjectives.”
I found it interesting that three of the clues – 55A, 86A, and 135A — pertain to baseball. Since I know all about the game, getting those answers was easy.
As usual, I started working on the puzzle Saturday evening. By Sunday evening, I had completed it with the exception of the first three letters of 143A. Peeping Tom’s home: _ _ _ ENTRY. I hadn’t a clue what the answer was and trying to get it by filling in the last letters of the three Down clues that crossed it was no use because I was stumped about those as well. Aaargh! So near to completion and yet so far! I decided to sleep on it. Late Monday afternoon, I took up the puzzle again. As if by magic, one by one, the answers came to me.
First, 126 D. Airing: ONTV
Then, 125D. Cartoon character voiced by Mel Blanc: DINO
With the “V” and the “O” filled in, the answer to 143A. became obvious: COVENTRY
The “C” automatically filled in 135D. Bencher’s target: PEC