Theme: As Michael handed me the puzzle printout, he commented, “There are a whole lot of circles in this one.” Hmmm… But as it turned out, determining how they figured into the theme turned out to be easier than I thought it would be. Once I had enough of the circles filled in, which didn’t take too long, the “trick” became obvious. The word “by” is the missing link for each set of circled words which are common three-word phrases. To add to the fun, the circles are embedded in words and phrases unrelated to the theme.
3D. NewYork, New York + 33D. The arts = knew by heart
29D. Goal + 7D. Strained peas = go by train
11D. Adonais + 12D. Handel = do by hand
15D. Gnawing at = 16D. Lanose = win by a nose
47D. Nonet + 42D. Stone = one to one
69D. Network + 54D. Days of Our Lives = two by four
91D. Cosell + 78D. Candidate = sell by date
87D. Finesse + 80D. Isomers = fine by me
In the category of “learning something I’ve not known before doing this puzzle”:
16D. Woolly. Answer: Lanose. I guess someone who knows about sheep or other woolly animals might be familiar with this term.
71D. Small boat made of wickerwork. Answer: Coracle. Well, I’d certainly heard of an oracle but not a coracle.