T.S. Eliot’s poem The Wasteland begins with the famous line, “April is the cruellest month….” With regard to the weather here, I would quite agree as winter kept its frigid grip for most of the month, and it’s just now beginning to feel like spring. However, when it came to the four New York Times Sunday puzzles, April was very kind to me. I completed all of them. On the 7th, I made one error. The other three: Perfect!
Title: Soft T’S
In the theme answers, the “T” in one of the words is replaced by “TH,” thereby turning familiar phrases into silly ones apropos of the clues.
30A. Gun belts, holster, and nightstick straps? = The leather of the law
45A. Dismounts like an expert gymnast? = Gets off lithely
66A. Women’s pants with pictures of wood shop tools? = Lathe bloomers
86A. Become a new person by washing up? = Bathe and switch
95A. Unpopular ophthalmologist’s implement? = A sythe for sore eyes
108A What a giggling supporter of the Salem witch trials was told? = No laughing Mather
Title: Front Flips
The first word in each of the themed answers is flipped, i.e., letters in reverse order, turning a familiar phrase into a silly one related to the clue.
24A. Tammany Hall corruption? = Evil from New York
34A. Try to see what you’re getting for Christmas? = Peek under wraps
45A. Academy for criminals? = Perp school
64A Hidden drug habit, maybe? = Pot secret
76A. Drink greedily? = Gulp it in*
91A. Be a lenient judge? = Dial down the law
105A. Maligned merchandise? = Reviled the goods
*“Gulp it in”? Really?! I think the common phrase is “gulp down.” So, that’s what I first wrote in. I quickly discovered that “down” was not going to work but had no idea what else it could be. It took filling in the surrounding answers to get the correct answer.
Each of the theme answers begins with a type of chocolate as hinted at by 59D.
59D. Kiss alternative… or a hint to the starts of 3-, 5-, 10-, 14-, 26-, 64-, and 68-Down = Chocolate drop
3D. 1984 “educational” Van Halen song = Hot for the Teacher
5D. 1998 Grammy-nominated song by the Verve = Bittersweet Symphony
10D. Setting of Barbara Kingsolver’s “The Poisonwood Bible” = Belgian Congo
14D. 2012 Johnny Depp movie as a bloodsucker = Dark Shadows
26D Classic novel subtitled “Adventures in a Desert Island,” with “The” = Swiss Family Robinson
64D. Light, fruity alcoholic drink = White sangria
68D. Flowering plant used to treat liver ailments = Milk thistle