This week the Premier Crossword by Frank Longo bears the title, "Employee-Consumer Policy" and a quick glance at the clues reveals that there's a riddle afoot so there's nothing to do but launch into the puzzle and see what develops. As you can see from my (almost) completed grid I had some trouble with a couple of bad guesses right at the outset. I wanted "Ma's ma" (9d) to be "Gram", which seemed perfectly reasonable, and a "Volunteer's declaration" is certainly "I'll do it", right? Frank had other answers in mind and they appeared soon enough from the crosswords but, Jeez, I hate to start off with rooky mistakes like that.
Anyway, after I got the top part of the grid sorted out I was able to piece together the first part of the riddle so I soldiered on and with only a couple more wrong guesses I managed to plug in all of the parts of the riddle and it's punny answer:
27a - WHEN PEOPLE ARE WORKING
44a - AT SUPERMARKET CHECK-OUT
62a - COUNTERS PUTTING THE
72a - GROCERIES INTO SACKS
90a - WHY DON'T THEY EAT ANY FOOD?
(wait for it)
108a-BAGGERS CAN'T BE CHEWERS!
The common phrase is, of course "beggars can't be choosers" which Dictionary.com informs us means "
Milica Natasha Jovovich according to Wiki. Still, I think it's a lousy cross.
The rest of the puzzle was fair enough (i.e., I was able to fill it in) although the extreme bottom-left corner could have been troublesome if the down answers hadn't produced ATHOL (115a - "A Lesson From Aloes" playwright Fugard), DEANE (119a - Diplomat Silas) and MASSE (123a - Curving billiards shot). I learned a new phrase with Table d'HOTE about which Wiki informs: "In restaurant terminology a table d'hôte menu is a menu where multi-course meals with only a few choices are charged at a fixed totalprice. Such a menu may also be called prix fixe ("fixed price"). The terms set meal and set menu are also used. The cutlery on the table may also already be set for all of the courses".
Nothing else really reached out and grabbed me, for better or for worse, so rather than subject you to random blather and risk having you say DANG YOU (17D - "A pox upon thee!", updated) I'll leave you with this: