Thursday, January 3, 2013

December 30, 2012

Well, I've been experiencing "technical difficulties" that have prevented me from reproducing the puzzle here, so I'll just have to go ahead and tell you what I thought about it without benefit of showing you my completed grid.

The theme was "Let em in" which, it turns out, is a literal description of the gimmick Longo employed to create the puzzle's long theme answers:  EM was inserted into common phrases to produce wacky, usually pretty punny funny, answers to clues containing a ? to signal the punniness.  So we get this:
GREYHOUNDBEMUSES (Racing dog is puzzling?)
GRANDPREMIX (Lavish combination of ingredients blended in  advance?)
TOYSFORTOTEMS (Playthings used as tribal emblems?)
DEMEANMARTIN (Humiliate actor Sheen?)
DEMOTINGPARENTS (Downgrading mothers and fathers?)
DIRTYLINEMEN (Unwashed footballers?)
REMANDMCNALLY  (Send playwright Terrence back into custody?)
RABBITFEMUR (Bunny's thigh bone?)
REMOVINGREPORTER (Ousting journalist?)

I really like that all of the core phrases are totally familiar terms in common usage in everyday language. Some of the clues took a little puzzling out to produce the desired answer and a couple required us to know names from pop culture (MARTIN Sheen and Terrence MCNALLY) - but they were inferrable from the crosses if you didn't know them, so no complaint on that count. It's pretty amazing (and amusing) how adding em to the phrases totally changes their essence - kudos to Mr. Longo for inventing 9 phrases to use in the puzzle.

The rest of the grid is straightforward with no WTF answers, although I needed all of the crosses to TYRO (42a, Beginner) which was a new word for me and I have never heard of MIASARA, the "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" actress" at 106a.

It just so happens that Paul McCartney and Wings had a hit song titled "Let 'Em In" - coincidence? Maybe, but here it is anyway - enjoy!

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