“THAT SPECIAL SOMETHING“
If you’re looking for a meta with that je ne sais quoi, then solve away! Spoiler alert for the meta answer below, so you might want to solve and send in your answer to Erik at cruelandunusualpun (at) gmail (dot) com (he loves emails!) before peeking.
Glutton is back with a meta puzzle, and this time we’re looking for A SPIKE LEE JOINT. The theme entries include three wonderful cruciverbalists and two actors:
- 17a. [Friendly crossword blogger with that special something?] (Diary of a Crossword Fiend creator) AMY REYNALDO
- 20a. [Uncredited crossword blogger with that special something?] (NYT Wordplay writer DEB AMLEN
- 35a. [Funny crossword blogger with that special something?] (palliative care physician / Huffington Post and Crossword Fiend contributor) JENNI LEVY
- 55a. [Godly actress with that special something?] SUSAN DEY
- 58a. [Really funny actress with that special something?] HILARY SWANK
So there are five people, each given a particular adjective. While I could call Amy “friendly” and Jenni “funny,” Deb is certainly not “uncredited,” especially when something goes wrong with the NYT crossword (She didn’t do it. Seriously). What’s going on with these somewhat random descriptors? By adding two letters to a theme entry’s first or last name, we get a noun that corresponds to each adjective:
- Friendly AMY + IT → AMITY (friendliness)
- Uncredited DEB + IT → DEBIT (opposite of credit)
- Funny LEVY + IT → LEVITY (funniness)
- Godly DEY + IT → DEITY (god)
- Really funny HILARY + IT → HILARITY (major funniness)
Now we have five women whose names require the addition of IT to match their assigned adjectives. Which Spike Lee joint ties this theme together? SHE’S GOTTA HAVE IT, which is our meta answer. I really enjoyed this, although it took me a while to see it. AMITY came to me first, and the other ending in Y fell quickly. DEBIT was the most difficult for me, as it doesn’t follow the pattern of the other entries, but that’s only a small detraction from an overall clever and fun meta and shout-outs to three members of our nerdy wonderful crossword family.
Fillwise, my major quibble was the duplication of “avast” in a clue and answer: [Avast, in old Rome] for LIV, and AVAST [“Hold up,” at sea]. If anyone can explain the clue/answer for LIV, I’d appreciate it, because I can’t wrap my mind around it. Also didn’t love NOAA or the partial IOR, but that’s about it.
Enjoyable entries include MANDALA, TEAVANA, and HOSIERS [Good name for a movie about a team of underdog stockingsellers from Indiana?]. I LOL’d at the clue for TONSIL [Throat part that may be ectomy’d], and loved [Lie-low?] for HONEST and [Avoids showering?] for ELOPES.
That’s it for this week’s Glutton for Pun review! Hope everyone is having a wonderful holiday season with as much love and as little stress as possible.