WEDNESDAY PUZZLE My younger child recently left his teenage years behind, and on his birthday, he expressed the same trepidation that my older one did: He was afraid to grow up and take on adult responsibilities. He was seeing his childhood in the rear view mirror, and it made him feel sad. Its a feeling that everyone experiences, I reassured him, as I released him from his birthday noogie.
Everyone has to grow up, I explained, keeping my finger as irritatingly close to his head as possible without actually touching him, but there is nothing in lifes contract that says you have to be mature about it. He burped loudly in relief and we went about our business.
Because thats what you do as a parent when your child is feeling wobbly. For the life of me, I cant understand why they wont let me write for New York Times Parenting.
My point is, maturity is overrated. Most of the things we laugh about as adults stem from some very childlike impulses. So it was really no surprise to me when I solved a puzzle made by Erik Agard and Andy Kravis two fine young men who have clearly retained a childlike sense of wonder and it turned out to be a theme that just seems to shout that old playground comeback: Yeah? Well, you smell!
11A. Chess whizzes (I briefly read that as Cheese Whizzes and got very confused) are grandmasters, or GMS for short.
14A. If you have been solving for a while, you might be used to thinking that a clue containing the word follower, as in Band follower, is asking for a suffix or second word. Not in this puzzle. The answer is GROUPIE.
35A. A tricky one. What kind of buns are we talking about in a clue such as Some buns? Hamburger buns? Bunny rabbits? In this puzzle, the buns consist of hair and the answer is UPDOS.
70A. I love clues like this. Radio wave, foregone and main event all hide STATES.
29D. What a great tribute to Duke Ellington. SIR DUKE is from Stevie Wonders 1976 album Songs in the Key of Life.
46A. Ha! Auto-tune sites? are not the websites where you can make music sound funny, at least not in this puzzle. The answer is GARAGES, where you can get your auto tuned up.
63D. Remember the 2014 Ice Bucket Challenge to raise money for research into a cure for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS? I did one, and then challenged my colleagues at Yahoo! Tech, who declined to take me up on it. Chickens, all of them. But I allowed my son to dump a bucket of ice water on my head twice, because the Resident South African forgot to hit the record button on my cellphone the first time and that was undoubtedly the greatest day of his life thus far. More parenting points for me.
Mr. Agard and Mr. Kravis offer us five two-word phrases in which the first word is a synonym for smelly. For example, at 24A, the answer to the clue Disgustingly wealthy is STINKING RICH. Similarly, at 52A, the answer to the clue Arm-flapping dance of the early 1970s is FUNKY CHICKEN.
The constructors tie the theme set together with a profane revealer at 62A: All of the entries contain FOUL LANGUAGE.
Andy Kravis: Were pleased to see how many of our original clues made the final cut. Our compliments to the editors for their fun STATES clue at 70A!
Inspired by Margit Christenson, last Wednesdays constructor, Erik and I will be donating our payments for this puzzle. Erik is donating to Dejas transition fund. I will be donating to the families of Breonna Taylor, Elijah McClain and Jacob Blake.
As always, Im so grateful that I get to make puzzles with Erik. (Its very mutual! E.A.) If youre not already solving the puzzles he edits over at USA Today, go do that. You wont be sorry.
Almost finished solving but need a bit more help? Weve got you covered.
Warning: There be spoilers ahead, but subscribers can take a peek at the answer key.
Trying to get back to the puzzle page? Right here.
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