I couldn’t help hearing that chant in my head as I worked on Mr. Wolfe’s puzzle. I had no trouble solving this one, although it did take me a while to understand the structure of the theme entries.
My first assumption was that the puzzle had a rebus element because 1) I had trouble making entries fit and 2) it’s Thursday, which is when the majority of rebuses run. However, that was quickly disproved when I got to 61A. After fiddling around with it a bit, I figured out that the answer was GOODY SHOES SHOES, where the phrase “goody two shoes” is written out by doubling the SHOES.
What I find interesting is that Mr. Wolfe found two more instances of “doubled” phrases that conveyed the “twoness” of the entries without repeating the others. At 17A, the title of the James Bond film “You Only Live Twice” is written YOU ONLY LIVE LIVE. “Double blind study” is the phrase at 38A, but it’s written BLIND BLIND STUDY.
We don’t see many themes with only three entries anymore. It would have been nice if Mr. Wolfe had been able to find one more doubled entry that fit, but I would rather see a theme with three well-spaced entries that sparkle than one with more entries that don’t hang together well.
This puzzle came together over the course of a week as I sat out an early pandemic quarantine that, because of my own poor preparation, left me without access to books, television, friends, family or internet. It’s amazing how fast time can fly with only pen and paper to keep you company.
Double blind study was the inspiration for the theme, and when it quickly become apparent that there weren’t enough “double” expressions of suitable length, I thought it would be fun if each of the theme answers used a different turn of phrase for the repeating words. Everything fell into place quite quickly after that, with the primary remaining challenge being reading my own handwriting.
I’m beyond thrilled to make my New York Times Crossword debut and hope that working my own puzzle when it’s published will help improve my average solve time.
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