I couldn’t help but hear that song in my head as I worked on Mr. Wolfe’s puzzle. I had no trouble solving these, although it took me a while to understand the structure of the theme items.
My first assumption was that the puzzle had a rebus element because 1) I was having trouble fitting the entries and 2) it’s Thursday, which is when most of the rebuses run. However, that was quickly disproved when I got to 61A. After fiddling with it a bit, I found out that the answer was GOODY SHOES SHOES, where the phrase “goody two shoes” is written by doubling the SHOES.
What I find interesting is that Mr. Wolfe found two more examples of “doubled” sentences that conveyed the “twoness” of the entries without repeating the others. On 17A, the title of the James Bond movie “You Only Live Twice” is written: YOU ONLY LIVE LIVE. “Double-blind study” is the phrase on 38A, but it’s written BLIND BLIND STUDY.
We don’t see many themes anymore with only three submissions. It would have been nice if Mr. Wolfe could have found another duplicate entry to match, but I’d rather see a theme with three well-spaced entries that shine than one with more entries that don’t match.
This puzzle came together over the course of a week while I was in an early pandemic quarantine, which, due to my own poor preparation, left me without access to books, television, friends, family or the Internet. It’s amazing how fast time can fly with just pen and paper to keep you company.
Double-blind study was the inspiration for the theme, and when it quickly became apparent that there weren’t enough “double” expressions of appropriate length, I thought it would be nice if each of the theme answers used a different turn of phrase for the words to repeat. After that, everything fell into place pretty quickly, with the main challenge being reading my own handwriting.
I’m beyond excited to make my New York Times Crossword debut and hope working on my own puzzle when it’s published will help improve my average solving time.
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