That said! If we had a sister blog, and if that sister blog were named "Bleeding Heart Liberal Harper's Cryptic Clues," our twisted sister would have much fodder the last few months, and this month in particular.
To the puzzle!
Theme: "It's Time," referring to Things That Happen in November, but also, beautifully, baldly, un-subtley, referring to the USA election and this cover of The Economist from Fall 2008, when even that staid Chicago-school rag knew: it's time. Gobama. Boom kaboom.
O but there were so many o where to begin. There were like 12 or 15 truly exquisite ones this month. Below are the cream of the cream:
- 17A) In a postoperative recovery, get a handle on an organ (4)
poSTOPerative = STOP
Like an organ stop. Nice. Wanted it to be MOOG. And then later really really wanted it to be ONAN.
- 18A) Ladies proud of their family name? Fiddle-de-dee! (4)
(Ladies proud of their family = DAR) + (name = N) = DARN
"DAR" as in "Daughters of the American Republic." This is one of those smooth clues free of faultlines that we love very best of all. When we encounter one we like to thrillingly caress it with our mind, enjoying how hard and perfect it is. What's that? Why yes, we ARE sexually frustrated. You remembered from five seconds ago! Next!
- 19A) Multifaceted figures curiously hard-nosed about the European Community ... (11)
(HARD-NOSED (European Community = EC) ) * anagram = DECAHEDRONS
Usually think of glorious Platonic solid dodecahedron. But forget not the noble decahedron. There's a lot of them kinds. For example:
- Shake puzzle constructor by being excluded (4)
(puzzle constructor = MALTBY) - BY = MALT
YESssssss! We believe that in all our years of Harper's cryptics, we had yet to before see Richard E. Maltby Jr. indulge in inserting himself into the puzzle, exercising a near Will Shortzian restraint. just kidding: Shortz is like Darth Vader; he doesn't need to sign his name to the Force, he is become the Force. clarifying: we mean that Will Shortz is like unto Darth not in evil, but in raw badassery.
- 37A) Condition coarsens in blacked-out states (8)
COARSENS anagram = NARCOSES
Not quite as smooth as that DAR clue, but still. So smooth! (fingers spider touch over it) (cf S'Touching)
38A) Person in a service van many rent (4, 3)
(VAN MANY) * anagram = NAVY MAN
Delicious. And shout out to our longtime friend and former roommate Commander Tofer of the Naval Reserves, currently stationed in Djibouti. Your booty? No. Djibouti. Yusssssss.
- 32A) Lose liquid, missing a piece of Albanian bread (3)
(lose liquid = LEAK) missing A = LEK
Yes. "Lek" is one of thems words where we don't know that we know it, until it's there and we clearly know it, somehow embedded amongst the deep nuggets of the mind.
- 9A) To be produced by spoken voice, that's the end of poetry (5)
spokEN VOIce = ENVOI
"envoi" what da hayck is that word? Something in poetry. Fine whatever. Thought for a long time it would be ENNUI and some kinda subtle, knowing dig on poets, in the way only a fellow traveler can give a subtle, knowing dig. Negator, friends. Negator.
- 11A) Make unholy concoction from rue Gâteaux (10)
RUE GATEAUX anagram = EXAUGURATE
Sigh. The Free Dictionary says it's a synonym for "unhellow." Great, what's "unhellow" oh hey guess what none found. Cool word, guys!
- 28D) Philippine tree, English lime, grafted together (5)
(English = E) + LIME = ELEMI
The puzzle qualified this as one of the rare words. Meh. More like lazy vowel-disproportionate words. Ooh, sick burns, Maltby! Sick burns from TackyHarpersCrypticClues.blogspot.com.
- 25D) Hey dude! The goal in mating is getting into bondage! (6)
(Hey dude = YO) + (The goal in mating = KING) = YOKING
- 33A) Savings plan question: Was this something worth fighting for?
(Savings plan = IRA) + (question = Q) = IRAQ (!!!)
Holy smokes. Was Iraq something worth fighting for? SICK BURNS FROM MALTBY, USA. Sick burns.
And that does it for this month! Will winking references to positive consensual BDSM relationships continue to replace tacky/sexist/racist clues? We can but hope.