We found the first bug in the kitchen, dead, in a cup. And the second, also in the kitchen, alive, in the recycling. And the third, filled with Sweet V's blood, the other morning. UGH!
Today we bought one of those heating bed bug death chambers. Morale is currently high as we are flooded with the good feelings of a large purchase, and a return of the illusion of control, success against death, kai, ta, loipa. In part control over bed bugs, but mostly over death. Let's be real.
Ok. Puzzle time. Get it together. BUH no just one more thing, the sound of the terminator's spray this afternoon made us feel very bad inside. Bad for us, bad for the planet, bad for the bugs. Yah, bad for the bugs. We want them dead, and guess what? Also feel bad for them. “Not like this,” we thought.
Ok. For real this time. Puzzle this month was due “by Valentine's Day, and son, you better get right if you don't know when that is.” TONGUE TWISTERS was the theme, with the tangy saucy tantalizing clue in the instructs, “Solvers are invited to decide which of the other twelve unclued entries (all related) is the 28 Across.”
INVITED YOU SAY
ALL RELATED YOU SAY
WE SHOULD HOPE SO
Wanted something homophonic or lingual or like 28A would be “how many pickled peppers DID Peter Piper pick?” and the unclueds would be p-quantities. Instead they were just like twelve rando flavors, available via inference alone:
- 1A) SPEARMINT
- 15A) HAZELNUT
- 20A) JASMINE
- 38A) NUTMEG
- 41A) AMARETTO
- 1D) SASSAFRAS
- 5D) MARJORAM
- 7D) THYME
- 21D) SAFFRON
- 23D) PAPRIKA
- 25D) CHERVIL
Chervil (Anthriscus cerefolium), sometimes called garden chervil to distinguish it from similar plants also called chervil, or French parsley, is a delicate annual herb related to parsley. It is commonly used to season mild-flavoured dishes and is a constituent of the French herb mixture fines herbes.
- 18A) Sadly leery about upsetting party with singer who gets high (7)
(LEERY + (party = DO)) * anagram = YODELER
- 19A) Spanish America's the house of ill repute (5)
SpaniSH AMErica's = SHAME
Reminded of The House of the Spirits set in Chile, and early in the book the patriarch of the family visits a whore with big dreams and gives her a very generous tip. And then SPOILER ALERT he meets her again later, and very narratively gratifyingly you find out she used that big tip to start a very successful feminist whorehouse.
- 26A) Small lock, or how wimp gets to be pimp? (4)
how wimp gets to be pimp = W is P = WISP
- 36A) Jewish gathering has broken about four (5)
(HAS + (four = IV)) * anagram = SHIVA
1. a period of seven days' formal mourning for the dead, beginning immediately after the funeral.
“she went to her sister's funeral and sat shiva”
Source: The Goog
- 11D) Latin caught in sack ran (4)
(Latin - L) + (sack = BED) = BLED
- 10D) Radical introduction of euro has me retroactive convert to cash (6)
(Radical = RED) + (introduction of euro = E) + (ME retroactive = EM) = REDEEM
- 14A) The first characters seen in fair hair are ... space cadets! (8)
(The first characters = HEADS) + (seen in fair hair = AIR) = AIR HEADS
Yah so per Wise Tyler, it's: “the first [letters] in the words 'fair' or 'hair,'” i.e. “characters before the string 'AIR'” i.e. AIR HEADS
Here, let's look at a still from Airheads:
PS, Brendan Fraser? February Nerd Hot Guy. Callin' it. Happy Valentine's day.
- 16A) To some extent, is eventide between 6 and 8? (5)
iS EVENtide = SEVEN
- 39A) Shoe store's known tie with criminal organization (8)
KNOWN TIE * anagram = NIKETOWN
- 31A) After Florida upset, Crimson's defeater of Vikings (6)
(After = A) + (Florida upset = LF) + (Crimon = RED) = ALFRED
Ugh tho. Any reference to capital-C Crimson and the Cult of Harvard annoys us. Because people who went to Harvard annoy us. Mostly the B-school kids. If you went to the Harvard Business School, well. It's time you knew what we think of you.
- 12D) Union charges in announcing list of things to accomplish (4)
(list of things to accomplish = DOES) * homophone = DUES
Which reminds us of a game we co-invented with our friend Matt called The Dating Dos game. You're welcome to play along! The game is: there are no Dating Don'ts. You play by describing some behavior that's clearly beyond the pale of inappropriate for a date. Like peeing your pants ... ON PURPOSE. And then the game is to explain, no matter how thin or backwards the logic, how that behavior is really ok. More backwards = more points.
So peeing your pants is ok because it shows you're not afraid of your body, you're comfortable in your body. Actually, most Dating Dos can be justified by how they demo your courage. Extra points for describing Dating Dos you've Dating Done. Super extra bonus points if you play Dating Dos while committing a Dating Do.
- 34D) Went off in amphibian (4)
WENT * anagram = NEWT
- 33A) Fancy woman starts going with unnamed man (4)
(WOMAN start = W) + (unnamed man = HIM) = WHIM
“Uh ... smart? Having fun?” we said.
We love (love!) that it's in political vogue right now to call out slut-shaming as a bad thing! It is bad to shame sluts! We love (LOVE!) that “slut-shaming” is a phrase in the public consciousness.
Our own thinking on sluts was very much shaped by our friend Chris in San Francisco, who said, “I think sluts are sexy. I think it's sexy when someone wants to have sex with you.” Well said, brother.