“Lord, Is It I?”

by Ross Trudeau

[.puz][PDF][Solution] Difficulty: 3.5/5

It’s that time of year again! Jessie and I just bought our ACPT tickets, which means I also owe Parker an email about costuming. We’re bring the esprit in twenty-three, bay-beee! Also on the horizon is the Boswords Winter Wondersolve (February 5th, online). Registration opens in two weeks time. I’ll “be” there as well.

My gratitude to Shannon and Margaret for testing solving “Lord, Is It I?” Scroll down for thoughts and spoilers!

So, okay, maybe you thought I’d gotten the quantum kick out of my system after the World Cup ended. And solver? So did I. But! As I began writing the copy for invitations to the Ninth Annual Sound of Music Sing-And-Quote-Along (SOMSaQuA IX, it’s real, best party of the year), it dawned on me that MARTA and MARIA we’re just an uncrossed T (i.e., an I) away from each other. And lo!

I did this puzzle because the copy for the revealer puts our non-detail-oriented comrades at ease: don’t cross the T’s? All good, friend! You just get an I-FORMATION rather than a T-FORMATION [Certain NFL offensive alignment], etc.:

T-BAR / I-BAR [Letter-shaped beam]

CAN’T HELP / CAN I HELP [Possible response to a plea for assistance]

TVS / IVS [Tubes hooked up in many hospital rooms]

MINT OREO / MINI OREO [Twistable cookie variety]

BATTERS / BAITERS [Ones angling for a hit]

MARTA / MARIA [“The Sound of Music” role] … Thought of [Leading role opposite Christopher Plummer, too!]

Happy solving, friends!


13 thoughts on ““Lord, Is It I?”

  1. Very nice! The mental labor of Rosswords is never menial labor. What a pleasant way to spend a Sunday morning.
    Being one of the Gen Xers referenced in 43A (just got that dreaded card in the mail last year, dammit; triple-apology accepted), I had to Google “thirst traps” (42D). Um, those images…

    • Reminds me of the *very first* internet research project I had back in the 90s in grade school. The topic I fatefully typed into the search bar? E.E. Cummings. Oof.

  2. Nice puzzle Ross! While staring at the grid my eyes began to cross as the tease appeared. (Sorry, I’ll stop now.)

  3. Ross, thanks for the puzzle. Again, I missed the beauty of the puzzle until you explained it. I rewatched “Knives Out’ today because of you glowing reviews earlier. I have upgraded my opinion of the movie. Coincidently, the main character’s name is Marta.

    • Well I’m 100% here for you whenever you want to talk “Knives Out,” Mark — just watched it again (sort of passively, while exercising) yesterday. Can’t get enough. And I also noted the Marta coincidence! In the blog notes above I thought about cluing MARTA / MARIA as [Leading role opposite Christopher Plummer]!

  4. Hello. This week, I streamed some videos due to my interest in “Knives Out”. First, I watched interviews with the director and some of the cast on YouTube. Secondly, I watched the movie “Brothers Bloom” which was directed and directed by Rian Johnson in 2008. The YouTube videos were somewhat insightful. The movie didn’t grab me.
    I plan on watching the episodes of “Poker Face” which are written and directed by Rian Johnson. The first episode will stream on Peacock on January 26th.
    I consider your crossword puzzles to be pieces of art. I am fascinated by the process artists use to connect to their “muses”. I am even more fascinated when a group of artists can produce a magical work like “Knives Out” when there are so many egos to deal with.
    mark moore

  5. A few of the clues/answers still perplex me: 68A, 69A, and 10D. If you find the time maybe you can explain them?
    Also, I just did your NYT puzzle from Dec 6, 2022, and I was amazed at the job you & Wyna Liu did to find so many famous ladies with 3-letter first names, and then make a word-ladder out of them. Totally brilliant!

    • Hey DEREK! 68A is suggests the use of TIDE a la “the rising tide of fascism,” say. 69A is a pun on ZED being the way the Brits pronounce the letter at the “end” of the English alphabet. 10D clues TREASURE as a verb.

      Thank you for your kind words! That one started with “Knives Out” dreamboat Ana de Armas…nice that the pattern/symmetry worked out.

  6. Thanks for the fun puzzle. This Boomer got a smile from the Gen X clue. Just wait until those cards start hitting your mailbox.

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