2019-08-21 by W.M.
45D: “Mail man?” does not refer to male postal carriers, but to KNIGHTs, who wore chain mail (also “chain maille” as part of their armor.
52D: The “Campus extension?” in this clue does not refer to an additional, smaller campus, but instead hints at the ending or extension of a web address. Most college web or email addresses end in “.EDU.”
I really liked this one, although I found myself staring at it after having solved most of it to try to figure out how the revealer applied to the theme. A good Thursday puzzle, in my opinion, is one that holds its secrets almost until the end. This one fit the bill.
The answer to 40A’s “Seedy hangout … or a hint to finishing four Across answers in this puzzle” is DIVE BAR, and that’s what we are going to do today. No, we’re not going to go pub crawling. We’re going to take a DIVE.
On their own, the Across entries in each corner of Ms. Carroll’s grid do not make sense at all. For example, at 1A, the answer to “Extremely slow speed” appears to be SNAILS. Yes, SNAILS do move at an extremely slow pace, but the answer seems a little … off.
It turns out that the entry takes a DIVE at the last letter and continues in the Down entry. So, for 1A, the answer begins with SNAILS and continues through 6D, SPACE. That makes the answer to 1A SNAIL’S PACE, which makes sense.
Similarly, at 11A, a GEM is not necessarily a “Sign of spring,” but if you take that DIVE at the end and continue with 13D’s MINI, the answer is really GEMINI, the zodiac sign for people born between May 21 and June 21.