Chandi Deitmer and Taylor Johnson are here to help us move.

Chandi and Taylor are helping us move.

Chandi Deitmer and Taylor Johnson are here to help us move.

Jump to today's theme

Chandi Deitmer of Cambridge, Mass. edits puzzles in Elevate, an app for brain training. Taylor Johnson is a Minneapolis father who stays at home and volunteers for a food cooperative. The two met via email and became friends, as well as sounding boards for one another's work. Chandi explained that good friends will tell you if your theme idea doesn't work and they'll offer to collaborate to improve it. The pair is working together for the first time at The Times.

Wouldn't you say that the theme of this puzzle is a great one? It was a long time for me to grasp the theme of this puzzle, which is so clean and simple, centered on one letter.

Today's Theme

The puzzle has four theme pairs, plus a revealer at 70-Across that covers the entire grid. Once you get a hint, the theme clues are clever. You should pat yourself on your back if any of the clues were solved without crossing the letters -- these are tough!)

The top pair, at 24- and 26-Across, is a difficult example. At 24-Across, 'Enjoy a La-Z-Boy recliner?' solves to LEISURE SIT, which is a play on 'leisure suit,' a sort of stretchy polyester number that was popular in the 1970s. (I immediately pictured a game show host awarding a contestant a La-Z-Boy recliner.) The clue for 26-Across, 'Head exec?,' solves to SUIT UP FRONT. This is hard to parse, I think, but it's a play on 'sit up front,' and uses 'suit' as a somewhat pejorative description of a higher-up in a corporate office.

The title of the puzzle is 'U Haul'. It appears that the second "U" in the phrase "leisure suit" has been moved easterly and has now inserted itself in the phrase "sit up front." I was able to understand the puzzle only after it had been completed.

I was able to solve the bottom pair at 116 and 119 across. At 116-Across: 'My old garden waterer?' PANTYHOUSE is the solution. This old house loses the 'U,' becoming THIS OLD HOSE. Pantyhose gains the U' to become PANTYHOUSE.

The first time I saw it, it was SUIT. It's missing in the first entry, but appears in the second.

This makes the revealer for 70-Across perfect – no knowledge of the show is required. Although I'm certain that it makes it even funnier. The clue 'Request one-on-one in the Bachelor' TV franchise... or a telephone hint to four pairs in this puzzle' leads to CAN YOU STEAL ME FOR A SECOND.

"Tap Alternative" puts me at a bar (thinking about kegs) and a restaurant. Next, I think about faucets and plumbing. When I run out of ideas, I only think about a tap on the shoulder and the correct entry, PSST.

This clue was also completely incorrect: "They are found under sink holes" has nothing to with chasms that swallow cars. This is a reference to PTRAPS - the bendy pipes under bathroom vanities.

It was not my first thought to see this 'Board Game Popular in Japan' in crosswords. Usually, it is clued as the Japanese version of Chess. SHOGI, an ancient strategy game dating back to the 8th century, is a crossword puzzle answer.

When I first read the clue 'Woo woo films?' I immediately thought of John Woo, and action movies. The pun is still there, but this time the 'woo-woo' is pitched as in ROMCOMS.

This is a great pun, but it may be obscured by cloud computing and cordless devices. You can read 'Drive home' This entry was previously clued as "Mouse Hole?," if it helps. This is a reference to a USB PORT. That's where you might plug an external computer drive in (or a corded mice).

This is the debut. This puzzle has a DUDEBRO, which is called a 'Fratty Type, colloquially'.

Constructor Notes

We would like to thank Christina Iverson and the entire editing team for their patience and expertise as we transformed this puzzle into what it is today. We are grateful for their efforts and guidance, which helped make this puzzle shine.

Now, enjoy our Top 3 Reality TV Shows of All Time:


America's Next Top Model
3. The Bachelor/Bachelorette franchise


America's Funniest Home Video
3. Ted Lasso

Answer Key does not contain a 'U'

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