I’m hoping to be able to prepare a proper recap of last Saturday’s Crossword Tournament From Your Couch for next week. In the meantime, you can read a short recap from its creators here.

Today’s tricky puzzle features a rebus theme in which certain words are doubled inside longer phrases, creating double letters in the crossing direction:

  • 23A: [Relaxed dress code] is CASUAL ATTIRE, with a doubled TIRE. Crossing those doubled letters are PUTTER, SHIITES, SORRY and THEE.
  • 56A: [Final notes?] is CRIB SHEETS, with a doubled RIBS. Crossing those doubled letters are CHIRR, RADII, BBALL and ASSES.
  • 79A: [Like exhibits with audio and video components] is MULTIMEDIA, with a doubled TIME. Crossing those doubled letters are OTTER, WIIMOTE, DEMME and PUREE.
  • 117A: [Leonidas’s belligerent catchphrase in “300”] is “THIS IS SPARTA,” with a doubled PART. Crossing those doubled letters are SLAPPED, JAY HAAS, ERRED and AT TEN.
  • 15D: [Portobello top] is MUSHROOMCAP, with a doubled ROOM. Crossing those doubled letters are DEAD PARROT, SNOOTY, ME TOO and EMMYS.
  • 67D: [Blue Jacket’s boot] is HOCKEY SKATE, with a double KEYS. Crossing those doubled letters are GEKKO, EERIE, SAY YES and LESSON PLAN.

The doubled words are tied together by the central answer SPARE at 68A: [Extra, or a word that precedes the “extra” words in this puzzle].

As I always learn the hard way, rebus puzzles become way, way tougher to create once you string together multiple rebus squares in a row. If nothing else, let this puzzle be an excuse to watch Monty Python’s classic Dead Parrot sketch.

What did you think?