As a treat, we get beautifully labeled subject entries today and not a rebus in front of the eyes. There are seven entries containing a number of shaded squares – 26-, 41-, 49-, 71-, 91-, 100- and 114-Across. Inside these squares sits a single circular letter. Also, the 119-Across has a finder and its 24-Across mirror entry has a cute sign.
The theme clues range from simple trivia to some really cute puns, and each one is assigned a different country that appears at the end of the clue in parentheses. After reading the title of the puzzle “In Money”, my heart ached a little when I saw some of these countries – Qatar, Rwanda. international currencyI thought. i’m sunk
The first few thread clues did nothing to calm my fears, but I got lucky with 49-Across, “Give Up All At Once (Ecuador).” I had a few passing letters and enough understanding to figure out the answer: GET OUT COLD TURKEY. The shaded squares occur at the very beginning of the clue and the circle is in its fifth position – C. TURKEY IN THE COLD threw me off for a moment. (What do Turkey and Ecuador have in common? Not money — Turkey has the lira, and so does Ecuador USD.)
Then, I bought 100-Across and the shaded letters made sense. “Action for Santa (Rwanda)” solves LISTING; the shaded squares start at K and end at I, and the circle surrounds Ni at MAKING. Those shaded letters spell KIGALI, the capital of Rwanda; Back to 49-Across, QUITO is now jumping in a way that makes me wonder how I missed it.
I think it’s one of those zero-to-60 topics. Shaded letters in each of the subject entries represent the capital of the country mentioned. It helped me a lot with the little things I didn’t know remotely, although I still destroyed the “1998 Masters (Italy) Winning Golfer” at 26-Across (which I’ll explain in a minute). It also helped me wise for two puns. I especially loved 114-Across, “Someone who walks to work? (Train),” as a DOG NAMER, where someone’s profession involves movement: DOHA is shaded and the G is circled.
This revealer, at 119-Across, asks, “What do the circled letters in this puzzle mean by the shaded squares around them?” makes a great punchline. Those extra letters represent CAPITAL GAINS, i.e. increases to each capital. Those circled letters found me in a difficult spot.
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