I am not a prude. But I must admit that an answer in a recent New York Times crossword puzzle made me do a double-take. It was last Wednesday's puzzle. Which means it is--- allegedly--- moderately hard. The scale of difficulty increases through the week. I do the puzzles when they appear in the Sun-Times, which carries them about a month or so after they first appear out east.
The puzzle in question has four Across clues whose answers consist each of two words, the first of which ending in a double 's'. But if the second 's' is dropped, a more familiar phrase is created. For example, the clue for 17-across is "Throat lozenge for low-voiced opera-stars?" The answer is "bass relief". Dropping an 's' leaves you with "bas relief". OK? Deliciously clever. Just what we NYTC buffs love.
Two other clues are certainly non-controversial. 35-across is "Talk about pitchers and quarterbacks?" Answer: "discuss throwers". Delete an 's' for "discus throwers". And 57-across: "Admission provider for a kissing booth?" "Buss ticket." With "bus ticket" nesting inside.
The 4th clue? . "Cause of a sexual harassment complaint?" Gulp. "Mid-ass touch." I suppose if the settlement of the law suit is lucrative enough the embedded answer would be absolutely appropriate : "Midas touch."