Both the movie and song 9 to 5 were hinted at by this puzzle. DOLLY (20D) Parton wrote the theme song and starred in the movie alongside JANE FONDA (4A), Lily Tomlin, and Dabney Coleman. Spoilers follow! In the movie, Fonda, Tomlin, and Parton bond over their hatred of their sexist boss, Coleman. One night they share a JOINT (4D) and share stories about getting revenge; in Parton’s fantasy, she’s a rodeo star who uses a LASSO (25D) to hogtie Coleman. Back in the real world, Tomlin believes that she accidentally spiked Coleman’s coffee with RAT POISON leading to a comic but inconsequential tableau in a hospital involving corpse theft. The three women then TEAM(ING) UP (12A) to blackmail and kidnap Coleman while Tomlin runs the office and implements progressive reforms, including an onsite day care, swing shifts, and counseling services for employees. When Coleman returns, his corporate supervisors are so impressed they promote him to a position in Brazil and promote Tomlin to office manager.
Here are some other hints that the puzzle was about 9 to 5:
- The accompanying theme song (in which Parton uses her long fingernails as percussion instruments) includes the lyrics “They just USE YOUR MIND (title) and never give you credit/ it’s enough to drive you crazy if you let it, “Want to move ahead but the boss won’t let me/I SWEAR (16A) sometimes that man is out to get me!” and “Work so hard, but I’m living in a shanty/Then they ship me off to YPSILANTI (27A).” (The last one is only in the Jay Electronica remix featuring JPEG Mafia).
- Since 9 to 5 refers to working hours, you start the puzzle by punching the CLOCK (1A).
- The image accompanying the puzzle is from the movie Brazil.
- Finally, every answer in the puzzle is either 9 or 5 answers long!
BTW, I hope that you know that Dolly Parton is awesome! She has given away over 100 million children’s books, raised money for disaster relief and cancer and COVID-19 research, and recently expressed support for Black Lives Matter.
The answers, explained:
1A – CLOCK – COCK (total jerk) + L (large)
4A – JANE FONDA – NO (denial) + FEN (mire) retracted = NEFON with JA and DA (external agreements) = JA NEF ON DA
9A – NO SERVICE – NOSE (sniff out) + R (moral core) + VICE (wicked behavior etc.)
10A – URBAN – TURBAN (religious or traditional head covering) not completely, or without the T.
11A – LATCH – the openings of Lock Acquired To Close Home
12A – TEAMING UP – TEA (brewed drink) + MING (priceless urn) + UP (chipped – i.e., piece missing – cup)
13A – ORCHESTRA – in the midsection of majOR CHEST RAttle
16A – SWEAR – double definition – vow/to use foul language
18A – EMMYS – EMMY (Shameless actress Emmy Rossum) + S
19A – KIDDIE LIT – heard (tonally) kitty litter, abridged. No shade intended to my children’s author readers.
20A – DARTBOARD – D+D (role playing game) + ART (pictures) + BOAR (wild animals) = D ART BOAR D
23A GO-PRO – GOP (Republicans) + RO (or the wrong way).
25A – LASSO – LASS (young lady) + O (love)
26A – PILSENERS – RIPEN LESS stirred, or anagrammed.
27A – YPSILANTI – YPSI (I Spy, children’s guessing game, thrown back) + L (lawmakers initially) + ANTI (opposed)
28A – SKEIN – KE (kinetic energy) absorbed in SIN (the wrong way) = S KE IN
1D – CANAL ZONE – CALZONE (Neapolitan turnover) + AN (an additive).
2D – ONSET – disorganized, or anagrammed, NOTES
3D – KERCHIEFS – KE (pieces of kente) + R (by word of mouth are) + CHIEFS (local leaders)
4D – JOINT – JOIN (get together) + T (head of the)
5D – NEED A HAND – DNA (building blocks) + HAD + EEN (been mostly) turned upside down – NEE DAH AND
6D – FAUCI – F (failing grade) + A + UCI (frantic, or anagrammed, ICU)
7D – NO BIG DEAL – BEING OLD A bewildered, or anagrammed
8D – AANDP – AA (12 step program) + NDP (beginnings of No Drinking Plan)
14D – COMPRISES – CRISES (emergencies) about OM (endless escalating mob) + P (poor leader) = C OM P RISES
15D – TAKE A SPIN – TAKE IN (adopt) snuggling ASP (snake) = TAKE ASP IN
16D – SWINGSETS – SS (Sandlot’s borders) + WINGS (basketball players) + ET (and in French) = S WINGS ET S
17D – RAT POISON – RATS ON (spills the beans) about POI (fermented taro root) = RAT POI S ON. No shade intended to my Hawaiian readers.
20D – DOLLY – OY + DLL (600 in roman numerals) all together
21D – BROIL – B (Bae) + ROIL (cause a difficult situation).
22D – DELHI – LED (started up) + HI (greeting)
24D – PIECE – PEACE (an armistice) relying on communication, or heard.