Author: Mark Feldman
- HOOKED ON PHONICS (17a: Product that can ordered by calling 1-800-ABCDEFG).
- JABBERWOCKY (35a: Poem that begins "Twas brillig").
- CROSSWORD SOLVER (56a: You, right now)
I guess finding phrases for "straight right" and "uppercut" is a bit much to ask, so it's an okay theme for a Monday. I do like the reference to Lewis Carroll's "Jabberwocky", which happens to be one of the few poems I can recite from memory.
Let's start with the wonderful crossing of BEER CAN (37d: Frat party leftover) and RED MEAT (51a: Mutton, e.g.). Between this and the boxing theme, can this puzzle get anymore masculine? Add in 16a: "American ___" (1999 Jason Biggs movie) (PIE) and 6d: Baseball Hall of Famer Boggs (WADE), whose extramarital girlfriend posed for Penthouse back in the 80's, and you've got yourself a guy's guy puzzle going! RAH RAH! (1d: Enthusiastic). Finally, we'll cap it off with a war reference, 24d: Civil War general (SHERMAN), a plate of NACHOS (27a: Cheesy snacks), and a pair of ARGYLES (21a: Socks with diamond-shaped patterns).
- RUHR shows its head for a second puzzle in a row, this time clued not as the river but as simple 9d: Germany's ___ Valley.
- Awkward fill includes one RE-, 1a: Broadcast again (RESHOW) and two -ERs, 20a Agent of maturation (RIPENER) and 32a: Snake, at times (HISSER). I also couldn't help wanting to see 38d 10-time Gold Glove winner Alomar be SPITTER. But no, it's ROBERTO. For those who don't remember, Roberto infamously spit at an umpire back in 1996 during an argument over a called third-strike. Classy!
- Besides the above-mentioned HOOKED ON PHONICS, there were some other advertising clues, including LESS TAR (13d: Light cigarette ad claim), PSA (public service announcement) for 30a: Ad Council ad, e.g.:Abbr., and SSN (457-55-5462, for LifeLock CEO Todd Davis).
Suns of Bitches:
No real trouble spots, as one would expect from a Monday. I couldn't remember ELOISE (2d Plaza girl created by Kay Thompson), but I've seen it before and certainly knew it was right once it fit. Also had a false start with DROP IN instead of STOP IN for 3d: Visit briefly, and initially (no pun intended) thought 19d: S.I. is part of it was referring to Sports Illustrated, not Staten Island.
All in all, a nice Monday.
- Pete M.