Author: Alan Arbesfeld
Theme: Phrases with car manufacturers hidden at the end.
- SOLAR PLEXUS (18a: Abdominal network).
- HELP ME RHONDA (24a: Song that knocked "Ticket to Ride" out of the #1 slot). Not my favorite Beach Boys tune (I'm kind of partial to "In My Room"), but nice fill.
- ANNO DOMINI (35a: Words before a date)
- LOSES A TURN (43a: Has to wait for the next round, perhaps). We love all things related to games and game shows. Very nice.
- ANTONIO GAUDI (50a: Spanish architect who designed the unfinished Sagrada Familia church in Barcelona). Didn't know this one.
- REGAL BEAGLE (62a: "Three's Company" hangout). This one's super! My favorite of the theme fills.
The strength of this theme is not so much in the concept, which is fine, but in the nice variety of colorful fill, which is quite excellent.
- 15a: A play might be seen better with this (SLO-MO). This shows up periodically, but it's a cool fill with a relatively unusual vowel pattern.
- 47a: Weenies (TWERPS). Twerps is great word. I mean, just look at it.
- 21d: Collectible paper items (EPHEMERA). Epherma comes from the Greek for "a day", and it's used to describe things that last, or were designed to last, a relatively short period of time. Great, descriptive word.
- 27d: Base kid (ARMY BRAT). Excellent. I wonder if they're called that because of some particular family's kids that really were brats. (PB2, any comment here?)
- 40d: Locker room shower? (ESPN). Very nice.
- 65d: Gray head? (LEE). As in Robert E. LEE, head of the Confederate Army. Great clue.
- 1a: Street cred (REP). I feel like "cred" has been showing a lot lately.
- 4a: Stunned (AGASP). A had AGAPE to start.
- 16a: National competitor (ALAMO). This one didn't fool me; I immediately thought rental car.
- 17a: It holds the mayo (JAR).
- 20a: It can be bid (ADIEU). I was hoping for a bridge fill here (A CLUB, perhaps? Or ONE NO), but it was not to be.
- 22a: ___ noche (tonight, in Spanish) (ESTA).
- 23a: Sheep's tail? (ISH). My first thought was PEE (last letter of "sheep"), but it's ISH (as in sheepish). Either way, it gets the crytic clue tag.
- 28a: "Talk to ___" (HER). Am I missing something here? This feels like a really weak clue for HER. "Talk to the hand!", now that's a phrase worthy standing alone.
- 29a: California's motto (EUREKA). I think I learned this back in high school when we studied Archimedes.
- 33a: Band leader? (BEE). I was already in this mindset from the sheep clue, above, so this was easy. Another cryptic clue.
- 39a: Rap (BLAME). Rap as a noun. Very nice.
- 42a: Religious group (SYNOD).
- 46a: Quinella, e.g. (BET). In horse racing, the quinella bet is for the top two horses in either order, as opposed to the perfecta where order matters.
- 48a: Compass creation: Abbr. (CIR). The circle-drawing compass, not the navigational compass.
- 60a: Arabian Peninsula coastal city (ADEN). It lies on the Gulf of Aden, too, so you may see it clued that way.
- 66a: Land in the Seine (ILE). French for "island". This comes up a lot.
- 67a: Teed off (ANGRY). This is notable because the 5-letter answer to this clue is much more typically IRATE.
- 68a: Siouan-speaking Indians (OTOES). Another crossword staple.
- 69a: NAFTA signer (CAN). It's either USA, CAN, or MEX.
- 70a: Supply with fuel (STOKE). As in a campfire or coal stove.
- 71a: Dos, e.g. (NOTES). As in do re mi.
- 72a: Annapolis affirmative (AYE). Annapolis referring to the U.S. Naval Academy.
- 1d: Indian prince (RAJAH). This shows up about equally with and without the trailing H.
- 4d: Take on (ASSUME). As in resonsibility.
- 5d: Day-___ (GLO). I like that this cross SLOMO. Would be nicer if the entire phrase were included. Day-Glo does not make a good fashion statement.
- 6d: Surfing fan, perhaps (AOLER).
- 8d: ___-Novo (capital of Benin) (PORTO). Didn't know this one off the top, but it was pretty easy to figure with a couple of crossings.
- 9d: Hootenanny lass (GAL). Props for using the great word "hootenanny".
- 10d: "___ ELO" (hit album of 1976) (OLÉ). The hit you'll remember from this is "Evil Woman".
- 11d: Move toward the airstrip (TAXI).
- 12d: Stern contemporary (Don IMUS). Contemporary of, but not equal to, Howard Stern.
- 13d: Bite (NOSH). NOSH is another great word. I have to start using it more in everyday conversation.
- 19d: Like French doors (PANED.)
- 25d: A one-two-three inning makes it go down (ERA). Earned Run Average, for a baseball pitcher.
- 26d: The Blues Brothers and Indigo Girls, e.g. (DUOS). Nice clue.
- 30d: Article in Der Spiegel (EINE). Probably the most common German word in crossword puzzles.
- 31d: It may be hard to undo (KNOT). I was hoping for something cool and edgy when I read this clue, like ZIPPER or BRA STRAP or BAD PERM, but not this time.
- 33d: Leave, in slang (BLOW). As in "Let's blow this joint!", which, as far as I can tell, has nothing to do with Spike Lee movies.
- 36d: Louis Armstrong Stadium divider (NET). Next to Arthur Ashe Stadium, where the U.S. Open of tennis is played.
- 37d: Kimmel Center sch. (NYU). We have to remember that the Sun is a local NYC newspaper. I'm sure this clue is a piece of cake if you're from around there.
- 38d: Poetic preposition (O'ER)
- 39d: Tref 'wich (BLT). Tref means non-kosher. I learned this recently from puzzles. And hey, it's a food clue.
- 45d: One with a chevron: Abbr. (NCO). Non-commissioned officer. I don't know my insignias, so I count on crossings. The clue may as well be "Name a military rank: Abbr.".
- 49d: "Um ... OK" (I GUESS). Nice phrase.
- 51d: Ancient Greek theater (ODEON). This shows up a lot.
- 52d: "That's swell!" (NEATO). Golly gee, that's peachy keen.
- 53d: Heavy metal bar, maybe (INGOT). Good clue surface reading.
- 54d: Seat of New York's Oneida County (UTICA).
- 57d: They're often rolled over (IRAS). Cute.
- 59d: Brand in the freezer (EGGO). Leggo my Eggo! More food.
- 64d: Caustic stuff (LYE)
Suns of Bitches:
- 41a: Macula's locale (EYE). Didn't know this one; got it from crossings.
- 56d: "Brave ___" (William Steig children's book) (IRENE). Ditto.
I didn't think this puzzle was particularly difficult for a Friday, but it was very enjoyable. Nice theme entries and decent fill, with enough things I didn't know off the top that made sense once I got them from the crossings to keep me interested. Good job.
Thanks for listening.
- Pete M.