Author: Alan Olschwang
Note: I am travelling today with no computer access, so please don't be insulted if I don't respond to comments until this weekend. Also, apologies to the author for a shorter than usual post. I strongly encourage some good comments dialogue to pick up the slack! Thanks.
- Pete M
Theme: Phrases that contain either the front end (ABC) or the back end (XYZ) of the alphabet, as follows:
- TAB COLLARS (18a: Features of some shirts).
- HYDROXYZINE (29a: Antihistaminic drug).
- REHAB CENTER (45a: Place to get clean).
- MR MXYZPTLK(59a: DC Comics villain).
My reaction to these, in order:
- Not bad.
- Very nice!
- Are you f-ing kidding me?
Be honest. How many of you out there were even aware that this villain exists, and of those how many could actually spell it?
Also, even though I love the rehab center clue, it's a sad commentary on today's world that it was an immediate gimme. And for theme answers, you can't just average them together to equal two medium-challenging clues. I find the disparity in difficulty here a pretty major flaw.
- 26a: "Universe Ends as ___ Wakes Up Next to Suzanne Pleshette" (headline in The Onion) (GOD). Too funny!
- 1a: Wire cutter (BARB)
- 15a: Clubs for swingers (IRONS)
- 5a: Anthony's costar in "The Silence of the Lambs" (JODIE Foster)
- 1d: Model material (BALSA).
- 11d: 2004 Lindsay Lohan movie (MEAN GIRLS)
- 41a: Mozart portrayer (Tom HULCE). From "Amadeus". Love this movie!
- 16a: With 33-Down, detachment of military troops (REAR GUARD)
- 17a: "___ of Lambeth" (LIZA).
- 20a: Disheveled (SLOVENLY)
- 23a: Fizz up (AERATE)
- 33a: Possibly infectious (GERMY). Yuck.
- 38a: Largest dwarf planet in the solar system (ERIS)
- 40a: Chicago cop Lieberman in Stuart M. Kaminsky novels (ABE)
- 42a: ADA part (ATTY). American Dental Association? Nope. American Diabetes Association? Nope. American Dietetic Association? Nope. Americans for Democratic Action? Nope. Americans with Disabilities Act? Nope. Assistant District Attorney? Bingo!
- 44a: Easternmost county in Vermont (ESSEX)
- 49a: They often end with FGs (OTS). As in football (or basketball, I suppose) overtimes.
- 50a: Public opinion, for short (VOX POP). Short for Vox populi.
- 55a: Subj. of the book "Treasure-House of the Language" (OED)
- 66a: On the safe side? (ALEE)
- 67a: Disease caused by herpesvirus, briefly (MONO). I could do without seeing "herpesvirus" in a puzzle.
- 68a: They're exhausted (GASES)
- 69a: Members of the MTV Generation (XERS)
- 3d: Venus, e.g. (RAZOR)
- 5d: Minibus (JITNEY)
- 6d: Nuncupative (ORAL)
- 7d: Larry who broke the color line in the American League (DOBY)
- 9d: That objeto (ESO)
- 10d: First name in folk (ARLO). Arlo Guthrie, probably best known for "Alice's Restaurant".
- 13d: ___ T's (brand of pierogies) (MRS). Not familiar with them, but easy nonetheless.
- 21d: Antiknock fluid (ETHYL)
- 27d: In safe keeping (ON ICE)
- 28d: Fix (DESEX). Ouch!
- 30d: Male mallards (DRAKES)
- 32d: Seducer of Alcmene (ZEUS)
- 51d: Pfizer antianxiety pill (XANAX)
- 53d: More anomalous (ODDER)
- 56d: Fair (EXPO). Wish the Expos hadn't left Montreal. :(
- 58d: Magazine that "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly" author Jean-Dominique Bauby was the editor of (ELLE). Didn't know, but in a crossword it's usually ELLE, UTNE, or OMNI.
- 62d: Sony's Clié, e.g.: Abbr. (PDA). Again, didn't know, but it makes sense.
Suns of Bitches:
Things I really didn't know, that haven't already been mentioned:
- 48a: "Die Luft ___ Freiheit weht" (motto of Stanford University meaning "The wind of freedom blows") (DER). Fits and looks German, so it must be right.
- 57a: "The American ___" (Carelton Mabee biography of Samuel F. B. Morse that won a Pulitzer) (LEONARDO)
- 34d: Competitor of Helena (ESTEE)
- 35d: "Strangers on a Train" costar (RUTH ROMAN)
- 36d: Miguel's twin sister on a PBS cartoon (MAYA)
- 52d: Worker, informally (PROLE)
All in all, I can't say this was a favorite puzzle. Not enough fill that I really loved, and too much that was just out there.
Thanks for listening.
- Pete M.