Author: Spencer & Eileen Pasero
Theme: Dropped H sounds (Cockney accents)
- Hair-raising => AIR RAISING (16a: Lifting up of the atmosphere?). What a great segue from yesterday's Van de Graaff generator clue.
- Over the hump => OVER THE UMP (57a: No longer enamored by a guy working at home?). A little extra twist here, with the question mark working overtime to indicate both a theme answer and a tricky definition ("a guy working at home?" for UMP).
- Harbor seal => ARBOR SEAL (15d: Official stamp in a shady recess?).
- Red herring => RED ERRING (27d: Skelton botching a joke?).
- 28d: With 34-Across, fictional woman who's the inspiration for this puzzle's theme (ELIZA / DOOLITTLE). From "My Fair Lady".
- 40a: Moroccan city (FEZ). Also a hat. Also a great Steely Dan song, with "the". Also a character on "That 70s Show".
- 2d: Camden Yards team (ORIOLES). We've got tix to see the BOSOX (6d: Big Papi's team) at Camden Yards this August, as it happens to coincide (well, okay, we're making it coincide) with dropping the kids at college.
- 10d: Source of widespread devastation (SCOURGE). Great, descriptive word.
- 11d: Innumerable (UMPTEEN). Umpteen is also a great fill word.
- 42d: Middle Eastern salad (TABOULI). Good word; good food.
- 54d: Dollars for quarters (RENT). Clever clue.
- 1a: Expressed excitement (OOHED). I don't particulary mind seeing OOHED in a puzzle, but I prefer something a little meatier in the 1-Across slot.
- 6a: Get a turkey, say (BOWL). A "turkey", in bowling, is three consecutive strikes.
- 10a: Nonstarter (SUB). Not bad, but "Hero" would have made it a food clue.
- 13a: Rage (CRAZE). Okay, I need another opinion on this one. For me, something is a craze, but (all) the rage. I find this bothersome. Is there another usage where they are actually interchangeable?
- 14a: Village Voice award (OBIE). Not to be confused with ODIE ("Garfield" dog) or OPIE (Ron Howard, on "The Andy Griffith Show").
- 15a: Summit (ACME). Got to be careful, because APEX is another common entry that fits.
- 18a: Clue weapon (ROPE). For the record, the weapons in Clue are rope, pipe, wrench, candlestick, knife, and revolver.
- 19a: She directed Tom and Meg in "You've Got Mail" (NORA Ephron).
- 21a: Be tangent to (ABUT). Nice mathy clue.
- 22a: Rap duo ___ & Gipp (ALI). Not to be confused with Ali G of "Da Ali G Show".
- 26a: Big name in agribusiness (John DEERE).
- 28a: Blows up (ENLARGES).
- 30a: Fall flowers (ASTERS).
- 32a: Cancer follower (LEO). This is a clue you won't find in the New York Times, which goes out of its way to avoid any hint of death or disease.
- 33a: En route, in a way (SENT). Check's in the mail.
- 37a: Archipelago part (ISLE). Straightforward clue, but I do like the word archipelago.
- 41a: Gat (HEATER). Mob slang for gun.
- 45a: "Candide," for one (OPERETTA).
- 47a: "Run Runaway" band (SLADE). It took a minute to dredge this song from the foggy depths, and I couldn't recall who did it until I had most of the crossings.
- 49a: Superfecta, e.g. (BET). A crazy bet. You gotta pick the top four finishers in correct order.
- 51a: ___ Paese (Italian cheese) (BEL).
- 55a: Distance runner Budd (ZOLA).
- 56a: Aesir leader (ODIN).
- 59a: Unable to reach a verdict (HUNG). Safe clue. We'll leave it at that.
- 60a: Peddle (VEND).
- 61a: Country album? (ATLAS). Cute.
- 62a: CAFE concern (MPG). Corporate Average Fuel Economy.
- 64a: Ship destroyed in Havana's waters in 1898 (MAINE). "Remember the Maine!" Precursor to the Spanish-American War.
- 1d: It was composed by Calixa Lavallée (O CANADA). Makes sense, in that the name looks Canadian, but if you're like me you're just looking for a (hopefully famous) song name that fits.
- 3d: 2005 Supreme Court nominee Miers (HARRIET). Man, it's hard enough to remember the people who made it onto the Supreme Court. I couldn't pull this name from the quagmire that is my brain. Luckily, the crossings made it an easy guess.
- 4d: 1963 Caldecott Medal winner ___ Jack Keats (EZRA). For the children's classic, "A Snowy Day".
- 7d: Solemn column (OBIT). I prefer clever to rhyming, but okay.
- 8d: They're worth two points in NHL standings (WINS).
- 12d: Sacramento newspaper (BEE). That's kind of obscure outside of Northern California, isn't it?
- 23d: The year that wasn't? (ZERO). Cute.
- 24d: Terry, for example (CLOTH).
- 31d: Pushover (SOFTY).
- 35d: Pig tail? (LET). Cryptic suffix: Piglet.
- 37d: Bicarbonate, e.g. (ION).
- 50d: "Mangia!" (EAT).
- 55d: Sixth Greek letter (ZETA).
- 56d: Measure of reactance (OHM). From Wikipedia:
Reactance is the imaginary part of electrical impedance, a measure of opposition to a sinusoidal alternating current. Reactance arises from the presence of inductance and capacitance within a circuit...Alllllrighty, then...
- 57d: Haploid cells (OVA). Haploid means it has a single set of chromosomes.
- 58d: Hokey player (HAM). Cute play on "hockey player".
Suns of Bitches:
- 23a: Slate-cutting tool (ZAX). According to the Cruciverb database, this word has shown up in the NYS before, but I don't remember it.
- 17d: Johnny Cash's "The Ballad of ___ Hayes" (IRA). I'm not a huge Johnny Cash fan; never heard of this one.
- 43d: Character actor Herb (EDELMAN). He's been a guest star on just about every TV show ever made, but I didn't know him. Of course, I never watched "The Golden Girls", the show for which he is apparently best known. Hey, look, he was Epstein's uncle on "Welcome Back, Kotter".
I thought this puzzle was easier than your typical Thursday. The theme was fine, if not earth-shattering, the fill was decent, and the harder clues were all gettable without guessing. No raves, but no pan either. And if this is a debut puzzle from the Paseros (I don't see them anywhere in the database), then congratulations! Nice first effort.
Thanks for listening.
- Pete M.