Author: Mark P. Sherwood
Theme: Phrases whose preposition is implied by the relative location of the remaining words.
- 17a: 1953 Ira Levin novel (A KISS DYING). A KISS before DYING.
- 40a: Divided fifty-fifty (HACUTLF). CUT in HALF.
- 66a: 1975 film set at the First Brooklyn Savings Bank (NOON DOG DAY). DOG DAY afterNOON.
- 11d: Phenomenon exhibited by psychokinesis (MIND MATTER). MIND over MATTER.
- 28d: Disappeared, maybe (GROUND WENT). WENT under GROUND.
I've seen themes like this before, and they can be fun. I wasn't expecting the short 40a (cut in half), so that section threw me for a bit, especially crossing SAGUARO, which I'm not at all familiar with and, once I got 40a, was figuring might also be a theme entry. But I'm a big fan of "Dog Day Afternoon"; it's one of my favorite Al Pacino films.
- 1a: Watch winder (STEM).
- 14a: Sitcom with the character Alex Rieger (TAXI). This is the character played by Judd Hirsch. I didn't watch "Taxi" much, so I didn't know this right off. But once I had the trailing "I", it was a pretty easy deduction.
- 16a: Fey of "Baby Mama" (TINA).
- 19a: Bit of hardware (T-NUT).
- 25a: Make a reduction (SIMMER). Great cooking clue.
- 26a/72a: White, in a way (ANGLO and SNOWY, respectively).
- 31a: Sympathy accompanier (TEA). "Tea and Sympathy" was a 50s play and film, starring Deborah Kerr.
- 34a: Eating right? (GEE). Cryptic clue. The rightmost letter in "eating" is 'g'.
- 36a: Bayonet, e.g. (STAB). Using bayonet as a verb here.
- 39a: Pigeon English? (COO). Cute, sort of.
- 51a: Corsetiere's creation (BRA).
- 53a: Nestlé candy sold under the Wonka brand (NERDS).
- 54a: Bums (CADGES).
- 57a: "Help!" is one (OLDIE). You know, I still don't think of Beatles tunes as "oldies". I guess it's all perspective. "Hey, Ringo, you just sit there and hold this umbrella..."
- 65a: "Between the Lines" author Hershiser (OREL). Name a Hershiser. I guess some baseball players can read and write.
- 68a: ___ Reader (alternative media bimonthly) (UTNE). I only know this from puzzles.
- 70a: 1997 film title character surnamed Jackson (ULEE). Of "Ulee's Gold".
- 71a: Body art, for short (TATS). Not all body art involves tattoos. There's painting, too. Here is one of my favorites, from Storm Thorgerson, who is responsible for many of the great album artwork for Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, Alan Parson, Peter Gabriel, and others. Here's one of his posters, entitled "Pink Floyd - Back Catalog". Fantastic! I highly recommend checking out his site.
- 1d: Hind's counterpart (STAG). A hind is a female deer.
- 2d: Third base coach's sign when the count is 3-0, typically (TAKE). For those not into baseball, "taking" a pitch means having no intention of swinging at it, even if it's right down the middle.
- 4d: ___ Command ('80s arcade game) (MISSILE). Fun, classic game, though I was never all that good at it.
- 5d: Nasser contemporary (Anwar SADAT).
- 6d: Loser to Affirmed in all three Triple Crown races (ALYDAR). For some reason, I remember this. I can't imagine why.
- 7d: Male monarque (ROI). French for king.
- 8d: Big biceps, familiarly (GUNS).
- 10d: Once in a while (AT TIMES).
- 13d: Mythical hybrid (SATYR). Part man, part goat, the satyr symbolizes man's unquenchable libido. Here's a great painting, entitled "Nymphs and Satyr", by William-Adolphe Bouguereau.
- 18d: Glabrous (SMOOTH). This sounds like one of those made-up words in Lewis Carroll's "Jabberwocky", like frumious and frabjous.
- 22d: "21" sch. (MIT). Referencing the film about MIT students who work out a system to beat the casinos at blackjack.
- 38d: "What You Want wid ___?" (Gershwin tune) (BESS). From, of course, "Porgy and Bess".
- 41d: Middle ear? (COB). This is really pushing it. Okay, so the cob is in the middle of an ear of corn. Get it? Middle ear? Ugh!
- 42d: Over (FINITO).
- 45d: Speedo product (GOGGLES). Banana-hammock didn't fit.
- 55d: It comes from the heart (AORTA).
- 56d: "Sinatra at the ___" (1966 album) (SANDS).
- 58d: Paw (DADDY). Yeah, it's late in the week enough to get away with this. Tricky clue, especially in New England where parents are never referred to as maw and paw.
- 60d: Bookbinding leather (ROAN).
- 62d: Pal of Palin (IDLE). Michael Palin and Eric Idle being key members of the Monty Python crew.
- 63d: Renfrew refusals (NAES). Renfrew is a Scottish town, west of Glascow.
- 64d: Peer group? (EYES).
- 67d: Cagayan de ___ (provincial capital of the Philippines) (ORO). In three letters, there weren't that many viable options.
Suns of Bitches:
- 10a: "House of Meetings" novelist Martin (AMIS).
- 12d: Toughen (INURE).
- 46a: 1988 remake directed by the creators of Max Headroom (DOA). Another one I didn't know, exacerbating that tough center section. Do you realize how many viable movie titles fit the pattern DO_?
- 73a: "Murder by Death" character Skeffington (TESS).
- 24d: Arizona license plate image (SAGUARO).
I had AMES/ENURE here, which seems like a much more logical guess if you don't know the novelist, which I don't. This is actually worse than your standard "guess-the-vowel" cross, since ENURE is clearly an acceptable answer for 12d, so I didn't even consider this a guess when I filled it in.
So, except for SAGUARO and the AMIS/INURE crossing, I liked this puzzle quite a bit. It was plenty challenging for me (~20 minutes), especially that center section.
Thanks for listening.
- Pete M.