Author: Tony Orbach
Theme: Adding ZZ to phrases.
- Blame it on Rio => BLAME IT ON RIZZO (19a: What you might do if you get a dent from someone who slaps your car's hood while crossing the street?). I didn't get this "Midnight Cowboy" reference right away. I need to watch it again.
- Jaywalking => JAZZY WALKING (24a: Cat's means of getting around?). Not your pet cat, but a hep cat. Hey, I DIG! (13a: "Yeah, man!").
- DIY Network => DIZZY NETWORK (47a: Vertiginous association?).
- Freedom fries => FREEDOM FRIZZES (55a: Curly hairstyles that aren't oppressed?). Are "freedom fries" going to stand the test of time? Man, I hope not. It's such a blot on our nation's sensibilities.
This is a very cool theme, with the added benefit of getting lots of Zs into the puzzle.
- 5a: "Stiff Upper Lip" band (AC/DC).
- 9a: Entrepreneur who wrote the autobiography "Grinding It Out" (Ray KROC).
- 14a: Zinger (QUIP).
- 17a: Caterer's dispensers (URNS). TINS, PANS, CANS, URNS, VANS, ... lots of choices here.
- 22a: Grayish yellow (FLAX).
- 31a: West ___ (Williams-Sonoma subsidiary) (ELM). My first instinct here was END, but that wasn't working out.
- 34a: Challenge in Games (MAZE).
- 35a: Where lavalavas are worn (SAMOA).
- 38a: Winter Palace residents (CZARS). Early-week, it's probably TSARS.
- 51a: Fen-___ (PHEN). The daily drug reference, this one a weight-loss pharmaceutical whose maker has been sued for causing heart problems.
- 52a: Red River's county (TAOS).
- 61a: Second baseman Bobby whose #1 was retired by the Red Sox (DOERR). Before my time, but as a Red Sox fan, I certainly know the name.
- 64a: Constellation next to Cepheus (DRACO).
- 68a: Like a hunk (SEXY).
- 2d: Architect Loos (ADOLF). I've probably seen this in puzzles before, as it seemed vaguely familiar.
- 5d: "___ se habla español" (AQUI).
- 10d: Hi Ho lookalike (RITZ).
- 12d: '70s All-Star Ron (CEY).
- 15d: Investment options, for short (T-BILLS).
- 20d: Class struggle? (EXAM).
- 26d: Alphabetically last entry in the Official Scrabble Players Dictionary (ZZZ).
- 29d: Game in which a pitcher doesn't allow any knocks (NO-NO). A no-hitter, in baseball.
- 37d: Sahaptin speakers (NEZ PERCE). This one I had a hard time filling in, as I was trying to parse it as one word.
- 43d: Cry from a damsel out of distress? (MY HERO).
- 48d: "Groundhog Day" nudnik Ryerson (NED). Pretty obscure if you've never seen the film, or only saw it a long time ago. I, however, got it instantly. What does that say about me?
- 49d: Mushrooms also known as velvet stems (ENOKIS).
- 50d: Mirlitons (KAZOOS). Really rough clue, but nice fill.
- 53d: Former Boston Symphony Orchestra conductor (Seiji OZAWA). This was a gimme for me, but I can imagine it might have been a tough fill for some.
- 57d: Cinderella's horses, after midnight (MICE). Great clue.
- 58d: Shampoo brand (FLEX).
Suns of Bitches:
- 16a: ___ Haven (neighborhood in the Bronx) (MOTT). Here's hoping that the transition from New York-centric publication to on-line subscription will reduce the blatant New York bias of clues like this one.
- 44a: "A Little Princess" title character Crewe (SARA).
- 8d: "Strangers and Brothers" author (C.P. SNOW).
- 11d: Lyricist Harbach (OTTO). Again, names kill me.
- 25d: Efron of "High School Musical" (ZAC).
- 33d: Capital of France's Moselle department (METZ).
This was a tough puzzle for me, and I enjoyed every minute of it. Lots of names I didn't know, but nothing I couldn't figure out. Slow, but never stalled. Plenty of scrabbly fill. Some standout clues. Just what I want in a later-week puzzle.
Thanks for listening.
- Pete M.