Author: Samuel A. Donaldson
Theme: Phrases that repeat sets of three letters three times consecutively.
- 20a: Technical problem with Amazon's e-book reader? (KINK IN KINDLE). I was not familiar with Kindle, the book reader. Learn something new every day.
- 27a: Finest feed for horses? (TOP SHELF ALFALFA).
- 47a: Asian city-state's evils? (SINS IN SINGAPORE).
- 54a: Put trust in the Lone Ranger's friend? (COUNT ON TONTO).
I'm pretty sure I've seen a similar theme before, but that's okay. And with the execption of Kindle, for me, all the resulting phrases were solid and smooth.
- 1a: Drinks made with sweetened spiced liquor and eggs (FLIPS). I've never heard of this before, which is surprising for a booze clue.
- 6a: Suggested actions (DOS). As in dos and donts.
- 16a: Usher's beat (AISLE). I like the use of beat here, indicating the place where they patrol.
- 18a: Stamped correspondence (SNAIL MAIL). Snail mail is a great example of a retronym -- a distinguishing term applied to something that didn't used to need distinguishing. In other words, before email came around, you didn't need to say "snail mail"; mail was mail. Other examples: regular coffee, analog watch, rotary telephone, conventional oven, etc.
- 22a: "A Long Time ___" (song from "The Most Happy Fella") (AGO). In a galaxy far, far away?
- 34a: Gin flavoring (SLOE). Is sloe used for anything besides gin? Either way, this and the above FLIPS warrant a booze tag.
- 38a: Do a pole dance, maybe (STRIP). What the heck, we'll add a strippers tag as well.
- 52a: Springfield barkeep Szyslak (MOE). "The Simpsons". You should know this by now.
- 60a: Wine featured in "Sideways" (PINOT NOIR). Funny film. I hear it singlehandedly destroyed the Merlot market for months afterwards.
- 69a: Cape Ann's county (ESSEX). I have a theory that at least 80% of clues that mention a county have the answer ESSEX. And no, I'm not going to do the research necessary to prove or disprove it.
- 1d: Antiaircraft fire (FLAK). FLAK is a cool word. Nice to see the K holding its own without that C crutch helping it out.
- 2d: Song on Creedence Clearwater Revival's "Green River" album (LODI). It's the only CCR song I can name in four letters. If you were alive in the 70s, you've heard this song.
- 7d: Potent beginning? (OMNI). Cryptic prefix clue.
- 8d: Part of a poem (STANZA).
- 9d: Scrub (CALL OFF). That's a great clue.
- 10d: Drink garnish (LIME). More booze-related cluing.
- 12d: "___ Stone" (ABC series) (ELI). Seen the ads.
- 24d: Nancy's friend, in the comics (SLUGGO). Also, comedian Ron White's dog. MATURE CONTENT WARNING: The following clip contains strong language and content of a sexual nature. If you're going to be offended, just skip over it.
- 25d: Less certain (IFFIER). As you know, I'm not a big fan of -ER words. But this one's okay. In fact, I rather like it.
- 27d: Protector of Daddy Warbucks (THE ASP). I feel like I should have known this, but I didn't.
- 28d: Part of the "Survivor" slogan (OUTWIT). "Outwit. Outplay. Outlast." And no, I'm not a big fan.
- 31d: Manhattan Project scientist (FERMI).
- 37d: "Saturn Devouring ___ Son" (Goya painting) (HIS). An elaborate clue for a simple word. And what else would even fit?
- 43d: Dumbo's mouse pal (TIMOTHY). I should have remembered this without any crossings, but I needed a couple to jog my brain.
- 45d: Break for toddlers (NAPTIME). Hey, it's a break for adults, too. Nothing like a good nap.
- 48d: Adjective or adverb, e.g. (NOUN). Very nice.
- 58d: Use a stun gun on (TASE).
- 59d: Fredro Starr's rap group (ONYX). Not my cup o' tea.
Overall, I thought this was a pretty nice Wednesday puzzle. Not too difficult, but enough tricky clues to make it interesting. Good job.
Thanks for listening.
- Pete M.