Author: Scott Atkinson
Theme: Phrases whose first word is a synonym for "nothing".
- 17a: Dick Nixon's nonsweating debate opponent (JACK KENNEDY). I always assumed that "You don't know Jack!" was just a polite and shortened version of "You don't know Jack Shit!", but maybe the latter is a crass enhancement of the former. Any lingual historians out there? Either way, there's a double negative that casts a question over the meaning of the word itself.
- 38a: Letter number (ZIP CODE). Cute clue.
- 57a: Calisthenics exercise (SQUAT THRUST). SQUAT tends to suffer the same double-negative issue that JACK does.
- 11d: Drink before going to bed? (LOVE POTION). LOVE means nothing strictly in a tennis sense, but I LOVE the sexual innuendo of the clue. Plus, it reminds of that great old Searchers song, "Love Potion #9".
- 28d: Tevye portrayer in "Fiddler on the Roof" (ZERO MOSTEL). Classic play and film, and the clearest of all the "nothing" words.
- 26a: "Really? Sez who?" (IZZATSO). This fill makes me smile, and not just for the double Zs it introduces. It's just a great colloquial expression.
- 5a: Television broadcast, e.g. (AIRING). Interest to clue this as a noun, but it works.
- 20a: Vegas gas (NEON). As in neon lights.
- 22a: TV Batman Adam (WEST).
- 23a: Garment worn by dancers under leg warmers (TIGHTS). Also worn by Adam West, as Batman.
- 29a: Nevada gaming mecca (RENO). Home of "Reno 911", one of the funnier TV shows out there, in a sick kind of way.
- 30a: "Gold" producers in "Ulee's Gold" (BEES). Even if you've never seen the movie, ULEE shows up in enough puzzles that you have to be aware of the fact that he's a beekeeper.
- 31a: Ragamuffin (URCHIN).
- 34a: Alaska senator Stevens (TED). I wouldn't know this guy from Adam (WEST or otherwise) if he wasn't routinely lambasted for his antics on "The Daily Show".
- 40a: Road caution (SLO). I just ran into this recently as "School zone caution", and I wasn't crazy about it then either.
- 42a: Fencing blade (FOIL). Raise your hand if you wrote EPEE! 99% of the time you'd be right, but not this time.
- 49a: Competed at Pebble Beach (GOLFED). You don't need to be a golf fanatic to know that Pebble Beach is a golf course.
- 53a: Score conclusion (CODA). Musical score.
- 65a: If you're on it, you're going to hell (STYX). Great clue.
- 6d: Australian swimmer who won golds at the 2000 and 2004
Olympics (IAN THORPE). "The Thorpedo" was the latest swimming sensation before Michael Phelps.
- 18d: Cable-stitch, e.g. (KNIT). As in cable-knit sweaters.
- 24d: Space travelers' garments (G-SUITS). I like the GS- letter combination to start.
- 33d: Compact cooking devices (HOT PLATES).
- 35d: 2007 A.L. Manager of the Year Wedge (ERIC).
- 36d: TV host Carson (DALY). I actually had POTENCE for POTENCY at first, and was trying to figure out who the hell DALE CARSON was. D'oh!
- 38d: Madcap (ZANY). After Syd Barrett left Pink Floyd, he released a couple of whacked-out solo albums. One was entitled "Madcap Laughs".
- 42d: Soft felt hats (FEDORAS).
- 49d: Woodworking tool (GOUGE).
- 52d: One of 6,272,640 in an acre: Abbr. (SQ IN).
- 57d: Moo ___ pork (SHU). I just had some of this the other night. Good stuff.
- 59d: Paris's setting: Abbr. (TEX).
Suns of Bitches:
- 15a: Audrey of "Amélie" (TAUTOU). No clue. 100% crossings, and I've seen the film.
- 52a: "Brave New World" drug (SOMA). I'm sure I've seen this, but I still didn't know it. And I guessed OMAHA for 50d: ___ Steaks (beef brand) because it was the only word that seemed to fit O_AHA. I never really thought about beef having a brand name; I just buy mine at the meat counter of the local supermarket. Nasty crossing for a Monday. There are certainly easier clues for OMAHA.
Overall, I really enjoyed this puzzle. Nice theme for a Monday, and a generally smooth solve with a couple of silly missteps.
Thanks for listening.
- Pete M.