Author: Joon Pahk
Theme: Chemical symbol rebus, with PB (lead) in the across answers becoming AU (gold) in the down answers.
- Pretransmutation answers:
17a: Expressions of contempt (RASPBERRIES). That's the noise, also called a Bronx cheer, not the fruit.
- 25a: Raising support? (PUSH-UP BRA). A very perky theme answer.
- 51a: Chief (TOP BANANA).
- 60a: #1 hit of February 2003 (BUMP BUMP BUMP). By B2K, with P. Diddy.
I love the way you teasin me
But u gotta start pleasin me
- 36a: Theme of this puzzle (ALCHEMY).
- 11d: Place to find lifeless celebs (TUSSAUDS). Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum, that is.
- 18d: Difficult and unpleasant (AUGEAN). Like cleaning a horse stable that hasn't been cleaned in 30 years. Literally. This was one of Hercules's tasks.
- 40d: Someone with whom you might share a spine (CO-AUTHOR). Great clue.
- 43d: Gastineau Channel city (JUNEAU).
- 57d: Lugs (HAULS).
The transmutation indicator:
A very nice Friday theme from our own Joon Pahk. I struggled to get going on this one, and rightly suspected some rebus action early on. But it wasn't until I figured out PUSH-UP BRA that it all clicked.
- 12d: Be a willing participant? (INHERIT). I really liked this clue, even though I knew what they were getting at. I wanted WITNESS at first.
- 26d: "Reply ___, try again" (Magic 8 Ball message) (HAZY). Knew this right away, but love the Magic 8 Ball clue.
- 34d: Copper quarry? (PERP). PERP was actually my first instinct, but it was a while before I could get it to work.
- 44d: Down (IN A FUNK). Great phrase.
- 46d: Sank to the bottom? (SAT). Love this clue. Had me fooled until I finally parsed it as "Sank to one's bottom".
- 4a: Lava, sometimes (EJECTA). Cool word.
- 10a: The clink (STIR). Jail. Prison. The farm.
- 15a: Russian retreats (DACHAS).
- 16a: Squid eater (TUNA). I guessed ORCA first, which slowed this section down a bit.
- 21a: The munchies, for example (URGE). Indirect drug reference, as the urge is typically associated with smoking marijuana.
- 30a: Restaurant in Manhattan's theater district famous for the caricatures on its walls (SARDI'S). Never been, but I know of it.
- 32a: Lambeau ___ (Packers celebration) (LEAP).
- 35a: Citrus preparations (ZESTS). Doesn't take much preparation to make zest. You just scrape it off the rind.
- 42a: Brand of corn syrup (KARO). One of the first gimmes I found.
- 47a: 2004 film with the tagline "One man saw it coming" (I ROBOT).
- 49a: Aunt of Harry Potter (PETUNIA). I couldn't remember it until I got the P, then it clicked.
- 54a: Letter (TENANT). One who lets (leases) an apartment.
- 58a: Banking option, briefly (REFI). Refinancing.
- 59a: Repeated phrase in Kurt Vonnegut's "Slapstick" (HIHO).
- 65a: Not only that but also (NAY).
- 66a: "___ Christianity" (C.S. Lewis work) (MERE).
- 68a: Carrier to Schiphol (KLM). I knew was going to be either KLM or SAS.
- 4d: Utopian (EDENIC). Of Eden. Weird word, though.
- 5d: Be out of harmony (JAR).
- 6d: Like some hosiery (ECRU). The first gimme of the puzzle.
- 23d: West Coast baseball team's scoreboard abbr. (LAA). The Los Angeles Angles of Anaheim.
- 29d: Collection of suits? (DECK). Of playing cards.
- 33d: Epiphany follower (AHA). No church season here. Great clue.
- 38d: Drupe throwaway (PIT). Drupes are fleshy fruits like peaches.
- 39d: Wearing (EROSIVE). Went ERODING to EROSION to EROSIVE.
- 41d: Kelp eater (ABALONE).
- 48d: Character in "Henry VI, Part I" (TALBOT).
- 52d: Introduction to science? (NEURO). Cryptic prefix.
- 59d: West ___ United (English soccer team) (HAM). I don't watch soccer at all, but I knew this right away. I think it must be from old Monty Python's Flying Circus skits.
- 62d: Title character in a Poe novel (PYM). Shows up often enough, I should remember it more readily that I do.
Suns of Bitches:
Lot's of stuff I didn't know, but everything was gettable from crossings. Here are the complete unknowns for me:
- 22a: Cashmere clothing brand (TSE).
- 8d: City in South Korea near Pusan (TAEGU).
Nice theme and challenge from Joon. Didn't fall terribly quickly, but it broke open steadily and didn't seem unfair at any point. Just right for a Friday.
Thanks for listening.
- Pete M.