Theme: Themes "R" Us — Theme answers are two-word phrases, the first of which is the same as the second except for an R added after its first letter.
Crosswordese 101: I think I'll go with LEI (16A: Wahine's gift) for today's word. Unless you live in Hawaii, I have to think this word doesn't come up much in your day-to-day conversations. It can be clued many ways from the straightforward "Floral necklace" to the super tricky "Island chain." Early in the week that tricky clue will have a question mark, but in the more difficult puzzles it might not. What you want to watch out for are words like chain, ring, wreath, loop, hoop ... basically anything round. If it's three letters, one of those "round" words is in the clue, and there's anything remotely Hawaiian about the rest of clue, you should be thinking LEI.
Good morning, everyone! PuzzleGirl here taking you through the early-week puzzles. I like the early-week puzzles because I can, ya know, finish them. Sometimes even fast, although I'm aware that's not always the point. I had a Very productive day today, most of which was spent helping PuzzleSon clean his room. And I don't just mean "clean" his room — I mean CLEAN his room. Like going through everything and deciding what to throw out, which is never his favorite activity. The boy does not like change. Can't imagine where he gets that from! Anyway, it was awesome, because he was actually kind of into it. I guess he's maturing. Oh, and then I cut his hair! HA! It was his idea! I guess he forgot the story of how his dad ended up looking like a military guy after asking me to cut his hair early in our relationship and I was ... not very adept with the clippers. He ended up just leaving his hair that way though — it's still the same 10+ years later. Anyway, PuzzleSon's hair turned out okay. I think. I guess we'll find out tomorrow when he goes back to school.
The puzzle! We're here to talk about the puzzle!
- 17A: 11:00 a.m. restaurant patrons? (BRUNCH BUNCH).
- 29A: Fraternity nerd? (GREEK GEEK).
- 39A: Advice from the auto club? (TRIP TIP).
- 48A: Whimsical Barbie? (DROLL DOLL).
- 63A: Quite small-minded? (PRETTY PETTY).
- 23A: Caboose's place (REAR); 36A: Caboose's place (END).
- 37A: Deadlocked (EVEN); 52A: Deadlocked (TIED).
- 14A: Fancy calligraphy strokes (SERIFS). Typography Nerd Alert!: When I started putting together the format for this blog, Rex and I actually something of a heated exchange about whether we should use a font with serifs or not. Rex's argument was, basically, that "serif fonts look better," and my view was based on my not-particularly-extensive research on web design, specifically how various fonts are rendered under the multitude of possible (and unknowable) monitor and browser configurations including, but not limited to, size, operating system, presence of Microsoft ClearType (an implementation of subpixel rendering technology) ... What? You're eyes are glazing over? Sorry about that. And don't get me started on Comic Sans.
- 21A: Em and Bee (AUNTS). Aunt Em is Dorothy's aunt in "The Wizard of Oz" and Aunt Bee is from "Mayberry R.F.D." Is she actually somebody's aunt or is that just what they call her? I really don't know. Oh hey, guess who else is an aunt (again)? PuzzleGirl! PuzzleSister-in-Law had daughter #2 yesterday afternoon. My mother-in-law called about an hour later and I'm all, "Yeah. I saw it all on Facebook already."
- 53A: Fed. workplace watchdog (OSHA). This was a gimme for you today, right?
- 66A: Seasoned salt? (TAR). Ooh, I'm guessing this one gave some of you trouble. Both salt and tar are synonyms of sailor. So a "Seasoned (i.e., experienced) salt (i.e., sailor)" might be called a "tar."
- 68A: Organ knob (STOP). The knob referred to here controls whether pressurized air is admitted to a certain pipe of the organ. In the picture, you can see half of this organ's more than 400 stops. When all the stops are "pulled out," the organ is Very Loud, and this somehow morphed into the idea of using all available resources (i.e., "pulling out all the stops").
- 70A: Like dirt roads after rain (MUDDY).
- 5D: __ Jackson: rapper Ice Cube's birth name (O'SHEA). I did not know that.
- 6D: Jean of "Saint Joan" (SEBERG). Hadn't heard of her before. She was originally from Iowa and led a pretty tumultuous life, which ended in suicide at age 40. Sad.
- 9D: Org. with Patriots and Jets (AFC). I always want this to be NFL. I mean, that should be enough, right? Same with the baseball divisions. I have No Idea which teams are in the American League and which are in the National League. If someone knows an easy way to learn and remember this useful tidbit, I would be grateful.
- 15D: Predatory lender (SHARK). Is there any other kind?
- 24D: Out of shape? (BENT). The question mark indicates that you shouldn't be thinking about the common interpretation of "out of shape" (i.e., health) but instead think literally about a shape.
- 27D: Angler's boot (WADER). Hi, Wader!
- 44D: Crunchy sandwiches (BLTS). Mmmmmmmm, bacon!
- 58D: It may be ear-piercing (STUD). I haven't decided if this is "cute" or "too cute."
- 65D: Flightless big bird (EMU). Anybody remember the Hudson Brothers Razzle Dazzle Show? They had a whole emu schtick that I recall was very funny. When I was, like, ten.
Everything Else — 1A: E-junk (SPAM); 5A: Honshu port (OSAKA); 10A: No.-crunching pro (CPA); 13A: Shakespearean betrayer (IAGO); 19A: The whole enchilada (ALL); 20A: Ocean color (SEAGREEN); 24A: "I'm fuh-reezing!" (BRRR); 26A: Held title to (OWNED); 34A: Ace the exam (NAILIT); 38A: Banned bug killer (DDT); 42A: Ginger __ (ALE); 43A: Noun follower, often (VERB); 45A: Big oaf (APE); 46A: Crocodile hunter of film (DUNDEE); 51A: Future sunflowers (SEEDS); 55A: Military bigwigs (BRASS); 58A: Answer (SOLUTION); 62A: "__ said it!" (YOU); 67A: Patriot Adams (SAMUEL); 69A: The sixties, for one (ERA); 71A: Pigeon-__ (TOED); 1D: Bro and sis (SIBS); 2D: Downsize (PARE); 3D: Juanita's water (AGUA); 4D: Mutt (MONGREL); 7D: Make __ for it (ARUN); 8D: Relatives (KIN); 10D: Extended family (CLAN); 11D: Animal hide (PELT); 12D: Has a bug (AILS); 22D: Egg on (URGE); 25D: Made over (REDID); 26D: Like most movie rentals (ONDVD); 28D: Explosive stuff, briefly (NITRO); 31D: Sidestep (EVADE); 32D: Went sniggling (EELED); 33D: Patched pants parts (KNEES); 35D: Livelihood (TRADE); 40D: Product with earbuds (IPOD); 41D: Upper body strengthener (PUSHUP); 47D: Most spiffy (NEATEST); 49D: Speaks like Daffy (LISPS); 50D: Plundered (LOOTED); 54D: In a furtive way (SLYLY); 55D: Mega- or giga- ending (BYTE); 56D: Lion's warning (ROAR); 57D: Mystique (AURA); 59D: "Leave __ me" (ITTO); 64D: It's used for battering (RAM).