Hey, everybody. PuzzleGirl here, happy to be back with you for your Tuesday Puzzly Goodness. I believe this is the first Gail Grabowski puzzle we've blogged and it's a competent effort with a theme that doesn't exactly sparkle, but it's solid nonetheless. Perfect for a Tuesday.
Crosswordese 101: There are two four-letter Mideastern locations that turn up a lot in crosswords. Today's puzzle includes ADEN (10D: Mideast port on its own gulf). Now this is interesting. I have always confused ADEN and OMAN, knowing nothing more about them than that they are roughly in the same part of the world. As it turns out, however, OMAN is a country and ADEN is a city. Some of you are probably saying to yourselves, "There goes PuzzleGirl again, admitting her ignorance right out loud to everyone on the Internet," and it's true. I am. I would hate for you to think that I'm some know-it-all snooty person who always finishes every puzzle and knows exactly what she's doing. Because when you have trouble with stuff in the puzzle, I don't want you to feel stupid. I want you to think, "You know what? I didn't know that. And I'm not ashamed to admit it. Why PuzzleGirl does a lot of puzzles and has a blog and everything! And sometimes she doesn't know things." So there. That's why I do it. You're welcome. So, about ADEN and OMAN. Oman is a country and these facts will help you figure out if it's the right answer to a given clue: (1) it's next to Yemen and Saudi Arabia, (2) it was a U.S. ally in the Gulf War, (3) it's a sultanate, and (4) its capital is Muscat. ADEN, on the other hand, (1) is a city in Yemen, (2) used to be the capital of Yemen, and (3) is a port located on a gulf of the same name. There. Now you know everything you need to know about OMAN and ADEN. For crossword puzzles. There are probably many, many more things to know about them in real life.
- 20A: Nearby, on a country road (AROUND THE BEND). In my head, I'm seeing a scene from "Sports Night" where Dana Whitaker keeps saying (with strict enunciation, wide eyes, and a circular hand gesture), "He's gone 'round the bend."
- 39A: Is completely uninformed (DOESN'T KNOW SQUAT). That's a nice colorful entry!
- 60A: Row house porch (CONCRETE STOOP).
- 15A: Firenze farewell (CIAO). Italian!
- 16A: Signs of decay (ODORS). Ewww.
- 25A: Sonoma Valley container (VAT). Wine country.
- 38A: Countesses' spouses (EARLS). Seems like it should be count, right? But no.
- 54A: Super-duper (A-ONE). I'd love to know if any of you ever use this term. It sounds snooty to me. So obviously I never use it. Because I'm not snooty. As we previously established.
- 72A: Office fill-in (TEMP). I'm a little surprised that there's no indication that this word is a short form. I guess it's a word all on its own now.
- 3D: Talked a blue streak (RAN ON). I used to think this phrase had something to do with cursing (because of the word blue?), but it just means to talk on and on.
- 7D: Dash devices (TACHS). See now, here the shortened dash (for dashboard) indicates the shortened answer of TACH (for tachometer).
- 9D: Precedes (FOREGOES). Totally different than forgoes, which means "to do without." Well, totally different except that sometimes they're spelled the same.
- 12D: Before, of yore (ERE). ERE is an old-fashioned way of saying before. You'll see it in poetry.
- 13D: Old fast plane: Abbr. (SST). Supersonic transport. The Concorde was one.
- 21D: Abbr. for people with only two names (NMI). No Middle Initial. I always wonder how people with more than one middle name handle those stupid forms. For most of my life I went by my first initial and middle name. Man oh man, the DMV computer has No Idea what to do with that. According to today's New York Times, things are even worse over in China.
- 35D: "Catch a Falling Star" singer (PERRY COMO). With only the E in place I wanted to fit Celine Dion here. Too many letters.
- 48D: Comfy footwear (MOC). Short for moccasin.
- 51D: Record collector's platters (LPS). Back in the old days we had these vinyl disks called "records" that we would put on this spinning thing called a "turntable" that was hooked up to speakers and would generate music. You kids don't even understand any of this, I'm sure. It was the good old days! Well, records were different sizes. An LP (which stands for Long Play) was 10–12 inches in diameter and would spin on the turntable at 33-1/3 rotations per minute. Remember the movie sequel "Naked Gun 33-1/3"? You didn't know what those numbers meant did you, you whippersnapper? Now, get off my lawn!
Everything Else — 5A: Letter-routing letters (ATTN); 9A: Confronts (FACES); 14A: A long way off (AFAR); 17A: "The Flintstones" pet (DINO); 18A: Ruler division (INCH); 19A: Find a new tenant for (RELET); 23A: When prime time ends in Middle Amer. (TENPM); 24A: Counterfeit coin (SLUG); 28A: Irish homeland (EIRE); 31A: Mug shot view (PROFILE); 33A: Electrical unit, briefly (AMP); 36A: Malty brew (ALE); 44A: Impressive grouping (ARRAY); 46A: Inclined to avoid the spotlight (SHY); 47A: "Heavens!" (MERCYME); 50A: Snitched (TOLD); 53A: Sneaky (SLY); 56A: Deputized group (POSSE); 64A: Frighten, as horses (SPOOK); 66A: Field of expertise (AREA); 67A: Memo phrase (INRE); 68A: Arizona State's city (TEMPE); 69A: Docking site (PIER); 70A: Chess ending (MATE); 71A: Nonpoetic writing (PROSE); 73A: Prominent periods (ERAS); 1D: Angry with (MADAT); 2D: In flames (AFIRE); 4D: Theatrical travelers (TROUPE); 5D: Corrosive compound (ACID); 6D: Windshield glare reducer (TINT); 8D: Useless (NOHELP); 10D: Mideast port on its own gulf (ADEN); 11D: Cause of coughs and sniffles (COLDVIRUS); 22D: Prickly case (BUR); 26D: Islam's God (ALLAH); 27D: In a foul mood (TESTY); 29D: Snitch (RAT); 30D: Moose relative (ELK); 32D: Web site help sect. (FAQ); 33D: Second or sixth president (ADAMS); 34D: Gourmet mushroom (MOREL); 37D: Call a halt to (END); 40D: Cul-de-__ (SAC); 42D: Not at home (OUT); 43D: One of a reporter's five W's (WHO); 49D: Spellbound (ENRAPT); 52D: Serve a sentence (DOTIME); 55D: Chill-inducing (EERIE); 57D: Salvage ship equipment (SONAR); 58D: A bit, informally (SORTA); 59D: Fencing swords (EPEES); 61D: Butterfingers' cry (OOPS); 62D: Abound (with) (TEEM); 63D: Memorable Old West lawman (EARP); 64D: NASCAR advertiser (STP); 65D: As __ instructions (PER).