Theme: LABBER — Three theme answers follow the pattern [X]LABBER_____.
Hey, everybody — Happy Tuesday. First I just want to say that I'm so psyched to see more people finding this blog every day. We really appreciate you hanging out with us here and hope you leave here both educated and entertained every day. In my experience, crossword people are truly some of the kindest people in the world and it has really meant a lot to me to make so many friends over at Rex's place and to have the opportunity to help build a community over here as well. So thank you! And please keep coming back!
Crosswordese 101: One thing that's really going to come in handy as you solve crossword puzzles is the Greek alphabet. I once made myself flashcards in an attempt to memorize the whole thing but I never did quite get it all the way down pat. I'm not sure which of the Greek letters are most common in puzzles and I'm too lazy to do the research right now, but I'm going to guess that it's the three-letter letters that get most of the love: ETA, RHO, TAU, PHI, CHI, and PSI. I know I've also seen KAPPA, SIGMA, and OMEGA. Sometimes the letters are clued in relation to each other, like today's [Letter after sigma]. Other times, they are clued simply as "Greek" letters or as "Frat" letters or "Campus" letters. SIGMA is also sometimes clued according to its meaning in math (i.e., [Standard deviation symbol]) and ETA is often clued simply as "H." I guess what I'm saying is, it's worth it to learn these letters. They crop up all the time.
- 17A: Astound (FLABBERGAST).
- 39A: Gossipy types (BLABBERMOUTHS).
- 62A: Classic baking powder brand (CLABBER GIRL).
- 11D: Six-pack enhancer? (AB CRUNCH).
- 12D: Open porches (VERANDAS).
- 39D: Large-scale financial rescues (BAILOUTS).
- 40D: Bozo (LUNKHEAD).
- 6A: 44th president (OBAMA). President Obama. I just like the sound of that. President Obama. Makes me smile every time.
- 15A: Rice dish (PILAF). Not to be confused with Edith Piaf.
- 21A: Oater actor Jack (ELAM). "Oater" is a common word in CrossWorld. I think it usually shows up in clues and not answers. I had never heard the term until I started solving puzzles obsess—er ... consistently. (It refers to old Western movies.)
- 26A: Chain known for breakfasts (IHOP). Rex's favorite breakfast spot.
- 32A: "Married ... With Children" dad (AL BUNDY). I didn't ever watch this show regularly, but he's one of those sitcom characters I just know.
- 35A: One hanging around (LOITERER). Ooh. That's a little ugly, but the puzzle has so much going for it that I'm gonna let it pass.
- 54A: "Don't __ me, bro!" (TASE). Do you guys know this story? I had heard the phrase before I knew what it was about. Just Google it up or search for it on YouTube.
- 61A: Saturn SUV (VUE). Never heard of it.
- 66A: Hang in midair (HOVER). PuzzleSon has been talking a lot lately about hover-craft. He totally wants one.
- 67A: Kate's sitcom pal (ALLIE). That was ... ? Jane Curtin and Susan St. James (a/k/a Mrs. McCloud), right?
- 68A: '60s "trip" drug (LSD). I think it's kind of funny that LSD is always clued with reference to the 1960s. It's like, "Oh no! We don't still have that crazy stuff around!"
- 70A: Like really old bread (MOLDY). Ewwwww.
- 1D: Hip-hop record label (DEFJAM). Love it! Let's kick it old skool with one of Def Jam's first releases:
- 6D: Talk's Winfrey (OPRAH). PuzzleGrandma does not like Oprah. I have no idea why.
- 7D: USS Missouri nickname (BIG MO). Never heard of this. It's one of several ships with the name "USS Missouri," this one a BB-63 U.S. Navy Iowa-class battleship. I'm sure that means something to someone.
- 23D: Like "algae" or "termini": Abbr. (PLU). Plural.
- 25D: Uris's "__ 18" (MILA). As much as I see Leon Uris's name in puzzles, I think one day I'll read one of his books. This one actually looks interesting. (It's about the Nazi occupation of Poland.)
- 36D: Canines and molars (TEETH). Sometimes the clue will try to throw you off by only referring to "canines" and making you think "dogs" instead of "teeth." This clue is pretty straightforward, though.
- 37D: Bit of work (ERG). Speaking of old skool. This is one of those words I learned when I was solving crossword puzzles as a kid.
- 42D: "Up, up and away" defunct flier (TWA). Can't think of this slogan without thinking of the Fifth Dimension.
- 47D: Skating gold medalist Dorothy (HAMILL). Raise your hand if you had the haircut.
- 59D: Apothecary's weight (DRAM). It equals about 1.771845 grams. The fluid dram equals 1/8 of a fluid ounce. You were dying to know that.
- 61D: Batman portrayer Kilmer (VAL). Always get him confused with Willem Dafoe for some reason, which is weird because they don't really look anything alike. Dafoe actually looks more like Denis Leary to me. You be the judge.
Everything Else — 1A: Working on, as homework (DOING); 11A: Actress Gardner (AVA); 14A: The blahs (ENNUI); 16A: "Big" London clock (BEN); 19A: Sob (CRY); 20A: Pickle holder (JAR); 22A: "It's a Wonderful Life" director Frank (CAPRA); 24A: Cyclotron particle (ATOM); 28A: Breathing organ (LUNG); 30A: Litter cries (MEWING); 38A: Suffix with web (CAM); 43A: Refined grace (ELEGANCE); 44A: Kate of "The Reader" (WINSLET); 46A: Sarge's order (TENHUT); 50A: "Plop, plop, fizz, fizz" brand word (ALKA); 51A: Hard to recall (HAZY); 55A: "That rings a bell" (OHYES); 58A: Darn with thread (MEND); 60A: Encountered (MET); 65A: __ loss: puzzled (ATA); 69A: 33-Down's field (OPERA); 2D: Airing after midnight, say (ONLATE); 3D: Way to organize all your ducks? (INAROW); 4D: Pencil remnant (NUB); 5D: Scoff at (GIBE); 8D: __ mode (ALA); 9D: Fem.'s opposite (MASC); 10D: Aptly named shaving lotion (AFTA); 13D: "Pick a card, __ card" (ANY); 18D: Qualified (ELIGIBLE); 27D: Italian cheese city (PARMA); 29D: Class with showers (GYM); 31D: Prize founder (NOBEL); 33D: Price known for Verdi roles (LEONTYNE); 34D: "How to Talk Dirty and Influence People" author Lenny (BRUCE); 41D: Revival structure (TENT); 45D: Declare (SAY); 48D: Log-in requirement (USERID); 49D: Lipton rival (TETLEY); 52D: "Waves of grain" color (AMBER); 53D: Striped equine (ZEBRA); 56D: Sound rebound (ECHO); 57D: Porker's dinner (SLOP); 63D: N.Y.'s Fifth, for one (AVE); 64D: Mop & __: floor cleaner (GLO).