THEME: ADDLERS! — letter string "LERS" is added to the first word of familiar two-word phrases, creating wacky phrases, which are clued "?"-style
Usually add-a-letter / add-a-letter-string puzzles have some rationale for the letters involved, like, I don't know, one answer might be "PIN," and part of the clue would tell you that it had something to do with the theme answers (all of which would have had a "P" put "IN" to them in some wacky fashion). I don't know what to do with "LERS." The addition thereof does indeed get some nifty phrases, and changes the meaning (in each case) of the base word to which it is appended, but something about the non-stand-alone quality of "LERS" bugs me a bit.
- 20A: Social butterfly's flower pot? (MING ler's VASE)
- 36A: Breakfast for a cuddly person? (NEST ler's EGG)
- 43A: Adam's tavern? (SAND ler's BAR) — That's actor/comedian Adam SANDLER being referenced there, in case you didn't know.
- 57A: Old West outlaw's accessory? (RUST ler's BELT) — Perhaps my favorite, although none of them is particularly hilarious or otherwise impressive.
Crosswordese 101: ARUM (1A: Jack-in-the-pulpit family) — my first thought on reading this clue was LILY. I tried it. It didn't work. Turns out LILY is its own family (Lilium). Then why did my brain go "LILY?" Well, funny story. There is a plant called the ARUM LILY, about which I just discovered the most interesting fact: "Although called the arum lily, it is neither an arum (the genus Arum) nor a lily (genus Lilium)" (plantzafrica.com). Further, the ARUM LILY is also known as the CALLA LILY — so even its alternative name is still a lie. I hope you found that helpful. As for the actual genus ARUM, the following is from the Columbia Encyclopedia:
The family is characterized by an inflorescence consisting of a single spadix (a fleshy spike bearing small flowers) and a usually showy and flowerlike bract (modified leaf) called a spathe, which surrounds the spadix. The titan arum (Amorphophallus titanum) of Sumatra, which also is grown in a number of botanical gardens, has one of the largest inflorescences of any plant, the spadix reaching a height of 10–15 ft (3–4.6 m) above the ground.In addition to having LILY for ARUM, I had SILT for LIEN (21D: Bank holding), LOREN for AIMEE (32A: "A Man and a Woman" actress), and SINGLER'S BAR (?) for SANDLER'S BAR. And still finished in just over 5. How I can go so fast while making so many mistakes, I don't know.
- 5D: Decrease (BATE) — Oh I don't like this. No, not at all. It's like the decapitated corpse of the right word has come back to haunt the puzzle.
- 44D: Corker (LULU) — I like that LULU (44D: Corker) and BEBE (29D: Neuwirth of "Cheers") get to hang out together today. If only they could have hooked up with COCO Chanel and Lady GAGA (ask your kids) and gone to see the DADA exhibit at the MOMA (damn, that last one doesn't quite work, but it's close).
[See non-acoustic, dance version here]
See you Monday,
Everything Else — 1A: Jack-in-the-pulpit family (ARUM); 5A: __ nova (BOSSA); 10A: Like most radios (AM/FM); 14A: End of a dash (TAPE); 15A: Adidas founder Dassler (ADOLF); 16A: Barrie pirate (SMEE); 17A: Took too much (ODED); 18A: Damage badly (TOTAL); 19A: Gadgets used in drivers' education? (TEES); 20A: Social butterfly's flower pot? (MINGLER'S VASE); 23A: Exodus landmark (SINAI); 24A: Sacred Egyptian symbols (SCARABS); 28A: Puzzle page feature (REBUS); 32A: "A Man and a Woman" actress (AIMEE); 33A: Accent in the pantry? (MSG); 36A: Breakfast for a cuddly person? (NESTLER'S EGG); 39A: Slurpee alternative (ICEE); 41A: What matters (BE-ALL); 42A: End of a lap (KNEE); 43A: Adam's tavern? (SANDLER'S BAR); 46A: Bering, e.g.: Abbr. (STR.); 47A: Nobelist Root (ELIHU); 48A: Keys (ISLES); 50A: Manufacturers' headaches (RECALLS); 53A: Copies, briefly (DUPES); 57A: Old West outlaw's accessory? (RUSTLER'S BELT); 61A: Practice for the main event (SPAR); 64A: Main event venue (ARENA); 65A: Aged wheel? (BRIE); 66A: Mortgage holder's offer, for short (REFI); 67A: Pick-me-up (TONIC); 68A: Artist's pseudonym formed from the French pronunciation of his initials (ERTÉ); 69A: It follows the last Gospel (ACTS); 70A: One in a black suit (SPADE); 71A: Not natural (DYED); 1D: Energy sources (ATOMS); 2D: Spokes, say (RADII); 3D: Southernmost Ivy League sch. (U. PENN.); 4D: Civil rights activist Evers (MEDGAR); 5D: Decrease (BATE); 6D: It might be a clue (ODOR); 7D: Frequent reelers (SOTS); 8D: Serbs and Croats (SLAVS); 9D: Company with fowl-mouthed ads? (AFLAC); 10D: Little star (ASTERISK); 11D: Parisian Mrs. (MME.); 12D: Professional charge (FEE); 13D: Julio, por ejemplo (MES); 21D: Bank holding (LIEN); 22D: German coal region (SAAR); 25D: Answers from a flock (AMENS); 26D: Sire (BEGET); 27D: Rocker Bob with the Silver Bullet Band (SEGER); 29D: Neuwirth of "Cheers" (BEBE); 30D: Consumer (USER); 31D: East German secret police (STASI); 33D: Philanthropist's antithesis (MISER); 34D: Do to do (SCALE); 35D: Photo finish? (GENIC); 37D: Some attys.' degrees (LLBS); 38D: Matmid Frequent Flyer Club airline (EL AL); 40D: "Apollo 13" costar (ED HARRIS); 44D: Corker (LULU); 45D: Sommelier's array (REDS); 49D: Filled in (SUBBED); 51D: Hurdles for seekers of 37-Down (LSATS); 52D: Sharpen (STROP); 54D: Designer Ellis (PERRY); 55D: Cream of the crop (ELITE); 56D: Mount (STEED); 58D: Yakutsk's river (LENA); 59D: City west of Tulsa (ENID); 60D: Beat fast (RACE); 61D: Arg. title (SRA.); 62D: Chest muscle (PEC); 63D: Near the tail (AFT).