THEME: "R and B" (55D: Music genre suitable for this puzzle's theme) — four theme answers are all two-word phrases where the first word starts with "R" and the second with "B"
Weirdly thin theme today — actually took me a couple of seconds at the end of the puzzle to find the short theme answers (8 letters long each). Weirdly (again) all the theme answers are edible / potable, though the theme itself, "R &B," has nothing to do with food or drink. None of the theme answers are very interesting. The word I associate with BRISKET is "beef," not ROAST. In fact, a ROAST is a "beef" dish in its own right. Not that I know much about it — I mostly don't eat meat — but the phrase feels ... if not inaccurate, then just off.
- 22A: Pastrami sandwich choice (rye bread)
- 27A: Mexican side dish (refried beans)
- 48A: Beef for a Sunday dinner (roast brisket)
- 56A: Float soft drink (root beer) — Love it. When I drink it, I prefer Boylan brand root beer. Dear Boylan, please feel free to send me a crate of your ROOT BEER in appreciation for this free plug.
I had a couple of trouble spots today, most notably the parallel craziness of KENNER (4D: Original Easy-Bake Oven toy company) and ZOEY (21D: "_____ 101": Emmy-nominated Nickelodeon sitcom). I remember the Easy-Bake Oven, but not KENNER. As for ZOEY ... she really needs to learn to spell her name. I had ZOE ... and considered "ZOE'S 101" — ??? If you google "ZOEY," this show is the first thing that comes up. Not a common spelling, I gather. I also had a hiccup at 23D: Newborn (BABY), where I wrote in "BABE" (the phrase "newborn babe" sounded right) and then caught myself looking at some company I've never heard of starting EAH ... EAHOO!? Oh, right, YAHOO. And thus BABY.
Crosswordese 101: ATARI (54D: Video game pioneer) — one of the most common five-letter words in all of CrossWorld due to its high percentage of vowels and its exceedingly desirable terminal "I." When I was a kid, there were two major gaming systems: ATARI and Intellivision. We had the latter, which was supposed to be more sophisticated or something. I have no idea. All I know is that I wore that machine out. First game I ever played (Christmas morning, either 1978 or 1979) was Intellivision Baseball. Super-pixelated men running around in a completely unlifelike manner, and I Loved it. We would play Intellivision games well into the mid-80s (I liked the Winter Olympics game, and my sister was particularly fond of something called "Lock 'n' Chase"). Anyhoo, ATARI. Yeah. It's everywhere.
- 45A: Granddaddy of digital computers (ENIAC) — Man, "granddaddy" looks crazy written outlike that. So many "D"s....
- 6D: Bonanza rock (ORE) — Not a dance they did on "Bonanza."
- 53D: Peter, pumpkinwise (EATER) — By far my favorite clue of this, or any, Monday.
- 64D: Part of MP: Abbr. (MIL) — Oh, Military Police. I was thinking of Minister of Parliament and therefore had MIN here for a bit.
Everything Else — 1A: Fastener pressed with a thumb (TACK); 5A: Be successful (GO FAR); 10A: Five-star general Bradley (OMAR); 14A: Had on (WORE); 15A: Cara of "Fame" (IRENE); 16A: Flower holder (VASE); 17A: Monopoly token (IRON); 18A: Enjoys a novel (READS); 19A: Lake not far from Niagara Falls (ERIE); 20A: Poem division (STANZA); 22A: Pastrami sandwich choice (RYE BREAD); 24A: Rise from the runway (TAKE OFF); 26A: Yeah's opposite (NAH); 27A: Mexican side dish (REFRIED BEANS); 33A: Revolutionary Guevara (CHE); 36A: Long (for) (YEARN); 37A: Internet giant that recently fought Microsoft's hostile takeover attempt (YAHOO); 38A: 50% (HALF); 40A: Trivial, as talk (SMALL); 42A: Four-legged Oz traveler (TOTO); 43A: New York's __ Island (ELLIS); 45A: Granddaddy of digital computers (ENIAC); 47A: Strong desire (YEN); 48A: Beef for a Sunday dinner (ROAST BRISKET); 51A: Ben-__ (HUR); 52A: Like decades (TEN-YEAR); 56A: Float soft drink (ROOT BEER); 61A: Layers (STRATA); 62A: Gumbo vegetable (OKRA); 63A: Model Campbell (NAOMI); 65A: __ angle: obliquely (AT AN); 66A: Jai __ (ALAI); 67A: Sci-fi robot (DROID); 68A: Unlikely class president (NERD); 69A: Teen hangout (MALL); 70A: Joint above the foot (ANKLE); 71A: Chicago daily, familiarly (TRIB); 1D: Chubby Checker's dance craze (TWIST); 2D: Major artery (AORTA); 3D: Toad's sound (CROAK); 4D: Original Easy-Bake Oven toy company (KENNER); 5D: Tallest animals (GIRAFFES); 6D: Bonanza rock (ORE); 7D: Phobia (FEAR); 8D: Artist Warhol (ANDY); 9D: Transmit again (RESEND); 10D: Break down due to lack of coolant, as an auto (OVERHEAT); 11D: Stallion's mate (MARE); 12D: Most of Turkey is in it (ASIA); 13D: Film critic Rex (REED); 21D: "__ 101": Emmy-nominated Nickelodeon sitcom (ZOEY); 23D: Newborn (BABY); 25D: Drafter of the Constitution, e.g. (FRAMER); 28D: Persian, today (IRANI); 29D: Sign up (ENLIST); 30D: Sailor's cry (AHOY); 31D: Brief bit of correspondence (NOTE); 32D: Before long (SOON); 33D: Sonny's singing partner (CHER); 34D: Angel's ring (HALO); 35D: Fitzgerald of jazz (ELLA); 39D: Skid, as a car's rear end (FISHTAIL); 41D: Summer cottage site (LAKESIDE); 44D: Ticket tear-off (STUB); 46D: Part of a dollar (CENT); 49D: Country singer __ Lee (BRENDA); 50D: Despot (TYRANT); 53D: Peter, pumpkinwise (EATER); 54D: Video game pioneer (ATARI); 55D: Music genre suitable for this puzzle's theme (R AND B); 56D: Go here and there (ROAM); 57D: Neighbor of Tex. (OKLA); 58D: Kind of agreement (ORAL); 59D: Merit (EARN); 60D: Corner chess piece (ROOK); 64D: Part of MP: Abbr. (MIL).