Theme: "Mothers of Invention" — Theme answers are familiar phrases clued as if they are related to inventors and their inventions.
Crosswordese 101: There are two contemporary actors that can often help you get a foothold if you're having some trouble, and they both appear in today's puzzle. I am, of course, referring to ESAI Morales and Omar EPPS. They are almost always clued the same way they are here: 95A: Actor Morales and 120A: Omar of "House," respectively. Morales will occasionally be clued by referencing his roles in "NYPD Blue" and "La Bamba." EPPS also appeared in "Scream 2" and 1999's "The Mod Squad."
I don't know. I liked this puzzle, but the theme was a little bland for me. I actually appreciate the puzzle's timely title more than I appreciate the theme. Maybe I'm just stressed from being home with StrepGirl the last few days (and listening to her cough in her sleep right now — is there anything worse?). Also, PuzzleHusband has been working way too many hours for the past ten days or so which means I'm not getting a lot of help around here. That tends to make me cranky for some reason. So maybe it's just me. I don't know. What do you think?
- 23A: When Harriet Farnam invented her "Non-Swarmer" beehive, she __ (GOT A HONEY OF A DEAL).
- 44A: When Mary Walton invented sound dampers for elevated railways, she __ (TOOK THE HIGH ROAD).
- 64A: When Amanda Jones invented the automatic safety oil burner, she __ (WASN'T JUST BLOWING SMOKE).
- 87A: When Ruth Wakefield invented the chocolate-chip cookie, she __ (SWEETENED THE POT).
- 112A: When Ida Hyde invented the intracellular microelectrode, she __ (CAUSED A SENSATION).
- 16D: When Hedy Lamarr co-invented a radio-frequency encryption system, she __ (MADE WAVES).
- 78D: When Josephine Cochrane invented the dishwasher, she __ (CLEANED UP).
- 15A: Pianist Gilels (EMIL). A Soviet pianist who died in 1985 just before his 69th birthday. Sometimes is name is transliterated Hilels. Never heard of him.
- 28A: Small Welsh river boats (CORACLES). Looked it up on Wikipedia and found out it's a "small, lightweight boat used mainly in Wales." Alrighty then.
- 33A: '50s Reds slugger, familiarly (KLU). Ted Kluszewski. I'm sure I've seen him in a puzzle before, but would never have come up with his name without the crosses.
- 80A: Opera conductor Daniel (OREN). An Israeli conductor and a protégé of Leonard Bernstein.
- 118A: Bop (CONK). They both mean, basically, "to hit." I guess I've heard both words used in that way, but it wasn't coming for me tonight.
- 40D: Violinist Mintz (SHLOMO). An Israeli violinist and conductor.
- 69D: "__ Time": '70s musical (ONE MO'). Doesn't even have a Wikipedia page, so I don't feel so bad about not knowing it.
- 90D: Possession (HANDS). I don't understand what this means. I'm sure one of you will be kind enough to explain it in the comments.
- 6A: Doling out mil. rations (ON K.P.). Apparently depending on the branch of the military, this is military-speak for "Kitchen Patrol" or "Kitchen Police."
- 10A: Jacket material? (BLURB). As in a book jacket.
- 26A: Wedding pair (I DOS). Each of the two parties says "I do," so that makes a pair of them.
- 39A: Saint called the founder of Scholasticism (ANSELM). Only got this because I've seen it in puzzles before. This is Anselm of Canterbury, who originated the argument that if we can conceive of God, he must exist.
- 58A: Parisian passes (NONS). No (English) = non (French).
- 59A: Popular cups (REESE'S). If you ever find yourself in the unlikely position of needing to get me a present, I will just say right now that you can never go wrong with chocolate and peanut butter.
- 73A: 130-lb.-plus ref. (OED). The Oxford English Dictionary.
- 74A: Verified (TRUE). This is the old you-think-it's-a-verb-but-it's-really-an-adjective trick. You always need to watch out for that one.
- 98A: Tach readout (RPM). The shortened word in the clue, tach(ometer) indicates that the answer will be an abbreviation, R(evolutions) P(er) M(inute).
- 110A: K-12 (EL-HI). Short for elementary through high school. I've seen this word a lot in puzzles over the last year or so, but never heard it in real life. You can complain about it if you want, but apparently it is commonly used in the publishing industry, so you might as well just learn it and call it good.
- 123A: They're often bored (HOLES). Bore as in "pierce" not as in "boredom."
- 4D: Free-for-all (BRAWL).
- 6D: Klutz's cry ("OH NO!"). Raise your hand if you first entered Uh-oh.
- 12D: A, in Arles (UNE). More French!
- 14D: AA co-founder (BILL W.). Bill Wilson. Ya know what else fits here? Bob Smith, the other co-founder. These two guys are actually pretty interesting. They created this amazing organization out of thin air and were apparently complete opposites personality-wise. It's said that if Bill Wilson alone had been in charge in the beginning, AA would now have franchises around the world like McDonald's. And if Dr. Bob had tried to do it by himself, AA never would have made it out of Akron.
- 15D: Revisionist? (EDITOR). One who makes revisions.
- 32D: Poses (ASKS). I wanted sits here.
- 34D: Modern journals (BLOGS). Yee-haw.
- 45D: Pen pal chatter? (OINKS). Pig pens, that is.
- 58D: Silents star Nita (NALDI). Learned it from crosswords.
- 63D: Social rumblings (UNRESTS). Ouch.
- 67D: Suspect (BE ONTO). This is a variation of the trick we talked about earlier, but this one is called the old you-think-it's-a-noun-but-it's-really-a-verb trick.
- 76D: Md. athlete (TERP). Go Terrapins!
- 77D: Trusted (IN THE LOOP). I don't think of trustworthiness as the key feature of someone in the loop. I would have clued this "Aware."
- 79D: Line at the Old Vic (QUEUE). The Old Vic is a theatre in London. And in London they call their lines QUEUEs.
- 84D: Camper's aid (KNAPSACK). What's the difference between a backpack, a knapsack, and a rucksack?
- 93D: Common Market inits. (EEC). European Economic Community.
- 113D: Jr. Olympic Games sponsor (AAU). The U.S. Amateur Athletic Union.
PuzzleMom, and PuzzleGrandma in 2001.]
Everything Else — 1A: "West Side Story" dance (MAMBO); 19A: Nirvana #1 album "In __" (UTERO); 20A: Consider in court (HEAR); 21A: "Amazing" magician (RANDI); 22A: Chance it (DARE); 27A: Work on ribs (GNAW); 29A: Under the surface (LATENT); 31A: Dress down (YELLAT); 34A: Kin of kitties and fishies? (BOWWOWS); 36A: About one in three Bosnians (SERB); 42A: Lyre-playing Muse (ERATO); 49A: TV control (VOL); 50A: Leak results (DRIPS); 51A: Female gamete (OVUM); 52A: A joker might pull yours (LEG); 53A: Go to (ATTEND); 56A: Go on and on (RANT); 57A: Drop (OMIT); 60A: Wapiti (ELK); 61A: French cleric (ABBE); 62A: Latin lover's word (AMO); 63A: __ Reader (UTNE); 72A: Bullfight chorus (OLES); 75A: No. beginning with a "-" (NEG); 76A: Certs competitor (TICTAC); 79A: Sartre's "Huh?" (QUOI); 81A: Note (MEMO); 82A: Volunteer (ENLIST); 83A: Certain brewer (URN); 84A: Santa nickname (KRIS); 85A: Oil burners (LAMPS); 86A: AAA option (RTE); 91A: Cycle part (PHASE); 94A: Pulitzer-winning writer Welty (EUDORA); 96A: __ cordiale: friendly understanding (ENTENTE); 100A: "Whatever you want" (NAMEIT); 105A: Defraud (FLEECE); 106A: Foreshadowed (PRESAGED); 111A: Teased (RODE); 116A: Elton's "__ Song" (YOUR); 117A: 1999 Academy Honorary Award recipient (KAZAN); 119A: Inched (CREPT); 121A: Holst's "The Planets," for one (SUITE); 122A: "Trick" joint (KNEE); 1D: Humid (MUGGY); 2D: Compensate (for) (ATONE); 3D: Sodium, for one (METAL); 5D: "Impressive!" (OOH); 7D: When hell freezes over, in verse (NEER); 8D: Inuit boat (KAYAK); 9D: Declare (PROCLAIM); 10D: Hebrides hillside (BRAE); 11D: Boys (LADS); 13D: Inits. in nutrition (RDA); 17D: Heavy china material (IRONSTONE); 18D: "__ we forget" (LEST); 24D: Chamber work (OCTET); 25D: Hurled (FLUNG); 30D: Elicit a 5-Down (AWE); 35D: Medical suffix (OMA); 37D: Equilateral quadrilateral (RHOMBUS); 38D: Beauty groups? (BEVIES); 41D: Heretofore (ERENOW); 43D: Bygone GM line (OLDS); 44D: Refrain syllables (TRALA); 46D: Decide (OPT); 47D: Primitive home (HUT); 48D: Tranquilizing weapon (DARTGUN); 50D: Attracted (DREW); 54D: Linguist's subject (TENSE); 55D: Swarm (TEEM); 57D: Doesn't go along (OBJECTS); 61D: Book with legends (ATLAS); 65D: "The Little Red Hen" denial (NOTI); 66D: Got the show on the road (TOURED); 68D: "Let __!": high roller's cry (ITRIDE); 70D: Tidy (KEMPT); 71D: Some are inflated (EGOS); 80D: Forty-niner's find (ORE); 81D: 61-Down component (MAP); 85D: Darth's daughter (LEIA); 88D: Wrong, with "all" (WET); 89D: Stumbled (ERRED); 92D: Navigates (STEERS); 97D: Kisses and more (NECKS); 99D: Bricklayer (MASON); 101D: Prefix with -plex (METRO); 102D: Architect Saarinen (ELIEL); 103D: Optimist's phrase (IHOPE); 104D: Hues (TINTS); 105D: Popular boot brand (FRYE); 106D: Exam for pre-srs. (PSAT); 107D: Thinker Descartes (RENE); 108D: Code carrier (GENE); 109D: 1980s speed skating gold medalist Karin (ENKE); 114D: Commando's weapon (UZI); 115D: 6-Down, in Essen (ACH).