Theme: "Keeping an Eye Out" — Theme answers are familiar phrases with the letter "i" removed, creating whacky new phrases clued "?"-style.
- 24A: Betting a buck in Vegas? (STAKING ONE'S CLAM [claim]).
- 47A: Wheat farm operator? (BRAN [brain] SURGEON).
- 67A: Very old races? (ANCIENT RUNS [ruins]).
- 83A: Notes from Charlie? (CHAN [chain] LETTERS).
- 106A: Think nostalgically about one's long-haired days? (REMEMBER THE MANE [Maine]).
- 3D: Hollywood exodus? (FLIGHT OF STARS [stairs]).
- 57D: Kudos after a great meal? (HAIL TO THE CHEF [Chief]).
Hi, everybody. Hey, guess what! I'm actually in the L.A. Times's time zone today. I'm in Reno, Nevada, for PuzzleSister's wedding, which took place today. It was a small and beautiful backyard ceremony and they will surely have a lovely life together here in the desert! Obviously, there's been a lot of activity the last few days, but I did find time to solve this puzzle. I had a lot of trouble in Northern California, where I wanted amend for ALTER (60A: Change) and couldn't get hired out of my head even though it didn't fit for LISTED (54A: Put on the rolls). SOFTIES (50A: Easygoing sorts) and the theme answer in that section weren't coming to me At All. I had to put the puzzle aside for a little while and come back to it before it broke open.
- 21A: Dada daddy? (ARP). Jean Arp, a German-French artist and founding member of the Dada movement. We talked about him here last month.
- 27A: Caught off base (TAGGED). If the answer had only been four letters, I might have considered AWOL, but that doesn't actually require being caught. This clue is about baseball.
- 29A: Form 1040 calc. (AGI). Adjusted Gross Income, according to PuzzleDad (a CPA).
- 33A: Dwell constantly (on) (OBSESS). I'm sure none of us know anything about obsessing.
- 43A: Paquin and Pavlova (ANNAS). A Canadian-born New Zealand actress and a Russian ballerina. Nice!
- 44A: Hole in the wall (OUTLET). I don't know. I think this clue should have a question mark. What do you think?
- 66A: Makeup artist? (LIAR).
- 69A: __ qua non (SINE). A legal Latin term meaning "(a condition) without which it could not be" or "but for..." or "without which (there is) nothing." Remember it — you'll see it again!
- 72A: "Made to be broken" thing (RECORD). The first thing that came to my mind was promise. Not entirely sure what that says about me.
- 74A: Peel's title (MRS.). Emma Peel of "The Avengers." Played by Diana Rigg. The character was played by a different actress in the 1998 movie, but I understand that some people choose not to acknowledge that. Emma Peel = Diana Rigg. Period.
- 76A: "2001" computer (HAL).
- 79A: Runaway bus film (SPEED). You saw. You loved it. Admit it.
- 88A: Needle (HYPO). I was thinking "needle" was a verb, but it's a noun here.
- 90A: Store door nos. (HRS). There are numbers on the store door that tell you what HOURS the store is open.
- 103A: John __ Lennon (ONO). I think it's cool that John and Yoko both changed their names when they married. Ahead of their time, those two.
- 114A: Traction aid (TREAD). I first had chain, then cleat, and finally, TREAD.
- 1D: Caning material (RATTAN). Another word you'll want to remember because you will see it again.
- 4D: "Cape Fear" actress (LANGE). I totally forgot that Jessica LANGE is in that (seriously disturbing) movie.
- 6D: Banana pair (ENS). There are a pair of N's in the word banana. Yeah. Sorry.
- 17D: Entices (TEMPTS).
- 20D: Turkish title (AGA). We covered this bit of crosswordese in early April.
- 26D: Trumpeter youngster (CYGNET). A Trumpeter is a type of swan. Young swans are called cygnets.
- 34D: Tournament exemptions (BYES). Tournament brackets have to start with rounds of a number that's a power of 2 (i.e., 4, 8, 16, 32, etc.), but sometimes there aren't enough entrants to fill all the slots in the opening round. So some entrants are allowed to advance to the next round without actually playing. Those entrants are said to have "gotten a bye."
- 45D: Unqualified (UTTER). As in "Today's wedding was an unqualified (utter) success."
- 47D: Improved (BETTER). Again with the tricky parts of speech! "Improved" is an adjective here, not a verb!
- 48D: Start of a damsel's distressed demand (UNHAND). As in "Unhand me, you cad!"
- 58D: "Dover Beach" poet (ARNOLD). Matthew Arnold. I looked that up for you. You're welcome.
- 64D: Temple feature? (CURL). The temple next to your forehead, not the temple you worship in.
- 67D: The Little Mermaid (ARIEL). Easy if you have a daughter of a certain age.
- 73D: Sea dogs (TARS). Tar is just a strange word for sailor.
- 86D: Potter of "M*A*S*H," for one (COLONEL). Was just having a conversation yesterday about Sherman Potter and his colorful exclamations: "Horse hockey!" "Monkey muffins!"
- 107D: It precedes juin (MAI). French months!
Everything Else — 1A: Winchester, e.g. (RIFLE); 6A: Magazine bigwig (EDITOR); 12A: Cultural Revolution leader (MAO); 15A: Order to Fido (SIT); 18A: One with a big weight on his shoulders (ATLAS); 19A: Angola neighbor (NAMIBIA); 22A: Polished off (ATE); 23A: Makes less dense (THINS); 30A: Libreville is its capital (GABON); 31A: Puppy's protest (YELP); 32A: It's a pain (ACHE); 36A: Important time (ERA); 37A: Fortitude (GRIT); 38A: __ King Cole (NAT); 39A: Caustic solutions (LYES); 40A: Not at home (AWAY); 52A: Brewer's need (YEAST); 53A: "Far out" (NEAT); 55A: Friend needing feeding (PET); 56A: In the know (HIP); 57A: "Rumor __ it ..." (HAS); 61A: Living room piece (SETTEE); 64A: Occurred (to) (CAME); 65A: Circle segment (ARC); 70A: Poet's contraction (O'ER); 71A: Warner __ (BROS.); 73A: Hawk's weapon (TALON); 75A: Site of Floresta da Tijuca, one of the world's largest urban forests (RIO); 77A: Tell (TATTLE); 78A: Egyptian port (SUEZ); 82A: Lunch and study hall (PERIODS); 86A: Tight undergarment (CORSET); 87A: Patient record (CHART); 89A: Highway marker (CONE); 93A: Thing intentionally dropped (HINT); 94A: Lode load (ORE); 96A: Nearly boils (SCALDS); 98A: Beetle's warning (BEEP); 99A: Ga. Tech grad (ENGR.); 100A: Sets limits on, with "in" (REINS); 104A: Cochise was one (APACHE); 110A: Lacking color (ASHEN); 111A: 1996 Olympics host (USA); 112A: Feel poorly (AIL); 113A: More modest (HUMBLER); 115A: Oscar winner Kingsley (BEN); 116A: TGIF part (IT'S); 117A: Struggle (TUSSLE); 118A: Dagger handles (HAFTS); 2D: Cornell University site (ITHACA); 5D: Latin being (ESSE); 7D: Information to process (DATA SET); 8D: Photographs, e.g. (IMAGES); 9D: South Pacific idols (TIKIS); 10D: Shikoku sash (OBI); 11D: Criminal group (RING); 12D: Big house (MANOR); 13D: Concert venue (ARENA); 14D: Covert __: spy doings (OPS); 15D: Amalfi Coast city (SALERNO); 16D: Like 15-Down (ITALIAN); 25D: Follows orders (OBEYS); 28D: Dressed to kill, with "up" (DOLLED); 35D: 1986 #1 song by Starship (SARA); 41D: Used to be (WAS); 42D: Crumb scavenger (ANT); 43D: Open-mouthed (AGAPE); 46D: Theater section (TIER); 49D: 5/7/1945 German surrender site (REIMS); 50D: Race with gates (SLALOM); 51D: Less sincere (OILIER); 52D: Mysterious Asian giant (YETI); 55D: Weight training targets, briefly (PECS); 59D: Public ones can be embarrassing (SCENES); 61D: Real bore (SNOOZE); 62D: St. Paul-to-Sault Ste. Marie dir. (ENE); 63D: Implants firmly (ETCHES); 68D: Line on a map (ROAD); 71D: Main force (BRUNT); 77D: Saintly Mother (TERESA); 78D: Onetime friend of Camus (SARTRE); 79D: Place with many grunts (STY); 80D: Energy (PEP); 81D: Son of Aphrodite (EROS); 82D: Atlantic, to Brits (POND); 83D: Lantern type (CHINESE); 84D: Word-guessing game (HANGMAN); 85D: "... all snug in __ beds" (THEIR); 87D: Winged child (CHERUB); 89D: Channels you can't surf (CANALS); 91D: Warm up, in a way (REHEAT); 92D: Lays out (SPENDS); 94D: Go around in circles? (ORBIT); 95D: Gets out of the water, with "in" (REELS); 97D: Tangle removers (COMBS); 98D: City of southeastern Iraq (BASRA); 101D: Extreme degree (NTH); 102D: Put a lid on (SHUT); 105D: It may be beaten (PATH); 108D: Outback runner (EMU); 109D: Before, before (ERE).