Theme: "I'll be baa-ck" — Sheep puns!
I have to be honest, I'm not a big fan of puns. I don't hate them as much as at least one of the other bloggers here, but unless they're really super fresh and clever, I'm just not going to get too excited about them. Unfortunately ....
- 17A: Wonderful sheep-fleecing job? (SHEAR [sheer] PERFECTION). This one is too common to get a chuckle from me.
- 38A: Gets Dolly the sheep to defect? (MAKES A EWE TURN [u-turn]). Clearly the best of the bunch, mostly because of the way the clue interprets "turn." Clever!
- 60A: Use a young sheep as a beast of burden? (TAKE IT ON THE LAMB [lam]). I might be talked into liking this one except it's based on a phrase that I don't like/have really never understood the reason for.
- 9A: To one side (ASKEW). This is just a cool word.
- 68A: Man with a mission (PADRE). Makes me think of M.A.S.H. And that's always a good thing.
- 1D: Agave liquor (MESCAL).
- 48D: Critter in a Tennessee Williams title (IGUANA). We have one particular iguana we keep an eye on at my folks' place in Costa Rica. His name is Bob.
- 53D: Crystal-lined rock (GEODE). This one is literally sparkly!
Crosswordese 101: EMIT means pretty much what today's clue says: [40D: Send out]. Merriam-Webster's defines EMIT as: 1a: to throw or give off or out (as light or heat) b: to send out : EJECT 2a: to issue with authority; especially: to put (as money) into circulation b: obsolete: PUBLISH 3: to give utterance or voice to
- 4A: "If I Had a Hammer" singer Lopez (TRINI). Only know the name from crosswords. Thought it was a woman for a while. But it's not.
- 15A: His 2,297 RBI is a major league record (AARON). That would be Hank AARON. Who was also an ALL-STAR in [22A: ... 21 of his 23 seasons].
- 21A: Annoy (MOLEST). I remember we talked about this over at Rex's once. Nowadays MOLEST has a more sinister connotation than annoy. The only reason it comes to me readily is the use of the Spanish in this song:
- 27A: Org. with some lightweights (WBA). World Boxing Association. Lightweights in boxing weigh 130–135 pounds.
- 44A: Enter anew (RETYPE). They got me on this one. I was definitely thinking about entering a room or a contest or something.
- 48A: Sitter's challenge (IMP).
- 52A: Syncopated musical work (RAG). I thought this was going to be rap for a minute. Eminem is a pretty syncopated dude.
- 59A: German bread (EURO). Bread = money.
- 65A: Noodle products? (IDEAS). Noodle = head/brain.
- 69A: Ivory's partner, in song (EBONY). Also ivory's partner on a piano.
- 5D: Type of sheet or session (RAP). Or music!
- 10D: They're potted (SOTS). I don't care for this clue/answer or 23D: What 10-Down do (TOPE). The SOTS that I know? They don't use these fancy words. They're drunks and they drink.
- 18D: Balaam's carrier (ASS). I'm going to assume this is Biblical.
- 19D: Jack of old Westerns (ELAM). Got this from crosses. I'm sure I've seen him in a puzzle before, but didn't think enough about him to retain his name.
- 29D: Works on the wall? (ART). This is the old you-think-it's-a-verb-but-it's-a-noun trick.
- 41D: Seville snack (TAPA). I'm never sure if the answer for this kind of clue will be TAPA or taco. Most of the time it's taco.
- 49D: "Gypsy" star, 1959 (MERMAN). With only the M in place, I thought this might be Moreno. Did you hear that? That was Greene's head exploding.
- 57D: Listen to (HEAR). Was just talking to someone the other day who described her husband as "hard of listening."
- 62D: Tango complement (TWO).
- 64D: English cathedral town (ELY). Didn't know this one.
Everything Else — 1A: Old boys (MEN); 14A: Computer program suffix (EXE); 16A: Second longest African river (CONGO); 20A: Heels (CADS); 26A: Way cool (RAD); 30A: Sheltered side (LEE); 31A: Wrapped up (OVER); 33A: Part of a celestial shower (METEOR); 35A: Offers a view (OPINES); 37A: Rodgers's partner before Hammerstein (HART); 42A: Old VHS alternative (BETA); 43A: Pack animals (LLAMAS); 47A: Quick cut (SNIP); 51A: Letters before a pseudonym (AKA); 54A: Cause to reel (STAGGER); 56A: Pursues (CHASES); 66A: Carpentry pin (DOWEL); 67A: Glasgow negative (NAE); 70A: Start of an afterthought (AND); 2D: Say "Whew!," say (EXHALE); 3D: Hypo (NEEDLE); 4D: Roofing material (TAR); 6D: Wilde country: Abbr. (IRE); 7D: Standard (NORM); 8D: About to endure (IN FOR); 9D: Give the nod (to) (ACCEDE); 11D: Most sweaters and jerseys (KNITWEAR); 12D: Source of chutzpah (EGO); 13D: Took the trophy (WON); 24D: Rent-a-car choice (AVIS); 25D: Kidney-related (RENAL); 28D: Brought into the world (BORN); 32D: Angler's gear (REELS); 34D: Ergo (THUS); 35D: Thumbs-up (OKAY); 36D: Elegant swimmers (SWANS); 38D: Overly compliant (MEEK); 39D: Went after (ATTACKED); 42D: Top of a two-piece (BRA); 45D: Commend (PRAISE); 46D: It's right on the map (EAST); 50D: Delved into (PROBED); 55D: Toothpaste type (GEL); 58D: Start to appeal? (SNOB); 60D: Waiter's reward (TIP); 61D: Nabokov novel (ADA); 63D: Egg source (HEN).