Theme: "Do As I Say ..." — Theme answers are phrases that begin with the words to a common accusation aimed at a hypocrite.
- 17A: *Hack's output (POTBOILER).
- 21A: *Canceling (CALLING OFF).
- 26A: *Idealized family (THE JONESES).
- 48A: *Pitched percussion instrument (KETTLE DRUM).
- 56A: *Sorcery (BLACK MAGIC). Raise your hand if your first thought was "dark arts."
- 62A: Insincere type suggested by the starts of the answers to starred clues (HYPOCRITE).
This was a Hot Hot puzzle for me today. I really liked it. Even before I caught onto the theme, I thought THE JONESES was an awesome entry I've never seen before. Throw in MOOLAH (2D: Dough), POTSIE (3D: "Happy Days" friend of Richie and Ralph), and CHICANO (5D: Mexican-American), and you've got yourself a sparkly crossword puzzle! BANJOS?? RANSACKS?? Stop! You're killing me with the great words already! And OMG. Tie it all together with "Pot calling the kettle black." Who doesn't love that phrase? Love it! The whole puzzle — just love it!
The only trouble spot for me was 1D: "Spanish Flea" trumpeter, Herb ALPERT. I was so sure it was Al Hirt. You can see where that would cause some confusion. I knew the lion was ELSA and not Ilsa, and even though I didn't really know POTBOILER, it sounded a lot better than hotboiler. So it slowed me down, but didn't defeat me.
- 1A: Item of concern in a sound check (AMP). Wanted this to be sibilance, even though that's not exactly an item.
- 8A: Part of a diploma accolade (MAGNA). Could have been summa — had to check the crosses.
- 39A: Groan inducer (PUN). Ain't that the truth?
- 42A: Org. concerned with climate change (EPA). The Environmental Protection Agency. We talked about CrossWorld's important government agencies in a previous Crosswordese 101 lesson.
- 66A: Fascist leader? (NEO-). The question mark indicates there's something tricky about this clue. In this case, we're looking for a prefix that can go before (i.e., lead) the word fascist.
- 15D: Schubert's "The __ King" (ERL). A poem by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, used by Franz Schubert as text in a composition for voice and piano. Remember it — you'll see it again!
- 39D: Season opener? (PRE-). Again, looking for a prefix (i.e., opener) for the word season.
- 41D: Loving refusal (NO, DEAR). In the PuzzleHouse this is more of a sarcastic refusal.
- 44D: Actor Tamiroff (AKIM). He was in the original "Ocean's Eleven."
- 49D: Shooter's aid (TRIPOD). In this case, we're talking about a camera. In 54D: Shooter's sport (SKEET), we're talking about a gun.
- 59D: Pita sandwich (GYRO). I once had an argument with a friend about how to pronounce this word. When I said "gee-ro," she actually sort of scoffed and corrected me by saying "ji-ro." I reminded her that the only place she'd ever lived was Iowa. Not that there's anything wrong with that! You all know I love Iowa and would move back there in a minute if I could. I'm just saying there's relatively little opportunity there to be exposed to much ... diversity.
- 63D: These, in Troyes (CES). Speaking of diversity: French!