Theme: Musical Girls — Theme answers are four musical titles that contain a woman's name.
- 18A: 1948 Porter musical inspired by "The Taming of the Shrew" ("KISS ME KATE").
- 26A: 1925 musical that spawned the unsuccessful "Yes, Yes, Yvette" ("NO NO NANETTE").
- 44A: 1953 musical with the song "No Other Love" ("ME AND JULIET").
- 56A: 1964 musical starring Carol Channing ("HELLO DOLLY").
Ya know who loved this puzzle? Greene did. Me? I thought it was pretty cool too, but "Hello Dolly" was the only gimme for me in the theme answers. I'm guessing Greene didn't have much trouble with any of them. I had trouble with some of the question-mark clues and wonder if you did too:
- 40A: First mother? (EVE). Why is there a question mark here? To me, the question mark indicates that the clue (or part of the clue) is an idiom but that the solver needs to think of the clue literally to come up with the answer. In this case, what is the non-literal meaning of "First mother"? I mean, I get it that Eve may or may not have been the first mother depending on your particular belief system, but for the question mark to work, the clue needs to be "First lady?" Don't you think? Because "first lady" actually means something other than literally the first woman that ever existed.
- 64A: Wisdom unit? (PEARL). Here again, the phrase is "pearl of wisdom," so what does the question mark mean? A pearl of wisdom isn't an actual, physical unit that you can hold in your hand, but it's still a unit, right? Does "wisdom unit" have another meaning that I just don't know about?
- 50D: Puts in stitches (SEWS). So why doesn't this one have a question mark? "Put in stitches" is an idiomatic expression meaning "amuse," but in this case, you need to think of literal stitches, which leads to the correct answer. What the heck am I missing today??
- 20A: Hose reaching to the patella (KNEESOCK). I really thought this was going for a part of the body shaped like a hose (intestine? vein?). Ewwww.
- 22A: Race of Norse gods (AESIR). I always get this word confused with "aegis." Totally different thing.
- 24A: 007 et al.: Abbr. (AGTS). Me: "Spies? Too long .... Spys? That's not an abbreviation."
- 36A: Make cents (MINT). Sometimes I hate cute clues, sometimes I love them. This one, I love.
- 39A: Casanova (ROUE). So many awesome synonyms: cad, knave, libertine, rascal, miscreant, scoundrel, and (perhaps best of all) rake.
- 48A: Eye, in Paris (OEIL). I only know this from the French phrase "trompe l'oeil" (literally "trick the eye") which basically means "optical illusion."
- 61A: Typeface type (ARIAL). This is my go-to typeface. It doesn't have any of those distracting serifs.
- 5D: 1860s-'80s territory on the Canadian border (DAKOTA). This took me a ridiculously long time to figure out considering I'm, ya know, from there.
- 7D: Port container (CASK). Port = wine.
- 10D: Football feints (JUKES). Never heard this word before. I know that hockey feints are called dekes though. Learned it from crosswords.
- 13D: One dealing in futures? (SEER). See, these one makes sense. The phrase "one dealing in futures" makes you think of a stockbroker, right? But in this case, you need to think of the word "futures" as, literally, "what's going to happen," which leads you to SEER.
- 28D: Sextet plus three (NONET). Just what it says: a sextet is a group of six, a nonet is a group of nine.
- 30D: Native New Zealander (MAORI). Hi, Sandy!
- 38D: Pitchers' stats (ERAS). Earned Run Averages. The average number of runs a pitcher who did not pitch a full nine innings would have given up if he had pitched a full game.
- 42D: Hall of Famer Aparicio (LUIS). Don't even know what sport this is, but I'm going to guess baseball. ... Yes! He played for the White Sox, the Orioles, and the Red Sox.
- 51D: Online journal (BLOG). Hope you're enjoying our online journal!
- 53D: Nuts or crackers? (LOCO). Again, this question mark makes perfect sense. Oh, and I love this clue.
- 54D: Reverse, on an edit menu (UNDO). Do you remember a TV ad a few years back where some co-workers emailed something offensive and then were frantically searching for the "unsend" button?
- 57D: Skip, as stones (DAP). Ne-Ever heard this word before. The puzzle data base shows it's been used a total of six times in the New York Times and L.A. Times puzzles since 1997, so I don't feel bad about not knowing it.