THEME: Try Try Try ... Try Again — familiar words and phrases have "TRY" tacked on to the end, creating new, wacky phrases, which are clued "?"-style
Cute idea for a puzzle. Very common theme idea (add-a-letter, or in this case, letters) yields amusing results. Love that the addition of "TRY" results (in most cases) in vowel sound changes in all the original phrases. TAPES to TAPESTRY and PAS to PASTRY are particularly lovely. There's nothing showy or mind-blowing here, but I was entertained nonetheless.
- 17A: Where Jerry Garcia kept food for the band? (DEAD PANTRY) — At this point I thought the answers were going to be spoonerisms of some kind, i.e. I thought this was some kind of play on the word PEDANTRY.
- 28A: Minimalist wall hanging? (BLANK TAPESTRY)
- 47A: Small clergy group? (MICRO MINISTRY) — MICRO MINIS are skirts, I assume.
- 64A: Wedding cake mock-up? (FAUX PASTRY)
Weird experience last night while doing research for this book I'm writing. I had just finished today's puzzle and had two answers circled in red and labeled "WTF?!" Two answers I'd never seen before: KOSS (23A: 1990s speed skating gold medalist) and GORT (8D: "The Day the Earth Stood Still" robot). I'd finished marking up the puzzle (which I always do in preparation for blogging) and had turned my attention to my research, specifically a book about words that are common in crossword puzzles (tedious, dated, and poorly organized book, but that's another story). So I'm skimming through paragraph after paragraph of what are essentially word lists in paragraph form (perhaps one or two explanatory sentences per word, on average), when my eye alights on GORT! Now I've been doing puzzles for a long time, and while I'm sure I've had GORT in some puzzle I've done at some time, it hasn't registered enough for me to remember it. I certainly wouldn't call it common. But apparently it once was — in fact, apparently it had an even more (to my mind) esoteric clue: some viscount who defended Malta against Nazi invasion. To the credit of the book I was reading, it does mention that GORT's star has faded in recent years. Poor GORT. GORT reminds me of BORT — in an episode of "The Simpsons," Bart can't find a miniature personalized license plate at Itchy & Scratchy Land with his name on it, and scoffs when he finds a BORT plate, wondering aloud what kind of name that is. At that moment, a boy asks for his own personalized plate, and his mom says, "no, Bort..." and then a guy (apparently named BORT) asks the lady if she's talking to him ... here it is in Spanish:
- 1A: Schooner features (JIBS) — I was thinking of a "schooner" that holds ALE.
- 5A: Kingdom called the Friendly Islands (TONGA) — One of my favorite crossword countries. They crowned a new king last summer (their winter) when we were down in NZ. Big News. Many, many pigs gave their lives for the coronation feast.
- 22A: Tar Heel State university (ELON) — On my short list of possible Crosswordese 101 answers for the day. ELON is a must-know N.C. university. Other CW101 contenders included ERLE, ARA, YSER, and EMO (though one or more of those may already have been covered — I haven't checked).
- 4D: "Bad Blood" singer (SEDAKA) — You didn't ask for it, so here it is:
- 10D: Beverage brewed in a gaiwan (GREEN TEA) — Not sure why this was so easy to get but it was. Just having the "T" in the right placed pretty much sealed it.
- 13D: Many a "One Tree Hill" character (TEEN) — omg is this even on the air any more? Most of those TEENS are probably ... not, any more, if they ever were.
- 27D: Plug-and-play PC port (USB) — Went with UBS (?).
- 37D: Eponymous Chinese general (TSO) — He gave his name to chicken.
- 44D: Palindromic altar (ARA) — In the pantheon of crossword constellations, for sure, up there with URSA.
- 57D: 1973 defendant (WADE) — As in "Roe v."
- 62D: Batik worker (DYER) — A word that only a crossword could love. I learned what "batik" meant from doing crosswords.
Everything Else — 1A: Schooner features (JIBS); 5A: Kingdom called the Friendly Islands (TONGA); 10A: Biblical plague insect (GNAT); 14A: Realty unit (ACRE); 15A: Faint (SWOON); 16A: Wear the crown (RULE); 17A: Where Jerry Garcia kept food for the band? (DEAD PANTRY); 19A: "Anything __?" (ELSE); 20A: Fertilizer source (ALGAE); 21A: "Who am __ argue?" (I TO); 22A: Tar Heel State university (ELON); 23A: 1990s speed skating gold medalist (KOSS); 26A: One with a habit (NUN); 28A: Minimalist wall hanging? (BLANK TAPESTRY); 34A: Feathery stole (BOA); 35A: Chichi (ARTY); 36A: Doozy (BEAUT); 38A: North Carolina county (ASHE); 40A: Blue shades (TEALS); 42A: __ race (ARMS); 43A: "__ go!" (GOTTA); 45A: "East of Eden" brother (ARON); 46A: Expressive rock genre (EMO); 47A: Small clergy group? (MICROMINISTRY); 51A: __-de-vie: brandy (EAU); 52A: Trade barbs (SPAR); 53A: Burlesque bit (SKIT); 56A: Bygone carrier (TWA); 59A: Stared stupidly (GAPED); 63A: Pay (up) (ANTE); 64A: Wedding cake mock-up? (FAUX PASTRY); 67A: Blacken (SEAR); 68A: Slacker (IDLER); 69A: Fit (HALE); 70A: Ward of "The Fugitive" (SELA); 71A: Bear named for a president (TEDDY); 72A: Strategic WWI river (YSER); 1D: Actress Pinkett Smith (JADA); 2D: Country on the Denmark Str. (ICEL.); 3D: Crow (BRAG); 4D: "Bad Blood" singer (SEDAKA); 5D: Luggage-screening gp. (TSA); 6D: Part of BYO (OWN); 7D: Words of innocence (NOT I); 8D: "The Day the Earth Stood Still" robot (GORT); 9D: "__ home?" (ANYONE); 10D: Beverage brewed in a gaiwan (GREEN TEA); 11D: Having no effect (NULL); 12D: As well (ALSO); 13D: Many a "One Tree Hill" character (TEEN); 18D: Drudge (PEON); 24D: 32-card game (SKAT); 25D: Flow (STREAM); 27D: Plug-and-play PC port (USB); 28D: Like a close buddy (BOSOM); 29D: Actress Christine (LAHTI); 30D: __ 2600: early game console (ATARI); 31D: Road cones (PYLONS); 32D: More valued, in a way (RARER); 33D: Scrumptious (YUMMY); 34D: Capture (BAG); 37D: Eponymous Chinese general (TSO); 39D: Substitute for dropped items (ET CETERA); 41D: Cut (SNIP); 44D: Palindromic altar (ARA); 48D: Equip (OUTFIT); 49D: Something to keep a teller busy? (SAGA); 50D: Inferior (TRASHY); 53D: Fresh approach? (SASS); 54D: Pants part (KNEE); 55D: Bold alternative: Abbr. (ITAL.); 57D: 1973 defendant (WADE); 58D: "Should __ acquaintance ..." (AULD); 60D: Educ. support groups (PTAS); 61D: Della's creator (ERLE); 62D: Batik worker (DYER); 65D: Crossed (out) (XED); 66D: Meddle (PRY).