Theme: "Unknown Endings" — Theme answers are familiar phrases with an X added to the end, resulting in new wacky phrases clued "?"-style.
- 23A: Rodriguez upset with negative publicity? (BITTER ALEX). He's got no one to blame but himself.
- 25A: Film timepiece seen briefly? (CAMEO ROLEX).
- 43A: Instability of stereotypical BMW drivers? (YUPPIE FLUX). "Yuppie flu" is a derogatory name for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.
- 64A: World's most perplexing problem? (GRAND CRUX). Grand cru has something to do with wine.
- 87A: Buckingham Palace add-on? (QUEEN ANNEX).
- 107A: Rubber bedsheets? (SLEEP LATEX). I was a little surprised to see this with 38D: Compensate for oversleeping (RUSH) already in the puzzle.
- 109A: Cat on steroids? (MUSCLE MANX).
- 36D: Encrypted Scriptures? (SECRET CODEX).
- 39D: Highest point in North Africa? (BARBARY APEX).
Man, I'm glad I didn't have to blog Friday's puzzle. PuzzleDaughter had a friend sleep over and PuzzleSon had two friends sleep over. It was madness. My husband's all, "What's going on?" I'm all, "It's summer!" He's all, "It's Thursday!" The kids had a blast though. What I'm angling for, of course, is that both of them will get invited to sleepovers at friends' houses on the same night. Could I get so lucky? I'll let you know. What? There's a puzzle to talk about?
Cute theme. And it sure helped to know the last letter of each theme answer would be an X. I solved this one pretty steadily, but for some reason got tripped up several times by not getting exactly what the clue was going for. I thought 28A: Oil source wanted a place, so I had Sudan instead of the correct SHALE. I thought 34A: Perp subduer wanted a person, so it took me a while to figure out TASER. I thought 76A: Crease maker, at times wanted the actual thing that does the creasing, i.e., the iron, so I was surprised to see instead the person doing the creasing, i.e., the IRONER. I thought 94A: ____ out: peaked wanted ashen and not MAXED. And, again, on 9D: Crew's control, I wanted a piece of equipment and not the COXSWAIN. I have no idea if Fred Piscop was going for misdirection in those clues or if I'm just flaky today. Probably the latter.
There's gotta be more, right?
- 10A: Carpenter's groove (DADO). What? You don't have a woodworking hobby? Well, just try to remember this one then.
- 20A: Tropical tuber (TARO). It's a starchy plant that is often clued as Hawaiian. Another one you should remember.
- 27A: Team with the most Super Bowl victories (STEELERS). My favorite football player is Walter Payton. That's how long it's been since I've paid attention to football.
- 47A: The kinkajou has a prehensile one (TAIL). The kinka-what? It's a rainforest animal sometimes called a "honey bear." Just in case you were wondering, "The kinkajou is distinguished from the olingo by its prehensile tail, its foreshortened muzzle, its extrudable tongue, and its lack of anal scent glands."
- 59A: Radium discoverer born in Warsaw, Pol. (MME. CURIE). I was sort of obsessed with Marie Curie in 6th grade. I was a weird kid.
- 67A: Isl. south of Corsica (SAR.). Sardinia.
- 78A: Unfair treatment, with "the" (SHAFT).
- 80A: He "does not throw dice": Einstein (GOD). Ooh, I like this one.
- 85A: "Mockingbird" singer Foxx (INEZ). I grew up with the James Taylor/Carly Simon version.
- 100A: Fill with horror (APPAL). I had repel at first.
- 5D: Baseball Hall of Famer Willie (KEELER). I hadn't heard of him before but his record is pretty impressive. He retired in 1910 with a .341 career batting average and eight 200-hit seasons. He was a good hitter is what I'm saying.
- 13D: Number on a driver (ONE). Golf!
- 18D: Latin king (REX). All hail the king!
- 45D: Nancy's home (FRANCE). Nancy is a city in France. Tricky.
- 61D: Awaiting service (IN LINE). Do they still say "on line" in New York? I'm thinking maybe that changed once "online" started having a totally different meaning.
- 77D: Atlantic food fish (SCUP). If you say so!
- 88D: Site of North Amer.'s geographical midpoint (N. DAK.). Specifically, Rugby, North Dakota. I knew that one.
- 92D: Room in a big house? (CELL). "Big house" being a euphemism for "prison."