Theme: "End of the Road" — Theme answers are familiar phrases that begin with a word that can come after the word road in another familiar phrase.
- 23A: Device using pulleys (BLOCK AND TACKLE) [roadblock]. I thought this phrase had something to do with football.
- 39A: 1957 novel with the working title "The Strike" (ATLAS SHRUGGED) [road atlas]. Never read it. Never really even thought about reading it. Not sure why.
- 47A: Plan likely to fail (HOUSE OF CARDS) [roadhouse]. Great clue.
- 64A: Dance, facetiously (TRIP THE LIGHT FANTASTIC) [road trip]. Was this always a facetious phrase? Or did it start out sincere and become facetious?
- 83A: Break in (SHOW THE ROPES) [road show].
- 90A: Though not yet in force, one was adopted by the UN in 1996 (TEST BAN TREATY) [road test].
- 112A: One who's halfway home? (RUNNER ON SECOND) [roadrunner]. One of the coolest looking birds ever.
Crosswordese 101: Speaking of Sunday puzzles being so big, that means there are generally several solid crosswordese answers, and this puzzle is no exception. It was tough to narrow it down, but I've decided to go with TOR, which is clued today as 40D: Rocky peak. That's gonna be your go-to clue for TOR, but other words you want to watch out for are craggy, pinnacle, hill, and outcropping. Anyone out there ever used this word in conversation? Or heard it used? I sure haven't.
- 21A: Tide alternative (ALL). Laundry detergent!
- 26A: Self-conscious question (IS IT ME?). This reminds me of the book by crossword-constructor-and-all-around-hilarious-woman Deb Amlen scheduled to hit the stores in 2010. It's called "It's Not PMS, It's You."
- 28A: Cuarenta winks? (SIESTA). Cuarenta = 40 in Spanish. And a SIESTA is 40 winks (in Spanish).
- 35A: Peruvian pack animal (LLAMA). Funny that we also see the DALAI Lama at 56A.
- 42A: Arid Israeli area (NEGEV). The word NEGEV is from the Hebrew root meaning "dry." This area does have an alternate spelling (NEGEB), which I've seen in a puzzle once (and only once, and the clue did indicate "Var." and, as I recall, I wasn't real happy about it).
- 45A: Windblown soil (LOESS). Learned it from crosswords. According to Wikipedia, LOESS is "homogeneous, typically nonstratified, porous, friable, slightly coherent, often calcareous, fine-grained, silty, pale yellow or buff, windblown (aeolian) sediment." Whew.
- 59A: Film involving stage scenes (OATER). An OATER is a Western movie. I think this clue is (cleverly) referring to a stagecoach, which you would see in a Western.
- 88A: Actress Davis (GEENA). I had Bette at first. That's not the first time I've made that mistake.
- 104A: Like a good loser? (THIN). As in losing weight.
- 118A: '70s pinup name (LONI). Oh Loni. I believed you were the only thing standing between Burt and me.
- 121A: Driver's gadget (TEE). In this case, the driver is one who drives a golf ball.
- 1D: Possible result of big losses (DEBTS). I don't know. In our house the debts are a result of big shopping sprees.
- 9D: ASAP relative (STAT). Learned this one from watching "E.R." Does anyone know where it comes from? I'm too lazy to look it up. [HAha! At first I mistyped that sentence to say "I'm too BUSY to look it up."]
- 10D: Ind. neighbor (PAK.). Raise your hand if you thought this clue referred to Indiana. I sure did. But it's India, whose neighbor is Pakistan. Hey, you know who's from Indiana? That's right. Michael Jackson. I've been listening to him all day just waiting for an excuse to include one of his videos in today's post. So here it is.
- 30D: City SSE of Islamabad (LAHORE). Rex was re-working a grid one time and switched something out and put in LAHORE. I sent him an email that said, and I quote, "Haha! WTF is Lahore??" To which he replied, "It's only a city of about a zillion people (7 million) in Pakistan." (Pakistan!) So now you know.
- 34D: Signaled from across the room, say (WAVED AT). I thought winked at but it wouldn't fit. I guess I was trying to signal something a little different than what David had in mind.
- 53D: Suit basis (TORT). A tort is a wrongful act that can be the basis for a lawsuit.
- 54D: Org. probing for outer-space life (SETI). Learned it from crosswords. It stands for Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence. And yes, it's a real thing.
- 77D: Big stink (STENCH). I was thinking more along the lines of a metaphorical "big stink" and when I figured out the answer referred to a literal "big stink" it was a little jarring.
- 78D: Musical place, briefly (B'WAY).
- 83D: Ball user, maybe (SEER). The ball in this case would be crystal.
- 84D: Patricia of "Everybody Loves Raymond" (HEATON). Is this the same actress I recently confused with Brad Whitford's wife (who's on another show I don't watch)? Pretty sure it is.
- 86D: An orchestra tunes to one (OBOE). Ladies and gentlemen, Exhibit A for why you need to pay attention to the Crosswordese 101 lessons! Here's an excerpt from my June 22 analysis of OBOE: "Other than that, it's helpful to know that an orchestra tunes to it, ...."
- 106D: Texting device (CELL). I just know there are people out there who cringe over this adjective becoming a noun all by itself. "It's not a cell; it's a cell-phone." Doesn't bother me though.
- 115D: Jazz fan (CAT). I thought I was so clever knowing that Utah Jazz is the name of a professional basketball team! And a person from Utah is called a Ute! Okay, a person from Utah isn't really called a Ute, but it worked for me. Until it was, ya know, wrong.
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Everything Else — 1A: Window treatment (DRAPE); 6A: Beat walkers (COPS); 10A: Pen pal? (PIG); 13A: Accelerated (SPED UP); 19A: Causing goose bumps (EERIE); 20A: Came down (ALIT); 22A: 1959 Steiger title role (CAPONE); 27A: Carrere of "Wayne's World" (TIA); 29A: Buds (PALS); 31A: Tale spinner (LIAR); 32A: Like most light bulbs (SCREW-IN); 37A: Publisher __ Nast (CONDE); 38A: Ming 2-Down (VASE); 46A: Crew tool (OAR); 51A: Takes in (ARRESTS); 55A: Net grazer (LET); 57A: Like some boots (STEEL-TOED); 60A: Extent (SCOPE); 63A: Comic Johnson (ARTE); 71A: Log variety (YULE); 72A: Preminger et al. (OTTOS); 73A: Averse (LOATH); 74A: Puts dividends to work (REINVESTS); 78A: Bluster (BOAST); 79A: Previously (AGO); 82A: Takes umbrage at (RESENTS); 87A: Deli bread (RYE); 89A: Lies next to (ABUTS); 95A: Snack in a shell (TACO); 97A: They're not behind you (ANTIS); 98A: Pie __ (CHART); 99A: Pushes back, as a deadline (EXTENDS); 103A: Hair line (PART); 105A: Fuel rating (OCTANE); 109A: Yves's yes (OUI); 110A: Actor Estevez (EMILIO); 116A: Evangelist's admonition (REPENT); 117A: Wily (SLY); 119A: Jousting pole (LANCE); 120A: Two-handed hammer (SLEDGE); 122A: Soapmaking compounds (LYES); 123A: Jouster's ride (STEED); 2D: Artifact (RELIC); 3D: Like heavy surf (AROAR); 4D: Photo (PIC); 5D: "A mouse!" (EEK); 6D: Mutt, e.g. (CANINE); 7D: __ English Bulldogge (OLDE); 8D: Refueling places (PITS); 11D: "No thanks" ("I'LL PASS"); 12D: Ocular signs of planning? (GLEAMS); 13D: Biol. and astr. (SCIS); 14D: Faux __ (PAS); 15D: Final words (EPILOG); 16D: Overly attentive (DOTING); 17D: Like a teen's bed, probably (UNMADE); 18D: Looked carefully (PEERED); 24D: Tag sale caveat (AS IS); 25D: Sent (for) (CALLED); 33D: Holiday precursors (EVES); 36D: Colleen (LASS); 37D: Big name in skin care products (CUREL); 39D: Jai __ (ALAI); 41D: Hardly well done (RARE); 42D: Red Wings' org. (NHL); 43D: Want ad letters (EOE); 44D: Kind of feeling (GUT); 48D: Inaugural event (OATH); 49D: Head for the hills (FLEE); 50D: Tire-kicking areas (CAR LOTS); 51D: Took advantage of the buffet (ATE A LOT); 52D: Secret supply (STASH); 57D: Coppertone abbr. (SPF); 58D: 71-Across mo. (DEC.); 59D: Starts the bidding (OPENS); 60D: U.S. Army E-5 (SGT.); 61D: Funny Margaret (CHO); 62D: NBA tiebreakers (OTS); 64D: Norse god of war (TYR); 65D: Regretful type (RUER); 66D: First name among '70s netmen (ILIE); 67D: "__ only a game" (IT'S); 68D: Role in the musical "Two By Two" (NOAH); 69D: Stun, as a perp (TASE); 70D: Draw (ATTRACT); 75D: Words of action (VERBS); 76D: Grammy-winning New Ager (ENYA); 79D: "The Simpsons" Kwik-E-Mart operator (APU); 80D: Understand (GET); 81D: CIA forerunner (OSS); 85D: Hudson Bay prov. (ONT.); 88D: Fine particle (GRANULE); 90D: Gets to the point? (TAPERS); 91D: Painter's choice (ENAMEL); 92D: Indication of rank (STRIPE); 93D: Having status, in a way (TITLED); 94D: Desire (THIRST); 95D: Court sport (TENNIS); 96D: Lets go (AXES); 100D: Dismal turnout? (NOONE); 101D: Blockhead (DUNCE); 102D: Threw in (with) (SIDED); 104D: Shopper's convenience (TOTE); 107D: Where Helen was taken (TROY); 108D: Top-shelf (A-ONE); 111D: __ Direct: online bank (ING); 113D: Science guy Bill (NYE); 114D: High trains (ELS).