THEME: "Broken Codes That Require No Decoding"—The circled letters spell out words that can complete "code of ___" phrases, and they're "broken" into pieces rather than appearing as intact words
- 17A: Colonial fair artisan is a GLASSBLOWER. "Code of laws" in the plural seems to be the more common phrase.
- 24A: Reasons for an R rating are SEX AND VIOLENCE. Fight Club had a code of silence.
- 38A: To Keep an eye on things is to HOLD DOWN THE FORT. Competitors at the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament are nice people and operate under a code of honor.
- 49A: LIKE THE DICKENS is just as quaintly slangy as Lickety-split.
- 60A. Cryptographers' successes (and what can be found in the circles in this puzzle's long answers) are BROKEN CODES. The L.A. Times crossword doesn't seem to run insane gimmick puzzles like we sometimes see in the NYT on Thursday, but it would've been fun if this crossword had some sort of code to break. Maybe a cryptographer would find a code to decipher. Hmm, how about 33D Swirled (EDDIED)? Did Ed die?
Crosswordese 101: Omigod, omigod, omigod! There are two perfect examples of crosswordese that haven't been covered yet in Crosswordese 101. 15A is a Wash basin partner, or EWER, while 2D is OLLAS, or Clay pots. According to previous clues, an OLLA is a Spanish or Southwestern stewpot made of earthenware or clay, and it's good for making paella. The EWER has fine-arts cred as a "still-life subject," which is a common clue for the word. Back in the day, you'd fill up your EWER with water and...do something with that basin/bowl in the process of washing up. How do you remember which crosswordese is which? The OLLA's clue tends to skew Spanish and culinary, while the EWER emphasizes decorativeness and water.
An olio of answers and clues:
- 1A: Makeshift bookmark is a DOG-EAR, or a turned-down corner of a page.
- 16A. Romance, the verb, means WOO. Have you ever pitched woo?
- 29A: It may be roja or verde (red or green) clues SALSA. Would you toss some salsa into your olla? I can't say.
- 35A. Two-time Indy 500 champ Luyendyk's first name is ARIE. The other famous ARIE is the oddly punctuated neo-soul singer India.Arie.
- 42A: ACID is a DNA part—part of the phrase deoxyribonucleic acid.
- 45A. Seder month is NISAN. ELUL and ADAR are other crossword-friendly months in the Jewish calendar.
- 47A. PSI is so multifaceted. It's a Tire gauge meas., short for pounds per square inch. It's a trident-shaped Greek letter. And it's a noun meaning "supposed parapsychological or psychic faculties or phenomena."
- 9D. You know what 25% of zero? is? The letter ZEE, which is one fourth of the word "zero." I'm quite fond of this type of clue. Always tricky, often surprising, probably not ever accessible by means of a crossword dictionary. These hyper-literal clues take several forms—"Ireland's start" might be a CAPITAL I, while the "Capital of Colorado" could be the capital C at the beginning of the name. "A third of a banana" consists of ENS (the letter N).
- 46D. Quarter horse quarters includes two different meanings of "quarter(s)." The place of residence for a quarter horse is the STABLE.
- 50D. The clue references a song I didn't know. "Monday ___ Friday on my mind": 1967 song lyric is finished by the words I HAVE. "Friday on My Mind" was a classic Australian rock song by the Easybeats (who?), and apparently the band approved of David Bowie's cover version. Let's hear some Bowie!
Everything Else — 7A: Relax (LAZE); 11A: Sta. that might show a Bogie flick (TCM); 14A: "Let me find out" (I'LL'SEE); 19A: Baja bear (OSO); 20A: Marquis de __ (SADE); 21A: "Lord, is __?": Matthew (IT I); 22A: Stage awards (OBIES); 28A: DJ's array (CDS); 30A: "The Zoo Story" playwright (ALBEE); 34A: QB's goof (INT.); 43A: Place to crash (PAD); 44A: Took another plunge? (RE-WED); 55A: Old-time actress Bara (THEDA); 56A: Galoot (APE); 57A: Look down (MOPE); 59A: Drift (about) (GAD); 64A: "The Loco-Motion" singer Little __ (EVA); 65A: Mother of Helen of Troy (LEDA); 66A: Tennessee team (TITANS); 67A: Tennis winner's hurdle (NET); 68A: Even once (EVER); 69A: Trim (SVELTE); 1D: Home, informally (DIGS); 3D: Maker of PlugIns (GLADE); 4D: County north of Kent (ESSEX); 5D: Two-time loser to DDE (AES); 6D: Put a new book cover on (REBIND); 7D: Pope during the Battle of Ostia (LEO IV); 8D: "How cute!" (AWW); 10D: "Misty" composer Garner (ERROLL); 11D: Streak beginning? (TWO IN A ROW); 12D: Trig ratio (COSEC); 13D: Long-headed mammal (MOOSE); 18D: Former Fords (LTDS); 23D: "Don't take silly chances" (BE SAFE); 25D: Served past (ACED); 26D: "That __ fair!" (ISN'T); 27D: Hand-on-the-Bible vow (OATH); 30D: "Found it!" ("AHA!"); 31D: It stops at each sta. (LOC.); 32D: Reacted to, as sudden bright light (BLINKED AT); 33D: Swirled (EDDIED); 34D: Evansville's st. (IND.); 36D: Dander (IRE); 37D: LAX posting (ETD); 39D: Moonfish (OPAH); 40D: Subside (WANE); 41D: The Phantom of the Opera (ERIK); 47D: Plumber's piece (PIPE); 48D: Sachet emanations (SCENTS); 49D: Three-star mil. officer (LT. GEN.); 51D: Senegal's capital (DAKAR); 52D: Wax theatrical (EMOTE); 53D: Situated at a junction (NODAL); 54D: Ran through (SPENT); 58D: In __: actually (ESSE); 61D: Gun (REV); 62D: Pindar opus (ODE); 63D: Kind of engr. (CIV.).