Theme: "And what would you like on that?" — Theme answers begin with a type of spreadable condiment.
- 16A: Old-fashioned remedy for chest colds (MUSTARD PLASTER).
- 26A: Rochester medical center (MAYO CLINIC).
- 36A: "Black Bottom Stomp" jazz pianist (JELLY ROLL MORTON). Before I had figured out the theme I tried to fit Earl "Fatha" Hines in this spot. He's my go-to jazz pianist.
- 43A: Lima variety (BUTTER BEAN).
- 58A: Bettor's question, and a hint to this puzzle's theme (WHAT'S THE SPREAD).
Tonight I'm pondering a deep question. How the hell do Rex and Orange do it every day, day after day, for years on end. Sometimes I just don't feel like blogging. I mean, I Just Don't Feel Like It. And yet I feel a responsibility to my co-bloggers and to our readers and, especially, to someone who might stumble upon this blog and like the way I write so much that they offer me an actual job. Shut up, it could happen.
So, I'm going to go ahead and get the ball rolling today, but I really want to hear from you all in the comments. Honestly, when you guys jump in and start chatting about the puzzle, it feels really good. And when you talk about how you're getting better at solving? Well, that totally makes my day. So let's hear about it: What did you like? What tripped you up? What came to you easily today that would have been difficult for you last month? If you're one who has switched over from the old TMS puzzle, are you getting used to this one? And why the heck is there always one red letter in the grid at the top of the day's post? (Of course I'm kidding about that last one. The FAQ is coming soon — promise!)
- 6A: Astro's cap insignia (STAR). I kept wanting it to be letters that stand for the city. HSTN? I don't know, after seeing DLR yesterday, it didn't seem completely out of the question.
- 15A: Basic language trio opener (AMO). This clue had me completely baffled. I thought the answer should be ABC, but could tell that didn't really make sense. And what word is basic modifying here? Is Latin considered a basic language? Or is AMO, AMAS, AMAT considered a basic trio? Does it matter? Well, now that you mention it, no. No, it does not.
- 19A: Ballpark souvenirs (YEARBOOKS). Me: "Foam fingers? Hot dogs? Wait, a hot dog's not a souvenir...."
- 23A: Marshlike (MIRY). Ooh, there's that word again. I'm going to start using miry the way people use gnarly. What? People don't say gnarly any more? Damn.
- 49A: Course half (NINE). Golf!
- 51A: __ proprietor (SOLE). When I first scanned this clue, the word proprietor looked like a foreign word to me. I thought it was something in Spanish that I'd never heard of, so I just passed it by. When I came back to it I felt kind of stupid.
- 62A: In concert (AS ONE). As in "people working in concert" with one another. Not as in Aerosmith — Live In Concert!
- 61A: Heifetz's teacher (AUER). No idea.
- 65A: Seed covering (TESTA). What kind of seed? Sounds dirty.
- 3D: "__-daisy!" (UPSA). Had upsy then upsi and finally UPSA.
- 12D: He "used to be the next president" (GORE). Not to start a whole political thing, but it's weird to think about how things might be different right now if Gore had won that Supreme Court case and been president instead of Bush. I almost wonder if things would have turned out so different that Obama (who, IMOO, is the coolest president ever) wouldn't be in office right now. This mental exercise would be really fun if only I still smoked pot.
- 22D: Pond film (SCUM). Eww.
- 52D: Speed skater who won "Dancing With the Stars" (OHNO). I like this clue way better than the standard "This can't be!" or "How terrible!"
- 53D: Spittoon user's sound (PTUI). I repeat, Eww.
Everything Else — 1A: Resort off Venezuela (ARUBA); 10A: Witty sort (WAG); 13A: Rodeo competitor (ROPER); 20A: Air (TUNE); 21A: Comparative words (AS AN); 22A: Household nickname (SIS); 32A: Golfer's traction aid (CLEAT); 34A: Border on (ABUT); 35A: Pay closing (-OLA); 40A: Gray's "The Bard," e.g. (ODE); 41A: __-mutuel (PARI); 42A: Chutzpah (NERVE); 47A: Pay attention to (HEED); 48A: Not squander (USE); 53A: 1892 Leoncavallo opera (PAGLIACCI); 60A: Choreographer Reinking (ANN); 63A: Place for a ring (TOE); 64A: Gets faint (DIMS); 1D: College football's Black Knights (ARMY); 2D: Lecherous sort (ROUE); 4D: Unwelcome exposure (BETRAYAL); 5D: Spirited horses (ARABS); 6D: Arizona cultural resort (SEDONA); 7D: Toll rd. (TNPK.); 8D: Is indisposed (AILS); 9D: Nutritional fig. (RDA); 10D: '60s dance (WATUSI); 11D: Call from the flock (AMEN); 17D: Knock around (ROAM); 18D: English blue cheese (STILTON); 23D: Flipping burgers, e.g. (MCJOB); 24D: __ Diable: old penal colony site (ILE DU); 25D: Subleased (RELET); 27D: "Boola Boola" singer (YALIE); 28D: On a slant: Abbr. (OBL.); 29D: Quasimodo's "our" (NOTRE); 30D: 15-Across, translated (I LOVE); 31D: Worked with wicker (CANED); 33D: Work on a galley (TYPESET); 37D: Like inverted Jenny stamps (RARE); 38D: Poetic peeper (ORB); 39D: Prepare for a show (REHEARSE); 44D: New Orleans university (TULANE); 45D: Tees off (ANGERS); 46D: Guitarist Lofgren (NILS); 50D: Try to bite, kitten-style (NIP AT); 51D: Police jacket acronym (SWAT); 54D: "Excuse me ..." (AHEM); 55D: Corp. leaders (CEOS); 56D: Defeatist's word (CAN'T); 57D: It may be half-baked (IDEA); 59D: Down (SAD).