Theme: "Home for Sale Ads" — Theme answers tell us what Realtors really mean.
- 17A: Realtor's "lavish landscaping"? Frankly, there are __ (WEEDS EVERYWHERE).
- 24A: Realtor's "charming"? Actually, it's __ (REALLY TINY).
- 35A: Realtor's "expansive backyard"? Honestly, there's __ (NO POOL OR SPA).
- 45A: Realtor's "needs TLC"? Candidly, __ (IT'S A PIG STY).
- 53A: Realtor's "quiet setting"? Truthfully, it's __ (OUT IN THE BOONIES).
I totally forgot that I was supposed to blog last night, so I solved the puzzle really late and now I'm sitting in the parking lot at the pool while the PuzzleKids are at their swim team practice. Hoping I can get this done and posted by 10:00 Eastern — which is the deadline my co-bloggers and I have given ourselves for this little adventure. No internet connection so I'll have to throw in pictures, etc., when I get back home. Tick! Tock! Tick! Tock! Better get started!
Having both bought and sold a home and found a rental house in the last few years, I could appreciate this theme. Those Realtors can sure be spin doctors, can't they?? I have to admit I'm not crazy about the middle theme answer: NO POOL OR SPA. It just seems like that's not something a Realtor would actually "lie" about because nobody would expect to have a pool unless the ad specifically said "pool." And the "or spa" part just feels clunky to me. I wonder if this puzzle would have been better with only the four theme answers. I'm thinking yes.
As for the fill, you really don't like to see a letter string (10D: E followers (FGH)) and a Random Roman Numeral (tm) (18D: CCLI doubled (DII)) in the same puzzle. But the only other real clunkers for me were the geographic-specific clues. Having never been to California ever in my entire life, I can get some of the cities, but I have no chance with 41A: Arroyo SECO (41A: Southern California watershed). But this is the Los Angeles Times, after all, so I'm going to call that clue fair. Then there's SYMS, the "Northeast clothing chain" (61A). Is Washington, D.C., considered northeast? If so, I've lived in the northeast for 17 years and I have just a really vague and hazy idea that I've heard of SYMS before. How about you guys?
But you know what? "The 'this' in 'This just in'" is an awesome clue for NEWS ITEM (35D). Do news anchors use this phrase any more? It feels to me like something old fashioned that comedians have co-opted to signal faux seriousness. Think "Weekend Update." (Why can't I find a video of Chevy Chase saying "This just in: Generalissimo Francisco Franco is still dead"??) I also really like the clue for ROGET — 32D: Man of many words. Who hasn't been helped out by ROGET's many words at one time or another?
- 28A: Opposite of FF (REW). I was thinking FF as fortissimo and wanted the answer to be "PP," which, of course, is something you'll never see in any good puzzle because it's only two letters.
- 29A: Student's buy (TEXT). There's gotta be some clever ways to clue this word these days. I would have preferred a more up-to-date clue here. Plus, I don't ever remember referring to textbooks as texts in college.
- 31A: Toaster treat (POP TART). I successfully talked myself out of buying some just yesterday! Mmmm, Pop Tarts!
- 50A: Homer consequence (RBI). Veerrry tricky! In this case "homer" means a home run in baseball, for which the batter's statistics will subsequently reflect a Run Batted In.
- 8D: Florida's "Blue Monster" golf course (DORAL). PuzzleHusband would be so proud of me for getting this one off just the D. I never watched golf before I met him and now I even follow Stewart Cink on Twitter. I think that alone makes me a fan of the sport.
- 11D: City north of Des Moines (AMES, IOWA). So I'm thinking to myself "Well, Ames is north of Des Moines and that's really pretty much all there is of any consequence north of Des Moines that's still in Iowa. Eight letters? WTF?" Ames, Iowa, of course, is the home of the Iowa State University Cyclones, who will no doubt have their asses handed to them again this year by the University of Iowa Hawkeye wrestling team.
- 12D: Perform a shampooing step (RERINSE). Me: "Lather. Rinse. Repeat. None of those fit." I guess this is the "repeat" part.
- 36D: __-Cat (SNO). Still thinking about Pop Tarts, I misread this clue and only wanted Kit-Kat.
- 48D: Cartoonist Wilson (GAHAN). Ooh, should have included him up top in the clunkers section. Wilson Gahan? Gahan Wilson? Who is this person? If I had an internet connection I'd look him up right now. Oh wait, I have an iPhone. Hold on. Okay, he's an illustrator/cartoonist often compared to Chaz Addams but, according to Wikipedia, "while both men sometimes feature vampires, graveyards and other traditional horror elements in their work Addams's cartoons tended to be more gothic, reserved and old-fashioned, while Wilson's work is more contemporary, gross, and confrontational, featuring atomic mutants, subway monsters, and serial killers." I'll see if I can find something appropriately contemporary, gross, and confrontational to accompany this post.
- 57D: Alley __ (OOP). To my mind, there's nothing prettier in sports than the alley oop.
[Follow PuzzleGirl on Twitter.]
Everything Else — 1A: English majors' degs. (BAS); 4A: Not for most teens (RATED R); 10A: Gambling game (FARO); 14A: Downed (ATE); 15A: "Same here" ("I DO TOO"); 16A: "The X-Files" extras (G-MEN); 20A: Hi-tech eye surgery (LASIK); 21A: Sound at a spa (AAH); 22A: German pronoun (SIE); 23A: Actor Morales (ESAI); 30A: Stood (ROSE); 34A: Blown away (AWED); 37A: Eisner's successor at Disney (IGER); 39A: Ad staples (SLOGANS); 40A: Speaker before Dennis (NEWT); 42A: Mass vestment (ALB); 49A: Diction problem (SLUR); 52A: Deadly snake (COBRA); 58A: Tiny time pd. (N-SEC); 59A: Barrel cleaner (RAMROD); 60A: Robertson of CNN (NIC); 62A: Recorded (ON TAPE); 63A: "Starpeace" album maker, 1985 (ONO); 1D: Loud crier (BAWLER); 2D: Relaxed (AT EASE); 3D: Go up and down (SEE-SAW); 4D: Reward seeker's concern (RISK); 5D: Gator chaser? (-ADE); 6D: Good, in Hebrew (TOV); 7D: Hot time in Paris (ÉTÉ); 9D: King or queen (ROYAL); 13D: Like two jacks (ONE-EYED); 19D: Kid's query (WHY); 24D: Deadbeats' autos, eventually (REPOS); 25D: Praise (EXTOL); 26D: Baffled (AT A LOSS); 27D: Corners (TRAPS); 29D: Preeminent (TOP); 31D: Potty opening? (PORTA-); 33D: Frequent leading man for Hepburn (TRACY); 37D: Shackled (IN IRONS); 38D: Order to a slacker (GET BUSY); 42D: White rat, e.g. (ALBINO); 43D: Entice (LURE IN); 44D: FBI undercover agent Donnie, title subject of a 1997 film (BRASCO); 46D: Put down in writing? (PAN); 47D: Opening words (INTRO); 49D: Boy (SON); 52D: UPC part (CODE); 54D: Suffix with robot (-ICS); 55D: 911 respondent (EMT); 56D: Support provider (BRA).