THEME: "Changing Sides"—In familiar "blank of the blank" phrases, the first and last words are flipped, changing the meaning
- 23A: Miners' detritus? (LITTER OF THE PICK). Picture an old-time gold miner with a pick and shovel. Miners did or do use picks to dig the good stuff out of rock.
- 38A: High ground at Graceland? (HILL OF THE KING). Elvis!
- 61A: Like an estate seller? (FREE OF THE LAND). As in a big country estate rather than the possessions left behind to someone's heirs (see below).
- 85A: "Nova" episode about our sun? (SHOW OF THE STAR).
- 103A: Heirs? (PEOPLE OF THE WILL). Maybe they'll split the proceeds when that estate is sold.
- 15D: Manor owner's jewelry? (RINGS OF THE LORD). I bet he had a big estate. Wait, is this entire theme about Elvis? Did he enjoy mining and astronomy?
- 48D: Moments when an omen appears? (TIMES OF THE SIGN).
For 15D, I had the ___ OF THE LORD part and couldn't for the life of me figure out the first word. MANOR OF THE LORD was a no-go because "manor" was in the clue and manor ≠ jewelry. Then I thought of FLIES OF THE LORD, and that had comedy potential but didn't fit the crossings. What other phrases could lend themselves to this sort of theme? MATTER OF THE HEART could have been clued as a love affair. CLASS OF THE HEAD? That's totally about potty training. I don't know what to do with FATHER OF THE SINS. Ooh! BRIDE OF THE MOTHER, when Heather has two mommies in a state where same-sex marriage is legal.
Crosswordese 101: 21A: She played Roz on "Frasier" is a clue for PERI Gilpin. Her agent really needs to get her into something else big, because one of these years, she's going to be little more than a Theda Bara or Nita Naldi—an obscure actress who's crosswordese. She's better than the PERI clue alternatives, though. We've got the prefix with scope or meter approach and we've got the Persian sprite option.
And now, a few of my favorite clues and answers:
- 2D: Pearl of "St. Louis Woman" (BAILEY). I took a peek at the YouTube offerings for Pearl Bailey and this 1964 Tonight Show clip caught my eye. Usually the videos I embed here have had hundreds of thousands of views—this one, only a few hundred. But it's a good one!
- 62D: Ali's pair of socks? (ONE-TWO). Socks are boxing punches too, not just hosiery. This is the best clue I've ever seen for ONE-TWO.
- 8D: Friend of Anthony (CATT). I thought this was about Marc Antony and randomly squeezed CATO in there, which conflicted with the crossing. It took me a night of sleeping on it to realize that wer're talking about suffragists here—Susan B. Anthony's friend was Carrie CATT.
- 54D: Turkey tender (LIRAS). I wanted BASTER to fit into five squares, but it refused. But that's not what this clue is about at all. It's Turkey, the nation, and legal tender, the currency. You spend LIRAS in Ankara.
Everything Else — 1A: Knotted sash (OBI); 4A: Easy __ (AS ABC); 9A: Magnitogorsk's river (URAL); 13A: "Green __" (ACRES); 18A: Cool, in a way (FAN); 19A: Attacked (CAME AT); 22A: Toast indicator (CLINK); 23A: Miners' detritus? (LITTER OF THE PICK); 26A: Like Mr. Fix-it (HANDY); 27A: One way to think (ALOUD); 28A: Prepare for a job transfer, perhaps (RETRAIN); 29A: Fictional oil family name (EWING); 31A: Jamboree sight (TENT); 32A: Amigo (PAL); 33A: Mag. stand item (ISS.); 34A: Tries to hit (SWINGS AT); 37A: Check out (EYE); 38A: High ground at Graceland? (HILL OF THE KING); 41A: Plastic __ Band (ONO); 42A: "Wonder Dog" of comics (REX); 43A: "Free" gym gear: Abbr. (WTS.); 44A: Operate with a beam (LASE); 45A: __ concern (OF NO); 46A: Fragrant extract (ATTAR); 49A: Beyond slender (BONY); 51A: Spread choice (PATÉ); 52A: Subbed (SAT IN); 53A: Cheats (CHISELERS); 55A: Passé; demo item (TAPE); 56A: Tries to sell (PUSHES); 57A: Hit the trail, in a way (CAMPAIGN); 58A: Thames islets (AITS); 59A: "Purgatorio" writer (DANTE); 60A: 2002 baseball All-Star Game result (TIE); 61A: Like an estate seller? (FREE OF THE LAND); 64A: Word in southwestern place names (LOS); 67A: Go after (SETAT); 69A: Lofgren of the E Street Band (NILS); 70A: Democracy, e.g. (IDEOLOGY); 72A: Does an Act of Contrition (ATONES); 74A: People magazine's 1999 Sexiest Man Alive (GERE); 75A: Idealist's bane (REAL WORLD); 76A: Support (BE FOR); 77A: "Symphony in Black" artist (ERTÉ); 78A: Fishing gear (RODS); 79A: Where lines meet (NODES); 80A: Two-timers (RATS); 81A: Tug's burden (SCOW); 82A: Alter, perhaps (SEW); 83A: Comics cry (EEK); 84A: Pompeii burier (ASH); 85A: "Nova" episode about our sun? (SHOW OF THE STAR); 89A: Outsourced item, perhaps (JOB); 92A: Timon and Uncle Max, in "The Lion King" (MEERKATS); 94A: Fragrant gift (LEI); 95A: Where It.'s at (EUR.); 96A: Guitar __: video game (HERO); 97A: Like a fleabag (SEEDY); 98A: Inn crowd member (BOARDER); 100A: "Foolish Games" singer (JEWEL); 101A: Not exactly vertical (ATILT); 103A: Heirs? (PEOPLE OF THE WILL); 106A: It makes sense (LOGIC); 107A: Tombstone lawman (EARP); 108A: Looked happy (SMILED); 109A: Fed. income supplement program (SSI); 110A: "Dune" director David (LYNCH); 111A: Chop __ (SUEY); 112A: '90s "SNL" regular Cheri (OTERI); 113A: Spell (HEX); 1D: Recently (OF LATE); 3D: Sing, as a Gregorian chant (INTONE); 4D: Sailed through (ACED); 5D: Fraternal org. since 1889 (SAR); 6D: Without principles (AMORAL); 7D: Happened to (BEFELL); 9D: Snooty (UPPISH); 10D: Halter attachment (REIN); 11D: It's measured in degrees (ARC); 12D: "Me, too" ("LIKEWISE"); 13D: Sore (ACHING); 14D: Sound from a forge (CLANG); 15D: Manor owner's jewelry? (RINGS OF THE LORD); 16D: Nip in the bud (END); 17D: Word with jack or box (SKY); 20D: Using coupons, say (THRIFTY); 24D: Mild rebuke (TUT); 25D: Bridge positions (EASTS); 30D: Choice from a list (WINE); 32D: Fan mag graphics (PIX); 34D: Inline item (SKATE); 35D: Poker whiz __ Duke (ANNIE); 36D: Popeye et al. (TOONS); 38D: Next life (HEREAFTER); 39D: Dominates, in sports lingo (OWNS); 40D: Slip by (ELAPSE); 42D: Sing like Satchmo (RASP); 45D: Hops drier (OAST); 46D: S&L holding (ACCT.); 47D: Cuisine using jasmine rice (THAI); 48D: Moments when an omen appears? (TIMES OF THE SIGN); 49D: Father, biblically (BEGET); 50D: D-day invasion river (ORNE); 51D: Maze options (PATHS); 52D: Evening cocktail, to a Brit (SUNDOWNER); 55D: Mr. or Mrs. (TITLE); 56D: Comics frame (PANEL); 58D: Smoking, probably (AFIRE); 59D: Tots' pops (DADAS); 63D: Spread canards (LIED); 65D: Eye up and down (OGLE); 66D: Pink Floyd's Barrett et al. (SYDS); 68D: Space chimp (ENOS); 71D: Life rival, once (LOOK); 72D: Norm of "This Old House" (ABRAM); 73D: Get on (TEASE); 74D: Becomes (GROWS); 75D: "Lady Jane Grey" playwright (ROWE); 77D: Adaptable subspecies (ECOTYPES); 78D: Brings back on board (REHIRES); 81D: Atlantic catch (SHAD); 82D: Diamond theft? (STEAL); 83D: Musical gift (EAR); 85D: Police artist's work (SKETCH); 86D: Obsolescent data holder (FLOPPY); 87D: Deem appropriate (SEE FIT); 88D: One with a shell (TURTLE); 89D: Like some delis (JEWISH); 90D: Ominous words (OR ELSE); 91D: Mess (up) (BOLLIX); 93D: Trace of the past (RELIC); 96D: Chop down (HEW); 98D: Put to sleep, so to speak (BORE); 99D: Major-__ (DOMO); 100D: Sci-fi knight (JEDI); 101D: The whole shebang (ALL); 102D: Happy Meal throw-in (TOY); 104D: __ minérale (EAU); 105D: Self starter? (HER-).