[Note: This is the syndicated L.A. Times puzzle. It does not appear in the actual newspaper, but is available for free at cruciverb.com.]
Theme: "Organ Transplants" — Words for organs of the human body are removed from familiar phrases in the top half of the puzzle and transplanted into familiar phrases in the bottom half of the puzzle.
- 24A: Pool hall "Better luck next time"? ([heart]FELT CONDOLENCES).
- 30A: Sound of a breakup? ([ear-]SPLITTING NOISE).
- 43A: Columbus college funds? (OHIO STATE BUCK[eye]S).
- 52A: Temper tantrum? ([brain]STORMING SESSION).
- 73A: Steinway's idea for a large piano? (GRAND BRAINCHILD).
- 80A: Minimum for a Maybelline ad shoot? (FORTY EYELASHES).
- 91A: Place-marking lessons for readers? (DOGEAR TRAINING).
- 102A: Sorrows behind bars? (JAIL HEARTBREAKS).
Crosswordese in this puzzle that we've already covered includes ALAI (27A: Jai __), OLIO (47A: Medley), SST (90A: Concorde, e.g.), and SARI (97D: Delhi wrap).
We've got a really ambitious theme today and I think it turned out great! I love that each "organ" taken out of a theme answer in the top half of the grid is transplanted into its symmetrical partner in the bottom half of the grid. Elegant! I'm sure that's why Dan Naddor gets paid the big bucks.
- 12A: Concert dancing areas (MOSH PITS). Oh to be young again.
- 29A: Golfer Woosnam (IAN). I'm embarrassed I didn't know his first name.
- 60A: They may be girded before battle (LOINS). Alrighty then.
- 67A: Text alternative (PHONE). When I just don't feel like going all the way downstairs to talk to PuzzleHusband, sometimes I text him. Other times I call him on the phone.
- 76A: China setting (ASIA). The country, not the dishes.
- 99A: "24" superagent (BAUER). When Eddie Bauer was in the puzzle earlier this week, I thought to myself "I'd prefer to see a '24' clue here." Guess I just needed to be patient.
- 106A: Cuban dance (RUMBA). I always want this word to have an H in it. Like rhombus I guess.
- 110A: Distribution slips? (MISDEALS). If you slip up while you're distributing cards, that might result in a misdeal.
- 4D: Meteorologist, at times (PREDICTOR). Because wild-ass guesser wouldn't fit.
- 13D: Yoko et al. (ONOS). Ooh, ouch. This one hurts a little. Are there other Onos?
- 16D: It's pressed in distress (PANIC BUTTON).
- 46D: Half of an old radio duo (AMOS). I started filling in the A thinking "Oh, that's easy: AMOS," realizing half a second later it could just has easily have been Andy.
- 63D: Will (SHALL). I know there's a difference between will and shall. I just don't know what it is.
- 70D: The Kennedys, e.g. (CLAN). *sniff*
- 73D: "Let's Get It On" singer (GAYE).
- 93D: Rodeo rope (RIATA). Did you try lasso? I did.
Everything Else — 1A: "Satisfied?" ("HAPPY?"); 6A: Controversial initiation practice (HAZING); 20A: What Mexican Olympians go for (EL ORO); 21A: "Kick it up a notch!" chef (EMERIL); 22A: Internal company info-sharing system (INTRANET); 23A: Rockies music festival site (ASPEN); 26A: Garish (LOUD); 28A: Rock outcroppings (CRAGS); 33A: Elmer, to Bugs (DOC); 35A: Squirreled-away item (ACORN); 36A: Supportive cheer (OLÉ); 37A: Fighters' home (AIRBASE); 41A: Body language? (TATTOO); 48A: Colombian city (CALI); 50A: Managed care gps. (HMOS); 51A: Abound (TEEM); 57A: N.J. town on the Hudson (FT. LEE); 58A: Junior (SON); 59A: Itty-bitty bit (IOTA); 61A: Zagreb native (CROAT); 62A: Furthermore (PLUS); 63A: Wall supports (STUDS); 64A: Comparison word (THAN); 65A: MP quarries (AWOLS); 68A: Romulus, e.g. (TWIN); 69A: AT&T rival, once (MCI); 72A: Minos' domain (CRETE); 77A: Play a mean sax, say (WAIL); 78A: Stretching discipline (YOGA); 85A: Surgical solution (SALINE); 87A: Back (ENDORSE); 88A: Fabrication (LIE); 89A: Words to live by (TENET); 97A: '50s song syllable (SHA); 100A: Markers (IOUS); 101A: Schlep (HAUL); 107A: Taxpayer's headache (IRS AUDIT); 108A: Go off on (RANT AT); 109A: Diarist Nin (ANAÏS); 111A: Ore appraisals (ASSAYS); 112A: Old lab heaters (ETNAS); 1D: Gets better (HEALS); 2D: 1940s-'70s journalist Stewart (ALSOP); 3D: Resident count (POPULATION); 5D: Hither's partner (YON); 6D: "Battle Cry" actor Van (HEFLIN); 7D: "You're __ one, Mister Grinch" (A MEAN); 8D: Woody Allen mockumentary (ZELIG); 9D: NYC subway line (IRT); 10D: Composer Paganini (NICCOLO); 11D: Morning __: flowers (GLORIES); 12D: Gnatlike insect (MIDGE); 14D: N.L. Central team (STL); 15D: Charlemagne's realm: Abbr. (HRE); 17D: Machu Picchu builder (INCA); 18D: Minor, usually (TEEN); 19D: Map abbrs. (STS.); 25D: "If I Ruled the World" rapper (NAS); 27D: Just plain awful (ATROCIOUS); 31D: Overly (TOO); 32D: "__ didn't!" (NO I); 33D: Goes kaput (DIES); 34D: Sun or moon (ORB); 37D: Hardly hardly (A TON); 38D: Amtrak's "bullet train" (ACELA); 39D: It's similar to sporting clays (SKEET); 40D: Salinger heroine (ESME); 41D: Discard (TOSS); 42D: Chorus line (ALTO); 43D: Gymnast Korbut (OLGA); 44D: Old what's-__-name (HIS); 45D: Dilutes (THINS); 49D: Farm workers? (ANTS); 53D: __ Bornes: card game (MILLE); 54D: John of England (ELTON); 55D: Rational (SOUND); 56D: Cassette half (SIDE B); 57D: Swiss capital (FRANC); 61D: Segment of the western Pacific (CHINA SEAS); 62D: Picnic side (POTATO SALAD); 64D: Nest component (TWIG); 65D: Illegal firing? (ARSON); 66D: Bizarre (WEIRD); 67D: __-dieu (PRIE); 68D: New Mexico art community (TAOS); 69D: Revolutionary soldier (MILITIA MAN); 71D: Loaf at work (IDLE); 72D: Bistro (CAFE); 74D: Loaf in a deli (RYE); 75D: "Twister" actress (HELEN HUNT); 77D: Wild place? (WEST); 81D: Jr. and sr. (YRS.); 82D: Subject with many unknowns (ALGEBRA); 83D: Milieu for John Muir, with "the" (SIERRAS); 84D: "Isn't __ bit like you and me?": Beatles lyric (HE A); 86D: Request to Sajak (AN I); 89D: Estate lawyer's specialty (TRUSTS); 91D: Dashes (DARTS); 92D: In the open (OUT); 94D: Wine mentioned in Hungary's national anthem (TOKAY); 95D: Egypt-Sudan region (NUBIA); 96D: Calm water metaphor (GLASS); 97D: Delhi wrap (SARI); 98D: Catcall (HISS); 99D: Leave quickly, in slang (BAIL); 102D: Dandy dude? (JIM); 103D: Shade (HUE); 104D: Author LeShan (EDA); 105D: USNA grad (ENS.); 106D: English singer Corinne Bailey __ (RAE).