Theme: Earth Puzzles Are Easy — Theme answers have the word earth hidden in them.
- 17A: Dispel hostile feelings (CLEAR THE AIR).
- 28A: "Maude" actress (BEATRICE ARTHUR).
- 44A: "Please tell me you're not serious" ("I DIDN'T HEAR THAT").
- 26D: Scarcities (DEARTHS).
- 53A: "The Lord of the Rings" region, and a hint to the shared feature of 17-, 28- and 44-Across and 26-Down (MIDDLE EARTH).
Crosswordese 101: I believe every member of the Addams household has appeared in a puzzle at one time or another, but the most popular is, of course, Cousin ITT (46D: Cousin from an "altogether ooky" family). Okay, this is weird. I just looked up all the Addams Family names in the cruciverb.com data base and every single one of them appears at least once clued in relation to The Addams Family. Except ... Wednesday. The word Wednesday does not appear in the data base at all. Not even clued as a day of the week. Every other day of the week is there. But not Wednesday. What the heck is going on there?? Oh wait, I lied. Also no Pugsley. But still: no Wednesday?! Wait, what were we talking about again? Oh yes, Cousin (which I always mistype "cousing") ITT. ITT is occasionally clued as the Former communications contractor / giant / conglomerate, but most of the time words like Addams, cousin, or hairy will tip you off. Previously covered crosswordese appearing in this puzzle includes: APISH (1A: Simian), YENTL (35A: Streisand cross-dressing role) and LAHR (6D: Portrayer of an Oz feline). Just in case you feel like having a little review today.
I'm getting super excited about Lollapuzzoola 2, the crossword puzzle tournament in New York this weekend. Rex and I will be movin' and shaking'. Eatin' with some people over here, drinking' with some folks over there, possibly — finally! — spendin' some time workin' toward comin' through on our threat of makin' his blog pretty. The dropping the g thing is getting old, isn't it? Sorry about that. Anyway! If you'll be in New York this Saturday and you haven't signed up yet, what are you waiting for? If it's anything like last year's event, all kinds of puzzle geeks (like me! ... and you!) will be there having a blast and eating what I believe will be crossword-inspired snacks. That's right: Oreos! You really shouldn't miss it.
But what about the puzzle?
- 6A: Server's tool (LADLE). I can never remember if it ends in -LE or -EL.
- 21A: Sound quality? (SANITY). As in, having a sound mind.
- 26A: RFK Stadium soccer team (D.C. UNITED).
- 30A: Ancient spell caster (MAGE). Ooh, the singular. Me no likey.
- 59A: Nuevo __: Peru's currency (SOL). Money named for the sun. That's cool.
- 63A: Raid targets (DRUGS). I had pests at first.
- 9D: Retiree's abundance (LEISURE). PuzzleHusband would have clued this "Stay-at-home mom's abundance." Because he has No Idea.
- 11D: Where it originally was (IN SITU). Latin!
- 27D: Chess move you can only make once (CASTLE). Well, once per game anyway.
- 36D: Hold spellbound (ENTHRALL). Tried entrance first.
- 37D: Big Apple neighborhood near the Bowery (NOHO). Short for North of Houston (which is pronounced House-ton in case you didn't know).
- 41D: More likely to explode (ANGRIER). (I apologize that I couldn't find a clip of this song without her yammering away for two minutes before they start the sangin'! Seriously, just skip to the 2:00 mark.):
- 42D: "Dog the Bounty Hunter" airer (A AND E). You've been working hard and paying attention and you were Not Tricked By This! (were you?)
- 54D: "In My Bed" R&B group __ Hill (DRU). No idea how I knew this. Only makes me think of Dulé Hill.
Everything Else — 1A: Simian (APISH); 11A: Queasy, perhaps (ILL); 14A: Where the 4077th MASH served (KOREA); 15A: Mammy's boy (ABNER); 16A: Zero (NIL); 19A: Bay Area airport letters (SFO); 20A: Nose-wrinkler in the fridge, say (ODOR); 23A: Shoe part (INSTEP); 31A: Drink that can follow a shot (CHASER); 32A: Oldest of the Fab Four (STARR); 34A: Creative pursuit (ART); 40A: "Born in __": Cheech Marin film (EAST L.A.); 43A: Screenwriter Ephron (NORA); 48A: Mentored ones (PROTÉGÉS); 49A: Words of resignation (NO HOPE); 50A: It may be wireless (ROUTER); 51A: It's written on an env. (ADDR.); 52A: Flow back (EBB); 60A: Causing chills (EERIE); 61A: Item on a cocktail toothpick (OLIVE); 62A: Trough site (STY); 64A: Play in the tub (SLOSH); 1D: "Best in Show" org. (AKC); 2D: Ballot figure (POL); 3D: Fury (IRE); 4D: Aquarium frolicker (SEA OTTER); 5D: More puzzling (HARDER); 7D: Pulitzer winner Burrows (ABE); 8D: Microscopic crime scene clue, briefly (DNA); 10D: Knightly news? (ERRANTRY); 12D: Crane, at times (LIFTER); 13D: Bentsen who said to Quayle, "Senator, you're no Jack Kennedy" (LLOYD); 18D: Subject (TOPIC); 22D: Fed. research agency (NIH); 23D: Selectric typewriters, e.g. (IBMS); 24D: Scotch order (NEAT); 25D: Epic tale (SAGA); 29D: Pure (CHASTE); 33D: Cashed in (REDEEMED); 38D: Drainpipe section (TRAP); 39D: Not on schedule (LATE); 44D: 1950 classic sci-fi short story book (I ROBOT); 45D: To twice the degree (DOUBLY); 47D: Events with some very short rides (RODEOS); 48D: Publicity (PRESS); 51D: Malty mugfuls (ALES); 55D: Archaeologist's project (DIG); 56D: Carnival resort (RIO); 57D: Some are HD (TVS); 58D: Snicker sound (HEH).