Theme: Follow the Yellow Brick Road — On the 70th anniversary of The Wizard of Oz's national opening, theme answers begin with the three words of a classic song from the movie.
- 21A: Helpless (OVER A BARREL).
- 26A: Something wonderful, in old slang (THE BEE'S KNEES).
- 43A: '80s animated character assisted by the seven Color Kids (RAINBOW BRITE).
- 50A: Character who, in a movie released nationally 70 years ago today, sang the ballad formed by the first words of 21-, 26- and 43-Across (DOROTHY GALE).
Crosswordese 101: The SEGO lily (16A: Type of lily) is the state flower of Utah. Clues for SEGO almost always include the word lily or Utah. Sometimes the clue is a little less specific and instead of Utah, you'll see something like "Western lily." Two other things to remember are that the SEGO lily is related to the "mariposa" and its leaves are "bell-shaped." Crosswordese in today's puzzle that we've already covered includes: ELOI (60A: Morlocks' "The Time Machine" prey), ENID (2D: Oklahoma city on the Chisholm Trail), and YSER (51D: River through France and Belgium).
I liked this puzzle a lot. Sometimes old-timey phrases seem clunky to me, but THE BEE'S KNEES is just awesome. I've never heard of RAINBOW BRITE, but that didn't bother me at all. By the time I needed to know it, I had figured out the theme so the answer just fell right in. Did anyone else have trouble remembering Dorothy's last name? I know I've heard it — recently even — but it didn't immediately spring to mind. In my book, this is a solid, above-average Tuesday puzzle by an undoubted pro.
- 6A: Where many a T-shirt is tie-dyed (CAMP). PuzzleSon just tie-dyed a shirt at camp last week.
- 14A: Bernardo's girl, in "West Side Story" (ANITA). The list of girls I know from "West Side Story" includes Maria. And that's it.
- 18A: Put the kibosh on (VETO). Kibosh is an awesome word.
- 31A: "How much wood __ a woodchuck chuck ..." (WOULD). I've heard with both would and could, so I left the first letter blank until I could check the cross.
- 39A: Cass or Michelle, in the '60s (MAMA). Cass was the only one actually referred to as "Mama," but they were both part of "The Mamas and the Papas."
- 62A: Not save (SPEND). I was actually thinking of save in more of a having mercy kind of way. Like the answer for me could have been kill. Clearly, I've been watching too much TV.
- 28D: Mark's successor (EURO). Tricky! Not a person named Mark, but the German currency.
- 37D: "Fox News Sunday" panelist (BRIT HUME). Not a big fan of the Fox News, but I do like it when people get both their first and last names in the grid.
- 38D: Michigan's __ Arbor (ANN). Home of Rex Parker's alma mater and site of the 2010 Big Ten Wrestling Championships. Can't wait! Go Hawks!
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Everything Else — 1A: Punch line's lead-in (SETUP); 10A: Mil. truant (AWOL); 15A: "Rubáiyát" poet Khayyám (OMAR); 16A: Type of lily (SEGO); 17A: Generous sort (GIVER); 19A: Like most hoopsters (TALL); 20A: Fuss (ADO); 24A: Landed (ALIT); 25A: London insurance market (LLOYD'S); 32A: Weapons (ARMS); 33A: Curly and Larry's cohort (MOE); 36A: Concerning, in memos (IN RE); 37A: Rum-soaked cakes (BABAS); 40A: Prefix with thermal (GEO-); 41A: First Bond movie (DR. NO); 42A: Protection (AEGIS); 46A: Bring in from abroad (IMPORT); 49A: Overconfident morality tale critter (HARE); 53A: Past (AGO); 56A: Take a gander (LOOK); 57A: Exploitative type (USER); 58A: Felt the effects of overexertion (ACHED); 61A: Physical lead-in (META-); 63A: Hotel repository (SAFE); 64A: Important times (ERAS); 65A: Domesticates (TAMES); 1D: Drawn-out story (SAGA); 3D: VCR successor (TIVO); 4D: Sporty truck, briefly (UTE); 5D: Released with conditions (PAROLED); 6D: Violates the Tenth Commandment (COVETS); 7D: OAS part: Abbr. (AMER.); 8D: Espionage name (MATA); 9D: Predicaments (PROBLEMS); 10D: Houston team (ASTROS); 11D: Exhausted (WEARY); 12D: Leered at (OGLED); 13D: Reclines lazily (LOLLS); 22D: Compete (VIE); 23D: Brewpub brews (ALES); 24D: Competent (ABLE); 26D: Piece of kindling (TWIG); 27D: Sharpen (HONE); 29D: "Shish" dish (KABOB); 30D: Second Amendment advocacy gp. (NRA); 33D: Biblical gift bearers (MAGI); 34D: Leave out (OMIT); 35D: Alleviate (EASE); 39D: No more than (MERE); 41D: Dressmaker's seam (DART); 42D: Side by side (ABREAST); 43D: First-year player (ROOKIE); 44D: Tara family (O'HARAS); 45D: __-Mart (WAL); 46D: Doesn't do a thing (IDLES); 47D: Gelt (MOOLA); 48D: Smoking gun, e.g. (PROOF); 52D: "I __ Kick Out of You" (GET A); 53D: Polite interruption (AHEM); 54D: Trait source (GENE); 55D: Bookie's concern (ODDS); 59D: Numbers pro, briefly (CPA).