[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: "Great Direction" — A puzzle memorializing director Elia Kazan on what would have been his 100th birthday.
- 23A: *1947 Tony-winning Arthur Miller play (ALL MY SONS).
- 28A/113A: *1949 Tony-winning play starring Lee J. Cobb (DEATH OF A SALESMAN).
- 42A/45A: *1945 film based on a Betty Smith novel (A TREE GROWS IN BROOKLYN).
- 68A: *1947 Tennessee Williams play (A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE).
- 94A: *1955 film based on a Steinbeck novel (EAST OF EDEN).
- 97A: *1952 biopic starring Marlon Brando (VIVA ZAPATA!).
- 123A: Born 9/7/1909, he directed the answers to starred clues (ELIA KAZAN).
Crosswordese 101: If you don't know what TET is, well, it's time you learned. It's the Vietnamese New Year. It's based on the lunar calendar, though, so it takes place in late January or early February. It's often clued like it is today — 64D: Hanoi holidays — but sometimes the modifier is less specific (e.g., Vietnamese, Asian, or even just Eastern). And we can thank our lucky stars that we very rarely see it pluralized like it is today.
Crosswordese in today's puzzle that we've already covered includes À MOI (78A: Mine, in Marseille), REOS (108A: Flying Cloud et al.), ERLE (2D: First name in courtroom fiction), and TSAR (87D: Ivan IV, for one).
- 9A: Philosopher William of __, known for his "razor" (OCCAM). I know there's a thing called Occam's Razor but I don't know exactly what it is.
- 21A: "Moi?" ("WHO ME?"). Has to be said with the right inflection of course. I didn't notice until I started on this write-up that moi also appears in an answer (78A: Mine, in Marseille (À MOI)).
- 27A: Pinocchio's creator (GEPPETTO). Had a leetle trouble with the spelling here.
- 30A: Cartoonist Keane (BIL). Bil, Ric Ocasek, and Nicolas Cage are founders of the "Famous People Missing a Letter Club."
- 58A: "__-haw!" (YEE). I always think this is going to be hee, and it almost never is.
- 67A: Head, in slang (NOB). Ne-ever heard this word.
- 81A: Disco guy on "The Simpsons" (STU). I've only seen a few episodes of "The Simpsons" over the years but I've got a pretty good handle on the characters just from doing crossword puzzles.
- 115A: Loner (MAVERICK). Specifically, an "unbranded range animal." The word derives from Samuel A. Maverick's name. He did not brand his calves.
- 125A: Nicholas Gage memoir (ELENI). Speaking of Nicolas Cage! Oh wait.
- 130A: Longtime Yugoslav leader (TITO).
- 5D: End of a journey (LAST LEG). This confused me because I could only think the end of a journey would be the destination, not the last part of it.
- 11D: Egyptian Christian (COPT). If you say so.
- 12D: Menotti title lad (AMAHL). From the American opera Amahl and the Night Visitors. Learned it from crosswords.
- 34D: Pharaohs' crosses (ANKHS). Runner-up for today's Crosswordese 101 lesson. It's a hieroglyphic character that means "eternal life."
- 43D: Diamond flaw? (ERROR). Baseball!
- 49D: Téa of "Spanglish" (LEONI). I have something I want to say about her, but I'm not sure it's okay.
- 70D: Un + deux (TROIS). French!
- 82D: Record, nowadays (TIVO). I love TiVo! I miss my TiVo! When we moved to Virginia, we signed up with Verizon Fios and started using their far inferior DVRs. Next time we move I think I'll try to get TiVo back.
- 89D: Snap (GO POSTAL). The Cruciverb data base only has this phrase listed three times as an answer. I was pretty sure I'd never seen it before. I like it.
- 96D: 11th century conquerors (NORMANS). Also a boy I dated in high school and his brothers. You probably won't see them in a puzzle any time soon though.
Everything Else — 1A: Anabaptists, e.g. (SECT); 5A: "Auld __ Syne" (LANG); 14A: Name on a WWII bomber (ENOLA); 19A: Faithful (TRUE); 20A: Inter __: among others (ALIA); 22A: Warning wail (SIREN); 25A: Go after, puppy-style (NIP AT); 26A: Static problem (CLING); 31A: Nocturnal hunter (OWL); 32A: Unicorn feature (HORN); 33A: Alsace-__: French region (LORRAINE); 35A: Sta-__: fabric softener (PUF); 38A: Use up (EXHAUST); 41A: Car starter: Abbr. (IGN.); 52A: Memorize (LEARN); 53A: Crooked (ASKEW); 55A: In the style of (À LA); 56A: "Of __ Sing" (THEE I); 57A: Boot add-ons (SPURS); 59A: Ivy League city (ITHACA); 62A: Only okay (SO-SO); 63A: So yesterday (OUT); 65A: German pastries (STRUDELS); 75A: Patriotic women's org. (DAR); 76A: Rats (STOOLIES); 77A: Pantry concern (ANT); 80A: Emphasize (STRESS); 84A: Nine Inch Nails founder Reznor (TRENT); 88A: Auctioneer's word (GOING); 90A: Layer (HEN); 91A: Greeted and seated (SAW IN); 93A: Shankar's repertoire (RAGAS); 99A: Unlock, poetically (OPE); 100A: "Yikes!" ("OMIGOSH!"); 102A: Berlin article (DER); 103A: Sinuous comics villain (CATWOMAN); 109A: Former comm. giant (ITT); 112A: Sharing word (OUR); 120A: Lyric poet (ODIST); 122A: Praiseful hymn (PAEAN); 124A: Sign with scales (LIBRA); 126A: Artistic Chinese dynasty (MING); 127A: Old king of rhyme (COLE); 128A: Filch (STEAL); 129A: Pick up on (SENSE); 131A: Goofing off (IDLE); 1D: Doe's beau (STAG); 3D: Cosby's "I Spy" costar (CULP); 4D: Largo, e.g. (TEMPO); 6D: Scads (A LOT); 7D: Bolivian boy (NIÑO); 8D: Lot of fun, slangily (GAS); 9D: Sports negotiations side (OWNERS); 10D: Tuscan red (CHIANTI); 13D: "Ditto" ("ME TOO"); 14D: Snail on la carte (ESCARGOT); 15D: Nada (NIL); 16D: African grassland grazer (ORIBI); 17D: Red Square honoree (LENIN); 18D: Reporter's slant (ANGLE); 24D: Bow wood (YEW); 28D: Throw water on (DOUSE); 29D: Cold, to Carlos (FRÍO); 32D: "Training Day" actor Ethan (HAWKE); 35D: They hang together (PALS); 36D: Lone Star State sch. (UTEP); 37D: Haus wife (FRAU); 39D: It precedes Yankee in the phonetic alphabet (X-RAY); 40D: Hornswoggle (HOSE); 44D: Comes afterward (ENSUES); 46D: Book before Habakkuk (NAHUM); 47D: Cutting edge (BLADE); 48D: Sped (RACED); 50D: "__ no?" (YES OR); 51D: "Like __, all tears ...": Hamlet (NIOBE); 54D: Courtroom expert, often (WITNESS); 60D: Singer's syllables (TRAS); 61D: "M*A*S*H" star (ALDA); 65D: Hindu honorifics (SRIS); 66D: Nissan compact (SENTRA); 68D: Saw (ADAGE); 69D: Pago Pago's nation (SAMOA); 71D: "Takin' It __ Streets": Doobie Brothers hit (TO THE); 72D: Cut out the middle of (CORED); 73D: Coeur d'__, Idaho (ALENE); 74D: Guitar attachment (STRAP); 79D: Being hauled (IN TOW); 81D: Sips' opposites (SWIGS); 83D: Some, in Seville (UNAS); 85D: "Zounds!" ("EGAD!"); 86D: Basketball Hall of Famer Archibald (NATE); 92D: Orly lander (AVION); 95D: Disaster relief org. (FEMA); 98D: Title hero who married Tonya Gromeko (ZHIVAGO); 101D: Bad guy (MEANIE); 103D: Becomes less angry, with "off" (COOLS); 104D: Tax filer's fear (AUDIT); 105D: Navajo, e.g. (TRIBE); 106D: Suisse range (ALPES); 107D: Author Zora __ Hurston (NEALE); 110D: Shatner's "__War" (TEK); 111D: Actress Bingham or Lords (TRACI); 114D: Spotted (SEEN); 115D: Mid 11th century year (MLII); 116D: "It __ over till it's over": Berra (AIN'T); 117D: Eddie Bauer competitor (IZOD); 118D: Summon (CALL); 119D: "Trick" joint (KNEE); 121D: Sp. title (SRA.).