THEME: "Obedience School"—Four phrases start with words that are also common commands to a pet dog
When I'm going through a puzzle and the clues don't point me towards the theme, I read two or more theme entries and try to figure out what they have in common. Sometimes it has to do with the last words in the phrases...so I briefly pondered what a PIKE, HANDS, BOOTY, EXECUTION theme would be about. Medieval violence...plus booty. It's got potential.
- 17A: Make an appearance (COME DOWN THE PIKE). "Come, boy. Come on! No, get away from the door. COME!"
- 26A: Do nothing (SIT ON ONE'S HANDS). "Sit, Ubu, sit."
- 48A: Dancing instruction from KC and the Sunshine Band (SHAKE YOUR BOOTY). "Shake hands, Murphy." Do you know how much time I spent trying to find a good video of this song on YouTube for last Saturday's post? I didn't like any of the videos with the band, so I went with a Simpsons butt montage set to that song. Aw, I would've saved that for today if I'd known SHAKE YOUR BOOTY was coming, rather than blowing it on DJIBOUTI. Here's a different KC song instead, another some from my tween years that gives me a tingle of guilty-pleasure nostalgia:
- 63A: Death row reprieve (STAY OF EXECUTION). Moderately depressing topic to touch on in crosswords, even though I guess a STAY is less grim. "Staaaayyyy."
- 60D: Pet targeted by the first words of this puzzle's four longest answers (FIDO). FIDO! That was just in another Saturday puzzle last weekend, clued as "name meaning 'I am faithful,'" and here it is again, anchoring a theme. You think Rex is pouting that popular dog name Rex isn't the unifying answer here?
Crosswordese 101: On Friday, Rex talked about some Scottish islands, the Hebrides, specifically SKYE and IONA. Today's topic moves across the water to the far west of Ireland and the ARAN Islands (16A: Galway Bay's __ Islands). These islands were populated over 2,000 years ago, and ruins of prehistoric forts remain. ARAN's crossword clues usually ask for Irish island or islands in Galway Bay.
Ready for some clue chit-chat?
- 38A: Fortified Portuguese wine (MADEIRA). This may be the white wine equivalent of a darker port or sherry. Fortified wines are not my thing at all. PORT, meanwhile gets a non-vino clue: 53A: Seaside city. I reckon either one could go in a CASK (10A: Winery container or CASK). But they probably won't be served over ICE, a.k.a. 34A: Bartender's rocks.
- 57A: Horace Greeley's direction for young men was to "Go WEST, young man."
- 13D: Genuflection joint (KNEE). Genu- is Latin for "knee" and flectere means "to bend," so genuflection means "to lower one's body briefly by bending one knee to the ground, typically in worship or as a sign of respect." I tell ya, hardly anybody ever genuflects to crossword constructors, but I suspect a few of them would appreciate it if we did that.
- 18D: West Virginia border river (OHIO). Dang, "West" in a clue and WEST in the grid? I hope that didn't keep anyone from writing WEST in. If you didn't get your fill of '70s music, here are the OHIO Players. You don't need to have the sound on, but I urge/press/iron you to watch it just for the Bedazzled wardrobe.
- 27D: Presses clues IRONS, but sometimes that clue will lead you to URGES. If you get a pressing urge to iron, seek help immediately.
- 61D: Large cross (ROOD). I learned this word from the Old English poem, "Dream of the Rood." Aaaand...this concludes today's medieval references.
Everything Else — 1A: Big bird's grabber (TALON); 6A: Croquet venue (LAWN); 14A: Essential acid, familiarly (AMINO); 15A: Working hard (AT IT); 20A: Bolsheviks' bane (TSAR); 21A: Ins. plans (HMOS); 22A: Auto dealer's agreement, at times (LEASE); 23A: Andy Taylor's boy (OPIE); 25A: Cloak-and-dagger org. (CIA); 33A: Movie trailer, e.g. (PROMO); 34A: Bartender's rocks (ICE); 35A: Takes home (NETS); 37A: Amorous sound (COO); 42A: Draw (TIE); 43A: Throw in a chip (ANTE); 45A: Nintendo game console (WII); 46A: Yankees' home (BRONX); 52A: "Groovy!" (RAD); 54A: More than sufficiently (AMPLY); 59A: Linc's "Mod Squad" do (AFRO); 66A: Enjoying a lot (INTO); 67A: Act the accomplice (ABET); 68A: Doomed Genesis city (SODOM); 69A: YMCA part: Abbr. (ASSN.); 70A: Lessons learned early (ABCS); 71A: Eat away at (ERODE); 1D: Diplomacy (TACT); 2D: "Famous" cookie guy (AMOS); 3D: South American capital (LIMA); 4D: Like a studio apartment (ONE-ROOM); 5D: Doze off (NOD); 6D: Marshals, usually (LAWMEN); 7D: 12 for Mg or 20 for Ca, e.g. (AT. NO.); 8D: Mental faculties (WITS); 9D: Extreme degree (NTH); 10D: Peninsula bordering Massachusetts Bay (CAPE ANN); 11D: Diva's piece (ARIA); 12D: Bloomingdale's rival (SAKS); 19D: Lamb's pen name (ELIA); 24D: __ Penh, Cambodia (PNOM); 25D: "If I Could Turn Back Time" singer (CHER); 26D: Pet welfare org. (SPCA); 28D: Place for a crown or cap (TOOTH); 29D: Old MacDonald refrain (E-I-E-I-O); 30D: Biol. or geol. (SCI.); 31D: Artoo's "surname" (DETOO); 32D: Be frugal (STINT); 36D: Erotic (SEXY); 39D: Filled with wonder (AWED); 40D: Like some home improvement projects, briefly (DIY); 41D: E.g., e.g. (ABBR.); 44D: Near the outset (EARLY ON); 47D: __ cuff: pitching injury site (ROTATOR); 49D: Fight stopper (KAYO); 50D: Underdog victories (UPSETS); 51D: Campus mil. group (ROTC); 54D: Where billions live (ASIA); 55D: "White" peaks in N.H. (MTNS.); 56D: Butter units (PATS); 57D: Jack of "Dragnet" (WEBB); 58D: Corporate VIP (EXEC); 62D: "Dinner is __" (ON ME); 64D: Flight oversight org. (FAA); 65D: Exploit (USE).