Theme: "Why, Yes!" — Theme answers are familiar phrases with a Y sound inserted into them creating new wacky phrases clued "?"-style.
[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.]
- 24A: Designer Christian doing a pirouette? (REVOLVING DIOR). Revolving door.
- 33A: Unadulterated moonshine? (PURE SPIRITS). Poor spirits. I pronounce the word pour the same as pore, so even when I got this answer through crosses, it took me a while to figure out the original phrase.
- 52A: "Actor Laurie goes after you"? (HUGH'S NEXT). Who's next?
- 69A: Pool tool in the army rec room? (MILITARY CUE). Military coup.
- 87A: Sign at a broken gas pump? (NO FUELING). No fooling.
- 104A: Ongoing dispute about chemical use in farming? (ORGANIC FEUD). Organic food.
- 115A: Former Vietnamese president's dining reservation? (TABLE FOR THIEU). Table for two.
- 3D: Gorgeous newborns? (BABY BEAUTIES). Baby booties.
- 5D: Speechless moments? (MUTE POINTS). Moot points.
- 65D: Coastal Norse horse? (FJORD MUSTANG). Ford Mustang.
- 77D: Late '70s Wimbledon headline? (BJORN AGAIN). Born again.
More? Why, yes!:
- 1A: 1987 film about Ritchie Valens (LA BAMBA). Ya know who else was in that movie? Esai Morales.
- 8A: Birthplace of St. Francis (ASSISI). I can never remember how to spell this. I just decided today that I'm going to need to remember that it starts with the word ASS. Even though St. Francis was certainly not an ASS.
- 26A: "Family Ties" mom (ELYSE). I can already hear the complaints. "What kind of spelling is that? Who knew that they used a funky spelling for her name?" Well, you will see her appear in puzzles now and again, so you might as well just do your best to remember it.
- 30A: Hip-hoppers Salt-N-__ (PEPA).
- 39A: Praying figure (ORANT). I don't believe I've ever seen this word before. Wikipedia describes ORANT as a gesture, not a figure. ("A type of gesture during prayer in which the hands are raised, set apart, and the palms face outward.")
- 59A: Pioneering electronic calculators (CASIOS). I didn't catch the plural in the clue but thought CASSIO sure didn't look right.
- 64A: Martin/Tomlin comedy (ALL OF ME). For some reason I remember that I really liked this movie. I don't remember anything specific about it, but know that it's been brought to my attention I might just watch it again.
- 81A: Done to __: repeated too often (DEATH). This is an awesome colloquial phrase that took me a while to figure out.
- 91A: Ate too much, as chips (ODED ON). I wonder why a colloquial phrase with the word death in it that doesn't literally mean death doesn't bother me, but a colloquial phrase with OD in it that doesn't literally mean overdose does. I'll need to explore that in therapy.
- 108A: Talkative bird (MYNA). Always think there should be an H at the end of this word. Can it be spelled both ways? Why, yes. Yes, it can.
- 6D: Troop gp. (BSA). Boy Scouts of America. PuzzleSon dropped out of scouts last year, but decided to try again this year, which makes me happy. Maybe because I like the scouts' concept of AKELA (105D: Cub Scout leader): basically, whoever is in charge at a given time is AKELA. So in school, the teacher is AKELA, at home I'm AKELA, etc.
- 9D: Brother of Moe and Curly (SHEMP). Thought it was Shep.
- 16D: Chocoholic desserts (MUD PIES). Have you had the Starbucks mud pie ice cream? It's to die for. I quit eating sugar about a month ago and now I dream about this stuff.
- 18D: War on Poverty org. (OEO). The Office of Economic Opportunity. The OEO was discontinued in 1974, but some of its programs (e.g., Job Corps and Head Start) still exist under other government agencies.
- 36D: Medicinal shrub (SENNA). Sorry. The only medicinal shrub I know is aloe.
- 49D: Small-strip aircraft acronym (STOL). No idea what this means. Let's see ... Short Take-Off and Landing.
- 53D: Yankee manager Joe (GIRARDI). I'm sorry, but anything but Torre after "Yankee manager Joe" just looks wrong to me.
- 67D: Mass. senator's monogram, 1962-2009 (EMK). The Liberal Lion, Edward M. Kennedy.
- 71D: Sound barrier breaker Chuck (YEAGER). Whenever I think of Chuck Yeager, I picture Sam Shepard. What's that all about? Aha! Shepard played Chuck Yeager in "The Right Stuff," which I also recall is an excellent movie. I'm gonna have to join Netflix one of these days.
- 106D: Excellent (NIFTY). Your assignment for today is to use this word in conversation.
- 121D: Braves' div. (NLE). Someday I'm going to memorize which teams are in which division. But not today.
Crosswordese in today's puzzle that we've already covered includes ULNAS (50A: Radii neighbors), (4D: Son of Zeus), (11D: UN workers' agcy), SSR (19D: Lith., e.g., once), ESAU (54D: Isaac's eldest), and AARE (56D: Bern's river).
Everything Else — 14A: Airheads (DUMBOS); 20A: Hurrying (IN A RUSH); 21A: Ahab or his craft (WHALER); 22A: Accustoms (ENURES); 23A: Lhasa native (TIBETAN); 27A: __ disease: tick-borne illness (LYME); 28A: Dance parts (STEPS); 29A: Tease (RIB); 38A: Hydrocarbon suffix (-ANE); 41A: John, Paul and John Paul (POPES); 44A: Grazing ground (LEA); 45A: "What an exhausting day!" ("I'M BEAT!"); 47A: Like musically challenged ears? (TIN); 48A: Ancient mystic (ESSENE); 50A: Radii neighbors (ULNAS); 55A: Clinch, with "up" (SEW); 56A: Quarreling (AT IT); 57A: Singer Lopez (TRINI); 61A: Leaves port (SAILS); 62A: End of __ (AN ERA); 68A: Long haul (TREK); 73A: In __: stuck (A JAM); 74A: Lives (RESIDES); 76A: Diner's decision (ORDER); 77A: N.L. career stolen base leader Lou (BROCK); 78A: Nobleman's address (MILORD); 83A: Creep (JERK); 84A: Central: Prefix (MID-); 89A: Equally bizarre (AS ODD); 93A: Sgt., e.g. (NCO); 94A: State of mind (TEMPER); 96A: Unruly locks (MOP); 99A: "Later!" ("CIAO!"); 100A: Jack's fairy tale victim (GIANT); 102A: Mature on the vine (RIPEN); 103A: Old Mideast assn. (UAR); 109A: Cousin of calypso (SKA); 110A: Invite for a nightcap (ASK IN); 111A: Garage job (LUBE); 113A: "The meek shall inherit the Earth, but not its mineral rights" speaker (GETTY); 120A: How some stunts are done (ON A DARE); 122A: Prepare to leave one's plane seat (UNBELT); 123A: 1-Across, e.g. (BIOPIC); 124A: Wheel adjuster (ALIGNER); 125A: Seaman's "Help!" ("MAY DAY!"); 126A: Declines (SAYS NO); 127A: Breaks a promise (RENEGES); 1D: Hardly figurative (LITERAL); 2D: Oily compound used in dyes (ANILINE); 4D: Son of Zeus (ARES); 7D: Philip of "Kung Fu" (AHN); 8D: Haywire (AWRY); 10D: Put aside (SAVE UP); 11D: UN workers' agcy. (ILO); 12D: French seasoning (SEL); 13D: "Mr. Chicago" journalist Kupcinet (IRV); 14D: Teeth: Prefix (DENTI-); 15D: Felix the neatnik (UNGER); 17D: Brush hairs (BRISTLES); 19D: Lith., e.g., once (SSR); 25D: AOL and MSN (ISPS); 27D: Swimmer's slot (LANE); 31D: Humorist Bombeck (ERMA); 32D: Blue Ribbon brewer (PABST); 34D: "Portnoy's Complaint" author (ROTH); 35D: Protestant denom. (EPISC.); 37D: On one's rocker? (SANE); 40D: Sesame paste (TAHINI); 43D: Fresh (NEW); 46D: Set the radio dial on (TUNE TO); 48D: Banishment (EXILE); 51D: Rapper with the debut album "Hard Core" (LIL' KIM); 54D: Isaac's eldest (ESAU); 56D: Bern's river (AARE); 58D: "Too Ra Loo Ra Loo __": Irish classic (RAL); 60D: Skyrocketed (SOARED); 61D: Narrow waterway: Abbr. (STR.); 63D: Impassioned (ARDENT); 66D: Keystone Cops creator Sennett (MACK); 69D: Honeydew, e.g. (MELON); 70D: __ use: avails (IS OF); 72D: PC component (CRT); 75D: Bedrock pet (DINO); 79D: Written in mystical letters (RUNIC); 80D: Cappuccino request (DECAF); 82D: Glad (HAPPY); 84D: Comfy footwear (MOC); 85D: Personal: Prefix (IDIO-); 86D: Support column? (DEAR ABBY); 88D: Solitary (LONE); 90D: Caught in the act (SEEN); 92D: Iditarod vehicle (DOGSLED); 95D: Act out in charades (MIME); 97D: Strength symbol (OAK TREE); 98D: Mass communications? (PRAYERS); 100D: NFL Hall of Famer Marchetti (GINO); 101D: Dutch export (TULIPS); 107D: Expected to arrive (DUE IN); 112D: Osso __ (BUCO); 114D: Brink (EDGE); 115D: "Cats" cat Rum __ Tugger (TUM); 116D: Santa __ winds (ANA); 117D: NFL ball carriers (RBS); 118D: __ Maria: liqueur (TIA); 119D: José's "today" (HOY); 120D: Row (OAR).