THEME: "76 Trombones – 73 Trombones = 3 Trombones"—Three phrases that have nothing to do with musical instruments are clued as if they do
(I didn't actually watch that clip, nor have I see the musical in its entirety. Or in part. Musicals are not my bag.)
- 20A: Big Southwestern trombones? (TEXAS LONGHORNS). The Texas Longhorns are both a college sports team and a breed of cattle (and beetles!). I was going to include a photo of the Asian long-horned beetles that pose a threat to American trees, but they were too creepy-looking and gave me the willies.
- 37A: Refined trombones? (POLISHED BRASS). Horns are brass instruments, which, like anything brass, likes a good polishing. I'm thinking this answer isn't quite an in-the-language phrase like the crisp TEXAS LONGHORNS is.
- 54A: Continuously-playing trombones? (SUSTAINED WINDS). You could argue that this isn't an in-the-language term either, but you would be shouted down by Weather Channel junkies who like to watch hurricane coverage. Hurricane season's almost over—hooray for fewer bad storms than in recent years. But the Weather Channel's been more boring this summer.
And now for the good stuff:
- 41A: Imitation (ERSATZ). It's got a Z and it's fun to say.
- 45A: Musical beat (RHYTHM). It took me years to learn how to spell this right. Gotta love a word with a Y and five consonants.
- 3D: Loud auto honker of yore (KLAXON). This "electric horn or a similar loud warning device" takes its name from the company that manufactured it in the early 20th century. Cool word. You want to know what a KLAXON sounds like these days? Please turn your speakers down, way down, for this:
- 36D: Slow-moving, as a river (LAZY). That's a lovely clue for LAZY.
- 44D: Crystalline mineral (QUARTZ). I like this because (1) I like me a little geology, (2) it comes in pretty colors, and (3) a Q! and a Z! And now I'm thinking about quarts of milk, which took me to that Simpsons episode where mosbter Fat Tony has been selling rat milk to the schools and Mayor Quimby declares, "You promised me dog or better." That line? It never gets old.
Everything Else — 1A: Made a disapproving sound (TSKED); 6A: Witticism (JEST); 10A: Highlander (SCOT); 14A: Cop __: bargain in court (A PLEA); 15A: Healing plant (ALOE); 16A: Oregon Treaty president (POLK); 17A: Trembling (SHAKY); 18A: Having all one's marbles (SANE); 19A: Word processing reversal (UNDO); 23A: Ending for "ranch" (-ERO); 24A: Neither Rep. nor Dem. (IND.); 25A: Thing (ENTITY); 27A: Madame, in Madrid (SEÑORA); 30A: Wide shoe size (EEE); 31A: Geese flight pattern (VEE); 32A: Actress Greer who received five consecutive Oscar nominations (GARSON); 35A: At the ready (ALERT); 40A: Made on a loom (WOVEN); 42A: Med or law lead-in (PRE-); 43A: Command ctrs. (HQS); 49A: Wells's "The Island of Dr. __" (MOREAU); 51A: Fill with wonder (AWE); 53A: Jr.'s son (III); 58A: Clenched weapon (FIST); 59A: Mechanical memorization (ROTE); 60A: Remark to the audience (ASIDE); 61A: To __: perfectly (A TEE); 62A: Sporty sunroof (T-TOP); 63A: Baseball card brand (FLEER); 64A: Wall St.'s "Big Board" (NYSE); 65A: Clownish (ZANY); 66A: Shore birds (TERNS); 1D: Samples a bit of (TASTES); 2D: Ball (SPHERE); 5D: Weekly septet (DAYS); 6D: Argonauts' leader (JASON); 8D: Tune (SONG); 9D: Dainty laugh (TEEHEE); 10D: Sudden gushing (SPURT); 11D: Conspires (with) (CONNIVES); 12D: Octogenarians, e.g. (OLDSTERS); 13D: Boxing ref's decision (TKO); 21D: Whopper creators (LIARS); 26D: Thus far (YET); 28D: Eye unsubtly (OGLE); 29D: Drizzly day chapeau (RAIN HAT); 30D: Some pass catchers (ENDS); 34D: Above, in poems (O'ER); 37D: Penetrable quality of skin (POROSITY); 38D: Makes a cliché of, say (OVERUSES); 39D: Exposed (BARED); 40D: Typist's stat. (WPM); 46D: More petite (TINIER); 47D: Like eggs in an Easter hunt (HIDDEN); 48D: Skinflints (MISERS); 50D: Big name in perfumery (ESTEE); 51D: Dramatist Chekhov (ANTON); 52D: Tearful (WEEPY); 55D: Letter after theta (IOTA); 56D: Drift, as an aroma (WAFT); 57D: Shipwreck site (ISLE); 58D: Air mover (FAN).