THEME: No theme today—This is a themeless Saturday puzzle
This one's back down to the easier level we've seen in recent months. I like to be expected to work hard on a Saturday puzzle—harder than I have to work on Wednesdays. Ah, well.
I was disappointed to find the first person singular pronoun lurking in five answers:
- 15A: "Land sakes alive!" ("I DO DECLARE!").
- 22A: "__ no idea!" (I HAD).
- 23A: Cooperative after-dinner offer (I'LL DRY).
- 29A: Player's lament (I LOST).
- 41D: "Out of the question" ("I CAN'T").
- 30A: Voice of Mr. Magoo (JIM BACKUS). Also the millionaire Thurston Howell III on Gilligan's Island.
- 36A: French capital? (DES MOINES). Friend visiting from out of town works in Des Moines a lot. Like the answer, but frowned at the clue.
- 50A: "High Voltage" rock band (AC/DC). Can't embed the video, but you can watch it here. I only know "Dirty Deeds in a Dundle Jeep," as my best friend in 7th grade called it.
- 54A: Shaq, 15 times (NBA ALLSTAR). That's one more time than Michael Jordan, who interrupted his hoops career with his baseball interlude.
- 22D: Revival meeting shout (IT'S A MIRACLE). Dang it, the offical Culture Club video of the song by that name cannot be embedded. But Fantasia Barrino's Idol performance of Barry Manilow's "It's a Miracle" can be.
Crosswordese 101: DADO, is clued as 18A: Woodworking groove but one dictionary also defines it as the lower part of a room's wall, if your wall's two-toned; a groove cut into the face of a board, into which another board's edge is inserted (this is how it's clued today, basically); or the part of a pedestal between the base and the cornice. Top DADO clue key words to remember: pedestal part; and woodworker or carpenter's groove or slot.
Everything Else — 1A: Hide (KEEP SECRET); 11A: Video CD file format (MPEG); 15A: "Land sakes alive!" ("I DO DECLARE!"); 16A: Hipbone prefix (ILIO-); 17A: Overdid it (WENT TOO FAR); 18A: Woodworking groove (DADO); 19A: Helpful contacts (INS); 20A: Hares' tails (SCUTS); 21A: Brickell and Falco (EDIES); 22A: "__ no idea!" (I HAD); 23A: Cooperative after-dinner offer (I'LL DRY); 24A: One in a hole (DEBTOR); 27A: Does over, as an ascot (RETIES); 29A: Player's lament (I LOST); 30A: Voice of Mr. Magoo (JIM BACKUS); 33A: Island off the Tuscany coast (ELBA); 34A: Artificial movie background (MATTE); 35A: Old Italian capital (LIRE); 36A: French capital? (DES MOINES); 38A: Jeep in the movie "Cars" (SARGE); 39A: Department store section (LINENS); 40A: Fit one within another (NESTED); 41A: Rapid river thaw (ICE RUN); 43A: Lukas of "Witness" (HAAS); 44A: Score settlers? (CODAS); 45A: Like a cool fall morning (BRISK); 47A: Rx amt. (TSP.); 50A: "High Voltage" rock band (AC/DC); 51A: West Coast racing venue (SANTA ANITA); 53A: Carolers' offering (NOEL); 54A: Shaq, 15 times (NBA ALLSTAR); 55A: Shipping deduction (TARE); 56A: Like Hail Mary passes (LAST SECOND); 1D: Flightless bird (KIWI); 2D: Steinbeck title site (EDEN); 3D: Hundreds of centuries (EONS); 4D: Nevada summer hrs. (PDT); 5D: Basketball two-hander (SET SHOT); 6D: Green vehicle (ECOCAR); 7D: Sun screen? (CLOUD); 8D: Pond floater (RAFT); 9D: Diamond stats (ERAS); 10D: Rx specification (TER); 11D: Large group with upper and lower segments (MIDDLE CLASS); 12D: Many a kilt, essentially (PLAID SKIRT); 13D: Down source (EIDER); 14D: Foolish (GOOSY); 21D: "Popular Fallacies" essayist (ELIA); 22D: Revival meeting shout (IT'S A MIRACLE); 23D: "Never let __ said ..." (IT BE); 24D: Stopped running (DIED); 25D: That femme (ELLE); 26D: Winter Olympics competitor (BOB SLEDDER); 27D: Church practices (RITES); 28D: 9-1-1 respondents, briefly (EMTS); 30D: Rolling Stone co-founder Wenner (JANN); 31D: Push for (URGE); 32D: Nutmeg or sesame (SEED); 34D: Bearing (MIEN); 37D: Unpleasant duty (ONUS); 38D: Coastal plant with collard-like leaves (SEA KALE); 40D: French "gn" sounds, e.g. (NASALS); 41D: "Out of the question" ("I CAN'T"); 42D: Warming drink (COCOA); 43D: Try to strike (HIT AT); 45D: Cake with a kick (BABA); 46D: Protein-building polymers (RNAS); 47D: Longtime Yugoslav president (TITO); 48D: Laurel in films (STAN); 49D: Ranch chum (PARD); 51D: NBC show that began its 35th season in Sep. 2009 (SNL); 52D: Defense advisory gp. (NSC).