THEME: "Your INLETS Are All Mixed Up"—Four phrases begin with anagrams of INLETS
I don't know about you, but I thought this puzzle was way on the easy side. I've got a bug of some sort, not as bad as the flu (that's a stuffed animal version of the H1N1 virus in the picture) but it's still slowing me down on crosswords. Despite that, I finished this one in a Mondayish amount of time. I suppose it helps that I have a knack for anagrams—PuzzleGirl says she finds them vexing. Though in this case, you don't need to anagram anything because the theme clues play it fairly straight.
- 17A: Respond to Uncle Sam's poster request (ENLIST IN THE ARMY). That's not exactly the sort of phrase that passes muster 100% as a crossword answer, as "enlist in the Army" isn't quite a discrete unit of meaning. "Enlist in the Air Force," "enlist in the Marines," "enlist in the Navy"...they're just variations on the "enlist in the [branch of the armed forces]" concept.
- 28A: Movieland (TINSELTOWN). Good, colorful answer. Tinseltown sounds old-timey to me, though I don't recall whether the term was used in the period piece L.A. Confidential.
- 40A: "Pat attention!" ("LISTEN HERE!"). I like crossword answers that shout at me or make conversation.
- 53A: Passive-aggressive tactic (SILENT TREATMENT). I'd rather fight than sulk silently.
- 43D: Coastal irregularities, and word anagrammed in this puzzle's four longest answers (INLETS).
Hey! Tin Pan Alley! That gets a shout-out here, too—at 2D, TIN PAN is clued by way of ___ Alley: old music-publishing district.
- 15A: Where work may pile up (IN-BOX). INAHEAPONMYDESK wouldn't fit.
- 23A: Hope/Crosby film title word (ROAD). As in Road to Rio, Road to Bali. I've never seen one of these old movies.
- EENIE MEANIE miney mo. 32A: ___, meenie... (EENIE)/44D: Stinker (MEANIE).
- 46A: Retailing pioneer R.H. ___ (MACY). Those are MACY's initials? I had no idea. All I know is that Chicagoans were made grumpy by Macy's obliterating the Marshall Field's name, labeling the flagship State Street store "Macy's," and using crappy, poorly printed plastic bags in lieu of the classic green Field's paper shopping bags. Boo to R.H.!
- 6D: Sac fly stat (RBI). I dreamt that the Yankees had swept the World Series in three games and I would no longer have to see breathless baseball updates from people on my Facebook page. Alas, the Series is still going on. Wake me when baseball is over, okay? I mean, really. It's November already. Do we need to anoint a player "Mr. November" now that baseball lasts so long?
- I misread 10D: Furry North Pacific swimmers (SEA OTTERS) as Funny so initially I didn't notice the undesirable duplication between this clue and FURS (26D: Animal rights activists' concerns).
- 30D. Loneliness syndrome when kids leave home (EMPTY NEST). Remember that sitcom? I was just reminded of it when I did this sporcle.com quiz on child actors. I didn't recognize Kristy McNichol at all. (She wasn't a kid on Empty Nest, but she was in the '70s drama Family.)
Everything Else — 1A: "__ be an honor" (IT'D); 4A: Absurd sham (FARCE); 9A: Music performance rights org. (ASCAP); 14A: Fizzle out (DIE); 15A: Where work may pile up (INBOX); 16A: Bit of wisdom (PEARL); 20A: Navajo relative (APACHE); 21A: Wood decay (DRY ROT); 22A: Tall and long-limbed (LANKY); 23A: Hope/Crosby film title word (ROAD); 24A: Captured (TOOK); 27A: __-Cat: winter vehicle (SNO); 30A: Eliminate entirely (ERASE); 32A: __, meenie ... (EENIE); 33A: Outdoor nap site (HAMMOCK); 36A: Women, in old-fashioned parlance (FAIR SEX); 38A: Blow one's top (ERUPT); 39A: Chasms (GULFS); 40A: "Pay attention!" ("LISTEN HERE!"); 43A: Pesky little tyke (IMP); 46A: Retailing pioneer R.H. __ (MACY); 47A: Eternities (EONS); 48A: Zellweger of "Chicago" (RENEE); 50A: Anxiety (UNEASE); 52A: Texas metropolis (DALLAS); 56A: Land along the ocean (COAST); 57A: Two under par, on a hole (EAGLE); 58A: Up to, in classified ads (TIL); 59A: Aches (HURTS); 60A: Father of Beau and Jeff (LLOYD); 61A: Go out with (SEE); 1D: Lofty principles (IDEALS); 2D: __ Alley: old music-publishing district (TIN PAN); 3D: Old White House middle name (DELANO); 4D: Suspicious (FISHY); 5D: Poker payment (ANTE); 6D: Sac fly stat (RBI); 7D: Approve tacitly (CONDONE); 8D: Crowd scene actors (EXTRAS); 9D: Copycat (APER); 10D: Furry North Pacific swimmers (SEA OTTERS); 11D: Hanna-Barbera output (CARTOONS); 12D: Escort's offer (ARM); 13D: Thickness (PLY); 18D: "Gross!" "(ICK!"); 19D: Jekyll's alter ego (HYDE); 23D: Actuary's calculation (RISK); 25D: Cut or scrape, in totspeak (OWIE); 26D: Lego relative (KNEX); 28D: Tic __: mint (TAC); 29D: Eric the Red's son (LEIF); 30D: Loneliness syndrome when kids leave home (EMPTY NEST); 31D: Repetitive learning method (ROTE); 33D: Captain's position (HELM); 34D: "Carmen" highlight (ARIA); 35D: Like weightlifters (MUSCULAR); 36D: Animal rights activists' concerns (FURS); 37D: Draft choice (ALE); 39D: Five-star leader (GENERAL); 41D: Nifty (NEAT); 42D: Low-cost lodging (HOSTEL); 44D: Stinker (MEANIE); 45D: Mortar and __ (PESTLE); 48D: Gave a PG, say (RATED); 49D: Shade tree (ELM); 51D: Tolkien tree people (ENTS); 52D: Six-time Emmy winner Tyne (DALY); 53D: Teaching inst. (SCH.); 54D: Chit (IOU); 55D: Bigheadedness (EGO).