THEME: Nope, no theme today—Just a themeless/freestyle puzzle that hits at about a Friday NYT difficulty level
Crosswordese 101: Scrolling through the Crosswordese 101 index of previously covered words, I just learned something. You know the standard "pick five consonants and a vowel" choices on Wheel of Fortune. RSTLNE? There aren't many crosswordese answers that start with other consonants, and all five vowels are hot initial letters for crosswordese. Today, let's add one more to the short list of B words: BOLE (35A: Botanical trunk). This word dates back to Middle English and basically means "tree trunk"—which is what the clue for BOLE usually is. This is one of those words I pretty much never encounter anywhere outside of crosswords.
- 1A: It provides more details (ZOOM LENS).
- 9A: Raid target (FRIDGE). I was thinking of cockroaches and drug dealers, but a FRIDGE raid is infinitely more pleasant.
- 23A: '90s-'00s sitcom star (DREW CAREY). Is he still wearing his hair longer on The Price Is Right? I think the hair makes him look sad.
- 36A: Gets off suddenly (QUITS COLD TURKEY). The clue can be read obscenely, but I don't think there's a good way to tie this answer to the ribald version of the clue.
- 57A: It can involve dumbbells and jerks (EXERCISE). And those, of course, are the gym rats you encounter when getting EXERCISE at the gym.
- 59A: "High Fidelity" star John (CUSACK). He was decent in 2012. Things blew up, he remained a nice guy. My favorite Cusack movie is The Sure Thing. No, wait. Maybe it's Grosse Pointe Blank.
- 62A: "I'll bet!" ("YEAH, YEAH."). "Oh, sure." "Riiight."
- 8D: "A Fish Called Wanda," e.g. (SCREWBALL COMEDY). I love this movie, too!
- 12D: Bar exchanges, perhaps (DIRTY JOKES). I started out with CORNY jokes but egads, who wants to hang out a bar listening to corny jokes?
- 61A: Giggled (TE-HEED). There must be dictionary support somewhere for the TE-HEE spelling or it wouldn't appear in so many crosswords. But this word is despondent. It wants to be TEE-HEE. And it wants desperately to be a noun, not a verb.