THEME: No theme today—Just a themeless/freestyle puzzle that hits at about a Thursday to Friday NYT difficulty level
Lots of fun stuff in this puzzle. A dozen 10-letter answers provide a wealth of cool phrases to make this crossword really sparkle. To wit:
1D: Soul immortal (JAMES BROWN) and 50A: Singer with four recent best-selling albums of pop standards (ROD STEWART) can be heard ON THE RADIO. The song "NO ONE Knows" and Paul ANKA have also been on the radio, but you don't want clips of those, do you? No, you want the Godfather of Soul and Rod Stewart acting his age:
- 5A: Southwestern site of gypsum dunes (WHITE SANDS). Pretty! I've never really been in the Southwest much.
- 16A: Accountant's concern (AUDIT TRAIL). You know you wanted PAPER TRAIL. I know I did.
- 18A: Polite invite (PLEASE STAY). That's what I say to my dog. Don't want to come off too bossy. (That's a lie: I have no dog, love being bossy.)
- 37A: User-edited online compendium of notable snippets (WIKIQUOTE). It's the Wikipedia version of Bartlett's Familiar Quotations.
- 44A: It heats up your food immediately (TABASCO). My favorite clue in this puzzle. I was thinking of microwaves and fire.
- 2D: It may be twisted apart (OREO COOKIE). Wait, nobody calls it that. They're just Oreos.
- 3D: Source of tears, slangily (WATERWORKS). This is my favorite answer after JAMES BROWN. "Turn on the waterworks!"
- 5D: Original "People's Court" judge (WAPNER). Judge Wapner! So many imitators came after him, but none have had his avuncular charm.
- 28D: Race infraction (FALSE START). That's when a runner takes off before the starting pistol is fired. We've seen False start? as a clue for the prefix PSEUDO-.
- 29D: Unauthorized explorer of city tunnels and sewers (URBAN CAVER). Ooh, what? People do that? Read all about it at Wikipedia.
Crosswordese 101: There's a five-letter piece of crosswordese in this puzzle: TORII. Usually this word is clued as a Shinto temple gateway from Japan. Barry has gone all crazy on us, though, and clued it as 44D: Angels outfielder Hunter who has won nine straight Gold Gloves. I can't say I know anything about Mr. Hunter, but then, I know about Shinto gateways only from crosswords. The Angels play in Los Angelaheim, so I'll bet all sorts of Los Angeles Times readers thought Barry's clue was a gimme.
Everything Else — 1A: Prominent bloodhound feature (JOWL); 5A: Southwestern site of gypsum dunes (WHITE SANDS); 15A: Burnoose wearer (ARAB); 16A: Accountant's concern (AUDIT TRAIL); 17A: Citi Field team (METS); 18A: Polite invite (PLEASE STAY); 19A: Want ad abbr. (EOE); 20A: "Diana" singer (ANKA); 21A: Places for dips (POOLS); 22A: Fights (SCRAPES); 24A: Benefit (BOON); 26A: One unhappy about a split (BOWLER); 27A: "Coppélia" costume (TUTU); 28A: Trapper's ware (FUR); 31A: 1976 best-seller that spanned three centuries (ROOTS); 32A: Frightening ordeal (NIGHTMARE); 34A: It's sometimes deep-fried in the South (OKRA); 35A: Chihuahua chicken (POLLO); 36A: Hamburg's river (ELBE); 37A: User-edited online compendium of notable snippets (WIKIQUOTE); 39A: Like ens (NASAL); 40A: Nintendo's Super __ (NES); 41A: Coffee houses? (URNS); 42A: Pop, e.g. (PARENT); 43A: 1-Down or 50-Across, e.g. (MALE); 44A: It heats up your food immediately (TABASCO); 45A: Can't stand (ABHOR); 48A: Pixels (DOTS); 49A: Work on the road (TAR); 50A: Singer with four recent best-selling albums of pop standards (ROD STEWART); 53A: Work on the road (PAVE); 54A: Where 1-Down or 50-Across may be heard (ON THE RADIO); 55A: Independent (FREE); 56A: Swearing-off words (NEVER AGAIN); 57A: Key in a corner (CTRL); 1D: Soul immortal (JAMES BROWN); 2D: It may be twisted apart (OREO COOKIE); 3D: Source of tears, slangily (WATERWORKS); 4D: Dumbbell abbr. (LBS.); 5D: Original "People's Court" judge (WAPNER); 6D: Clumsy vessels (HULKS); 7D: Think of it (IDEA); 8D: Familia member (TIA); 9D: Some say they live among us, briefly (ETS); 10D: Leave temporarily (STEP OUT); 11D: Hot pursuit? (ARSON); 12D: Brussels-based intl. alliance (NATO); 13D: Watch part (DIAL); 14D: Stone and Stallone (SLYS); 20D: Galoots (APES); 23D: __ Mountains: Central Asian range (ALTAI); 24D: Army brass? (BUGLE); 25D: Emperor Galba's successor (OTHO); 27D: Arcade violations (TILTS); 28D: Race infraction (FALSE START); 29D: Unauthorized explorer of city tunnels and sewers (URBAN CAVER); 30D: Cassette alternative (REEL-TO-REEL); 32D: "__ Knows": 1958 hit (NO ONE); 33D: "Awakenings" actress (MEARA); 35D: Knitting loop (PURL); 38D: Washington is on it (QUARTER); 39D: Busts (NABS); 42D: Battle of the Bulge commander (PATTON); 43D: Arens of Israel (MOSHE); 44D: Angels outfielder Hunter who has won nine straight Gold Gloves (TORII); 45D: Cal's brother in "East of Eden" (ARON); 46D: Something to pick? (BONE); 47D: Cutting-edge set, briefly (HDTV); 48D: Arp works (DADA); 51D: Hurler's stat (ERA); 52D: Chattering tongues do it (WAG); 53D: Rank below cpl. (PFC).