Theme: "Loose Lady" — First and last letters of theme answers are SUE (120A: 1961 #1 hit for Dion, and a literal hint to this puzzle's hidden theme (RUNAROUND SUE)).
[Note: This is the syndicated L.A. Times puzzle. It does not appear in the actual newspaper, but is available for free at cruciverb.com.]
- 23A: Seafood restaurant starter (SHRIMP BISQUE).
- 38A: Heirloom quality (SENTIMENTAL VALUE).
- 54A: Acid rain component (SULFUR DIOXIDE).
- 84A: Literally, "with highest praise" (SUMMA CUM LAUDE).
- 101A: The world's longest crosses Japan's Akashi Strait (SUSPENSION BRIDGE).
- 16D: Nickname heard in Manhattan (SUNFLOWER STATE).
- 50D: June observance (SUMMER SOLSTICE).
Puzzle? Okay, the puzzle. My feminist sensibilities were immediately taken aback by this puzzle's title. The more common phrase is, of course, "loose woman." I guess if you change "woman" to the illusory "lady," that balances out the fact that you're calling her ... whatever you're calling her? The "loose lady" in question is, of course, Dion's "Runaround Sue." A song sung by a man who then turns around and brags about being "The Wanderer" ("I kiss 'em and I love 'em / 'Cuz to me they're all the same"). Let's just say I'm seeing some pretty big red flags here. Of course I realize this is a crossword puzzle and not some kind of statement on the human condition so let's put all that behind us and move on.
The non-political section of today's post:
- 19A: Since way back when (IN AGES). I love the trickiness of this one. On first glance, it doesn't look like these two phrases are equivalent, but once you try them out: "We haven't seen you since way back when...." "We haven't seen you in ages...." Perfect.
- 29A: Hard worker's output (SWEAT). Ew.
- 44A: Unsavory pair of options (EVILS). As in "the lesser of two evils."
- 48A: "The Big Chill" director (KASDAN). I couldn't come up with this name and, for some reason, thought it was going to be a name much more familiar to me. Probably because everybody in that movie turned out to be pretty famous.
- 69A: Prom night rentals (LIMOS). Raise your hand if you confidently entered tuxes.
- 76A: Portrait photographer Richard (AVEDON). He has taken some fabulous photos.
- 83A: Sun. discourse (SER.). I guess you learn how to do a SER. at the SEM. (5D: Theological inst.).
- 88A: Driving aid (TEE). Insert your own Tiger Woods joke here.
- 107A: Party leaders (HOSTS). Misdirected to think of political parties when the answer is really related to parties that are much more fun.
- 113A: Did some after-dinner work, maybe? (BUSED). The B was my last letter in the grid. I was running the alphabet but pronouncing the word like amuse so it wasn't making any sense.
- 123A: Duke's gp. (ACC). Duke University's Blue Devils are in the Atlantic Coast Conference of the NCAA.
- 3D: Only World Series perfect game pitcher (LARSEN). That's Don Larsen-with-an-E. He achieved perfection as a New York Yankee in Game 5 of the 1956 World Series against the Brooklyn Dodgers.
- 7D: Natives of Lima or Toledo (OHIOANS). Again with the foreign-sounding U.S. cities!
- 8D: Popular yellow office product (POST-IT). Because stickies wouldn't fit.
- 15D: Breezy farewells (TA-TAS). I went ahead and put a hyphen in there so you wouldn't think I was talking about something else.
- 18D: "The only sure bait when you angle for praise": Lord Chesterfield (MODESTY). I've never heard this line, but I love it.
- 26D: One who gets you up (ELATER). Ugh. Just ugh.
- 30D: Pizazz (ELAN). Fine clue for a fine answer. It's just that I like my pizzazz served with four Zs.
- 55D: Bud's bud (LOU). Bud Abbott and Lou Costello.
- 58D: How much medication is taken (ORALLY). Sometimes it just depends on which word you stress. If you stress the medication you can't figure it out. Stress much and ... voilà!
- 102D: Bellyache (SQUAWK). See also 105D: Bellyache (GROUSE).
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Everything Else — 1A: Have the final turn (GO LAST); 7A: Kin of ibid. (OP. CIT.); 12A: Plenty (A LOT); 16A: Alastair of "A Christmas Carol" (SIM); 20A: Moonshine (HOOCH); 21A: Convertible, maybe (SOFA); 22A: Game whose name must be spoken during play (UNO); 25A: Toned down (SOFTENED); 27A: Drops by Niagara Falls? (MIST); 28A: Sweep's target, perhaps (SOOT); 31A: Actress Woodard (ALFRE); 32A: Mountain nymph (OREAD); 34A: Follow (TAIL); 36A: Will Smith title role (ALI); 37A: Swabs (SALTS); 43A: "Nothing __!" (TO IT); 45A: "I've __ had!" (BEEN); 46A: Entrance (GATEWAY); 51A: Heavy weight (TON); 52A: Ill-gotten gains (LUCRE); 53A: Tulsa sch. named for an evangelist (ORU); 60A: Monopoly buys: Abbr. (RRS); 63A: Gives pieces to (ARMS); 65A: In just a bit (SOON); 66A: Old knowledge (LORE); 67A: Palace abroad (ÉLYSÉE); 71A: Indic language (URDU); 73A: Smooth in the shop (SAND); 75A: Shining (LIT UP); 78A: Major in astronomy? (URSA); 80A: Old Italian bread (LIRA); 82A: History (PAST); 89A: Hot day refuge (SHADE); 91A: "The Partridge Family" actress (DEY); 92A: Disquiet (UNREST); 94A: Expand (BROADEN); 96A: City ESE of Mocha (ADEN); 98A: French noble (COMTE); 100A: Is under the weather (AILS); 109A: Milk units: Abbr. (QTS.); 110A: Queens stadium (ASHE); 111A: Vast, in verse (ENORM); 112A: When a teen's curfew may be (AT TEN); 115A: Extended (LONG); 117A: Fair-hiring org. (EEOC); 118A: Gist (MAIN IDEA); 124A: Character __ (FLAW); 125A: Tarnish (TAINT); 126A: Songlike (ARIOSE); 127A: Jeanne d'Arc, e.g.: Abbr. (STE.); 128A: Squealer (FINK); 129A: They may follow dogs (SLEDS); 130A: Seeded (RANKED); 1D: Doodads (GISMOS); 2D: Available for work (ON HIRE); 4D: Worked up (AGITATED); 6D: Cup's 48: Abbr. (TSPS.); 9D: __ au vin (COQ); 10D: Hosp. areas (ICUS); 11D: It's caused by standing fans (THE WAVE); 12D: Tear into (ASSAIL); 13D: Plunder (LOOT); 14D: Vacationing (OFF); 17D: Couch potato quality (INERTIA); 24D: Waterside inn (BOTEL); 33D: Celebrated singers (DIVAS); 35D: Workers (LABOR); 39D: Less (MINUS); 40D: Frequent McEnroe opponent (LENDL); 42D: __ Cologne (EAU DE); 47D: Immune system lymphocyte (T-CELL); 48D: Eucalyptus eaters (KOALAS); 49D: Show up (ARRIVE); 51D: Arctic plain (TUNDRA); 56D: Discussion site (FORUM); 57D: Aegean island (IOS); 59D: City near Dayton (XENIA); 61D: Finds another purpose for (REUSES); 62D: Deadly sins, e.g. (SEPTET); 64D: Earth (SOD); 68D: Kennel sound (YIP); 70D: "What a pity" ("SO SAD"); 72D: Sch. with a record 33 Rose Bowl appearances (USC); 74D: Joanne of film (DRU); 77D: Ones who can barely be seen? (NUDES); 79D: "The Age of Anxiety" Pulitzer winner (AUDEN); 81D: "What __ idea!": "How stupid!" (A DUMB); 85D: Course list (MENU); 86D: Smart set (MENSA); 87D: __ nous (ENTRE); 90D: Pick up the pace (HASTEN); 93D: Kept under control (REINED IN); 94D: Atlantic commonwealth (BAHAMAS); 95D: Reading in a disorderly class? (RIOT ACT); 96D: 2-BR listings, perhaps (APTS.); 97D: Strands (DESERTS); 98D: Pals (COHORTS); 99D: Bridge bid, for short (ONE NO); 103D: Large-kitchen feature (ISLAND); 104D: Manages (DOES OK); 106D: Ran the show (EMCEED); 108D: Get a whiff of (SNIFF); 113D: Noodle (BEAN); 114D: Twofold (DUAL); 116D: __ gum: thickening agent (GUAR); 119D: Mid sixth-century date (DLI); 121D: Never, in Nuremberg (NIE); 122D: Strong D.C. lobby (NRA).