THEME: "HE'S GETTING AWAY" (52A: Cry during an escape, and this puzzle's title) — "HE" is removed from common phrases, creating wacky phrases, which are clued "?"-style
I am having real trouble finding a puzzle to like this week. Might have liked this one if the theme answers had been At All interesting. Come on, the possibilities with this theme must be something close to endless ... and this is what we get? These theme answers just get increasingly nonsensical — and there are only three of them? There should have been more, and they should have been better. GO ON should have been clued as one word, since having GO IN and GO ON in the same grid is an unimaginative shame. "OF EVE," while easy, is a ridiculous partial — nothing that ridiculous has any business being in such an easily manageable corner. There is also no excuse for O IS (45A: Sue Grafton's "___ for Outlaw"). How hard would it have been to clean the grid up from "O IS" straight up to the ridiculous ZOT (29A: Anteater's slurp in the comic "B.C.")? Answer: not hard at all. This grid was filled hastily and with little attention to detail. No polish. Slapdash. Disappointing. Best answer in the grid, by far: PARK BENCH (34D: Stroller's rest spot). Oh, BE NICE TO (5D: Treat kindly) was pretty good as well, in that I had noooo idea what I was dealing with there until I had nearly every cross. Then: "D'oh!"
- 20A: Air-conditioning commuter trains? (COOLING ONE'S ELS)
- 32A: Pitch from a personified spud? (MR. POTATO AD)
- 41A: Like finger-painters? (YOUNG AT ART)
Had my biggest problems in the NE, where NIGEL was a total unknown (10D: Bruce of Sherlock Holmes films). NEWS is [Pre-bedtime fare]? I'm sure it is, for some people, but I've never heard of this as conventional. TV NEWS, I assume, but still... yuck. I thought people who watched that were staying up for Leno or Carson or whatever hybrid cyborg they create to replace them. I've never watched NEWS before bed, so that clue lost me. Except ... ORNE (60A: Alençon's department) over GPAS (63A: Quiz)? There just had to be better options!
Crosswordese 101: ORNE (60A: Alençon's department) — Orne is a department in the northwest of France, named after the river Orne. (wikipedia); one of those answers you just have to know. Nothing terribly memorable about the department or the river, except maybe this: "The Orne formed the Eastern flank of the Allied landings in Normandy during World War II on 6 June 1944" (wikipedia again).
See you Monday,
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Everything Else — 1A: It's rarely a hit (SIDE B); 6A: Acted like a rat (SANG); 10A: Pre-bedtime fare (NEWS); 14A: "The Three Faces __" (OF EVE); 15A: Lickable treat (OREO); 16A: Apple for the teacher, perhaps (IMAC); 17A: Let fall, as tresses (UNPIN); 18A: Continue (GOON); 19A: "Thank Heaven for Little Girls" musical (GIGI); 20A: Air-conditioning commuter trains? (COOLING ONE'S ELS); 23A: Old comm. giant (ITT); 24A: Demure (COY); 25A: Ill humor (BILE); 26A: Allocation word (PER); 27A: __ flakes (BRAN); 29A: Anteater's slurp in the comic "B.C." (ZOT); 32A: Pitch from a personified spud? (MR. POTATO AD); 36A: Set of standards (CODE); 37A: Craters of the Moon monument site (IDAHO); 38A: Eastern sash (OBI); 39A: Piercing weapon (TALON); 40A: Poet Sandburg (CARL); 41A: Like finger-painters? (YOUNG AT ART); 43A: Quiz (ASK); 44A: Some fiction (PULP); 45A: Sue Grafton's "__ for Outlaw" (O IS); 46A: Cost of freedom? (BAIL); 48A: Up to, informally (TIL); 49A: Single, for one: Abbr. (SYN.); 52A: Cry during an escape, and this puzzle's title (HE'S GETTING AWAY); 56A: Mitchell with the 1969 album "Clouds" (JONI); 57A: Praise (LAUD); 58A: In the slightest (AT ALL); 59A: Ocean hunter (ORCA); 60A: AlenÁon's department (ORNE); 61A: Fool in "Pagliacci" (TONIO); 62A: Automobil route (BAHN); 63A: Student stats (GPAS); 64A: Doc Golightly portrayer in "Breakfast at Tiffany's" (EBSEN); 1D: Sans __: carefree (SOUCI); 2D: Otherwise (IF NOT); 3D: Station (DEPOT); 4D: Mean business (EVIL); 5D: Treat kindly (BE NICE TO); 6D: Overwatered (SOGGY); 7D: Buck add-on (-AROO); 8D: Strip lighter (NEON); 9D: Rotten (GONE BAD); 10D: Bruce of Sherlock Holmes films (NIGEL); 11D: "Thérèse Raquin" novelist (ÉMILE ZOLA); 12D: Funny ones (WAGS); 13D: It's not always exact: Abbr. (SCI.); 21D: Nick's wife (NORA); 22D: It may be deadly (SIN); 26D: Four-time Hugo winner Frederik (POHL); 27D: Emerge suddenly (BOB UP); 28D: It's forecast in percentages (RAIN); 30D: Glade target (ODOR); 31D: Caterpillar's creation (TENT); 32D: Glittery mineral (MICA); 33D: Nutritional stds. (RDAS); 34D: Stroller's rest spot (PARK BENCH); 35D: Saw, e.g. (TOOL); 36D: Musical with Grizabella and Growltiger (CATS); 39D: Stadium party site (TAILGATE); 41D: Hot Christmas staple (YULE LOG); 42D: Enter (GO IN); 44D: Babe, for example (PIG); 47D: Turk, most likely (ASIAN); 48D: They have highs and lows (TIDES); 49D: Trumpeters on a lake (SWANS); 50D: "Boola Boola" singer (YALIE); 51D: Hose material (NYLON); 52D: Dance that may involve a chair (HORA); 53D: Diamond cover (TARP); 54D: Albacore, e.g. (TUNA); 55D: From __: slight progress (A TO B); 56D: Assignment (JOB).