THEME: five compound, organ-related adjectives
I've never heard of LEATHER-LUNGED. That is the only thing even remotely approaching a criticism that I have for this puzzle. It's fantastic. Five long, thematically consistent theme answers and a grid that is is filled with incredible care. Perfectly smooth. I'm really, really impressed. This puzzle has 40 black squares (a tad on the high side) and still manages to feel wide open, with interesting, *actual* words everywhere you look. Why can't more puzzles be like this? Still very easy, but interesting rather than dull, excellent rather than merely passable. Huge contrast with today's NYT, which ... well, let's just talk about this puzzle.
- 3D: Cowardly (LILY-LIVERED)
- 18A: Dispirited (DOWN-HEARTED)
- 38A: Loud and long-winded (LEATHER-LUNGED)
- 27D: Imbecilic (LAME-BRAINED)
- 55A: Easily offended (THIN-SKINNED)
Having FIRS and FAKIRS in this puzzle makes me wonder if you could do a theme where you shove state postal codes into words to get new words ... with a theme-revealer that's something like [Like some tuition ... and a hint to this puzzle's theme? => IN-STATE]. Anyway, I love the word FAKIRS (43D: Muslim wonder-workers), even if I couldn't come up with it right away. I can guarantee you that that clue will be the most Googled clue of the day (I have a lot of experience analyzing the searching patterns of all y'all). As a crime fiction fan, I have to give a big thumbs up to the sleuthy subtheme, with Sherlock HOLMES (36A: Watson's partner) trading in his deerstalker for a noir-era FEDORA (45D: Bogart's hat) to track down the perpetrators of MORTAL sins (40A: Like a serious sin).
Crosswordese 101: ODESSA (2D: Black Sea port) — fourth-largest city in Ukraine. Also a city in Texas. Lots of very common letters, and thus highly desirable — or at least useful — for constructors. There is also an EDESSA, an important city in ancient Mesopotamia (located in what is now southern Turkey).
That's all for today. Ms. Miskimins, I don't know who you are, or if you're an alias, or what, but more like this one, please.
[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]
Everything Else — 1A: MSN competitor (AOL); 4A: Infants "in the woods" (BABES); 9A: Terror (FEAR); 13A: Reagan's "Star Wars" prog. (SDI); 14A: High-level storage areas (ATTICS); 16A: "Othello" villain (IAGO); 17A: Condiment in 51-Across (SEL); 18A: Dispirited (DOWN-HEARTED); 20A: Safe haven (ASYLUM); 22A: Drinks dog-style (LAPS); 23A: Land surrounded by agua (ISLA); 24A: Globe (SPHERE); 27A: You may be told to button or zip it (LIP); 30A: Tigers' dens (LAIRS); 32A: "Alley __" (OOP); 33A: Apiece (EACH); 34A: Austrian city with a sausage named for it (VIENNA); 36A: Watson's partner (HOLMES); 38A: Loud and long-winded (LEATHER-LUNGED); 40A: Like a serious sin (MORTAL); 41A: Outlying town, vis-à-vis the city (SUBURB); 42A: Rocks to refine (ORES); 43A: Groundhog Day mo. (FEB.); 44A: Feudal peons (SERFS); 47A: Longtime Massachusetts senator Kennedy (TED); 48A: Chicken, so to speak (SCARED); 51A: Normandy city (CAEN); 52A: Saturate (SOAK); 53A: 1966 musical about a marriage (I DO I DO); 55A: Easily offended (THIN-SKINNED); 60A: Presently (NOW); 61A: German automaker (AUDI); 62A: Misprints (ERRATA); 63A: Poet's "before" (ERE); 64A: Cream of the crop (BEST); 65A: Back-talking (SASSY); 66A: Mom's mate (DAD); 1D: Attack violently (ASSAIL); 2D: Black Sea port (ODESSA); 3D: Cowardly (LILY-LIVERED); 4D: Grammy winner Erykah (BADU); 5D: Diminutive energy sources (ATOMS); 6D: Incidentally, in texting shorthand (BTW); 7D: "Ich bin __ Berliner" (EIN); 8D: Carry laboriously (SCHLEP); 9D: Fraser and Douglas trees (FIRS); 10D: Take nourishment (EAT); 11D: Get on in years (AGE); 12D: Word after fishing or lightning (ROD); 15D: Scorch (SEAR); 19D: Chimp, for one (APE); 21D: Dogie catchers (LARIATS); 25D: Fried corn bread (PONE); 26D: More rasping, as a voice (HOARSER); 27D: Imbecilic (LAME-BRAINED); 28D: Like much tea in summer (ICED); 29D: Acidity nos. (PHS); 31D: __ good example (SET A); 33D: Crete-born artist with a Spanish nickname (EL GRECO); 35D: Org. with Bruins and Coyotes (NHL); 36D: O'Hare, for United Airlines (HUB); 37D: Burden (ONUS); 38D: Traditional wisdom (LORE); 39D: Mechanic's grease job (LUBE); 40D: Bon __: witticism (MOT); 43D: Muslim wonder-workers (FAKIRS); 45D: Bogart's hat (FEDORA); 46D: Flurried, e.g. (SNOWED); 48D: Seaman's "911" (SOS); 49D: Bakery staple (CAKE); 50D: Weight-loss regimens (DIETS); 52D: Grumpy mood (SNIT); 54D: June 6, 1944 (D-DAY); 55D: Drinkers may run one up (TAB); 56D: Color (HUE); 57D: Points out, as a perp (IDS); 58D: "Right to bear arms" org. (NRA); 59D: "If I Ruled the World" rapper (NAS).