THEME: No theme today—Just a themeless/freestyle puzzle that may be a notch or two harder than most Saturday L.A. Times puzzles
What have we got here? Let's take a peek.
- 1A: Nut (WHACK JOB). Hey! Who are you calling a whack job? This is how you kick off a puzzle, folks—with a knockout answer at 1-Across.
- 15A: Dolts (AIRHEADS). Hey! Who are you calling airheads? Mom! This puzzle is calling us names.
- 19A: Texas-Louisiana border river (SABINE). Whoa. This...is not common fill. The 4-letter rivers, sure. But not so much the 6-letter ones. Not a very familiar river, is it? This could also have been clued in relation to the ancient Oscan-speaking people of the central Apennines in Italy. Which clue is easier for you? I call it a tie.
- 25A: 1951 Emmy winner Imogene (COCA). She did a show with Sid Caesar. This might also have been clued as the coca leaf. Which has more of an L.A. vibe: Imogene Coca or the extract of the coca leaf?
- 27A: Title burglar played by Bruce Willis in a 1991 film (HUDSON HAWK). Uh, 1991 called. It wants its outdated pop-culture reference back. I never saw the movie, but I read the clue to my husband just now and he got it immediately. "You know that?" I exclaimed. "Doesn't everyone?" he replied.
- 35A: 1992 Grammy winner for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance (K.D. LANG). She has got some pipes, I tell you.
- Ancient crosswordese with a long but maybe not so distinguished pedigree! 38A: Old shipping allowance (TRET) and 7D: Concubine's room (ODA).
- 42A: Stock mover (CATTLE PROD). Ow! I was nervous that the Zap with a beam below this was going to be TASE, but it was merely LASE.
- 46A: Crab's sensor (PALP). I just like that word.
- 57A: Loll (SPRAWL). And I like these words too.
- 59A: Mr. Right (THE ONE). Terrific answer—"the one" is solidly in the vernacular as a two-word entity.
- 4D: Former "SNL" regular Farley (CHRIS). If you were a Chris Farley fan like I was, I recommend the book The Chris Farley Show, sort of an oral history and remembrance of him by those who loved him. Sad story. Apparently he was also incredibly sweet and generous in his private life.
- Odd jobs! We've got 21D: Warehouse workers (STOCKERS) and 24D: Some new parents (ADOPTERS). They're a little stilted as crossword entries go...but the latter reminds me of a blog post I just read about Haitian orphans awaiting placement with an adoptive family in the U.S. The kids at the BRESMA orphanage had already been matched with American parents, but now they are stuck without transportation out of Haiti. The post has a link for donating to that group.
- 36D: Model of excellence (NONESUCH). Is that what that word means? I gotta start working that one into my conversation. "That Tyler Hinman is a nonesuch when it comes to solving crosswords."
Everything Else — 1A: Nut (WHACK JOB); 9A: Apollo, musically (LYRIST); 15A: Dolts (AIRHEADS); 16A: Knows about (IS ONTO); 17A: Rubbernecked (STARED AT); 18A: Car lot array (SEDANS); 19A: Texas-Louisiana border river (SABINE); 20A: Sagan's subj. (ASTR.); 22A: Wrestler Flair (RIC); 23A: The way you see it (AS IS); 24A: Works in una galleria (ARTE); 25A: 1951 Emmy winner Imogene (COCA); 26A: Feminine name ending (-INA); 27A: Title burglar played by Bruce Willis in a 1991 film (HUDSON HAWK); 30A: Telecom setup (LAN); 31A: Brian who produced some U2 albums (ENO); 32A: Firm heads, for short (CEOS); 33A: Note in an E major scale (G SHARP); 35A: 1992 Grammy winner for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance (K.D. LANG); 38A: Old shipping allowance (TRET); 39A: Nice season? (ÉTÉ); 40A: Gut reaction? (OOF); 42A: Stock mover (CATTLE PROD); 45A: A funder of PBS's "American Masters" (NEA); 46A: Crab's sensor (PALP); 47A: Some flawed mdse. (IRRS.); 48A: Get-up-and-go (ZEST); 49A: Barbary Coast land: Abbr. (ALG.); 50A: Zap with a beam (LASE); 51A: Succeeds completely (ACES IT); 53A: Place to learn about cells, briefly (BIO LAB); 55A: Improve in small ways (FINE-TUNE); 57A: Loll (SPRAWL); 58A: Beckons (ATTRACTS); 59A: Mr. Right (THE ONE); 60A: It's the most likely to succeed (BEST SHOT); 1D: Holiday toast (WASSAIL); 2D: Ran into trouble (HIT A SNAG); 3D: High-spirited horses (ARABIANS); 4D: Former "SNL" regular Farley (CHRIS); 5D: Insightful (KEEN); 6D: Green hue (JADE); 7D: Concubine's room (ODA); 8D: Pleiades components (B STARS); 9D: Minded (LISTENED TO); 10D: Important river in WWI (YSER); 11D: Wand (ROD); 12D: One after another (IN A ROW); 13D: Gift giver, informally (ST. NICK); 14D: "Vissi d'arte" singer (TOSCA); 21D: Warehouse workers (STOCKERS); 24D: Some new parents (ADOPTERS); 25D: Havana home (CASA); 27D: Spirit (HEART); 28D: Fly-by-night (UNRELIABLE); 29D: Rolled into a cup (HOLED); 34D: www letters (HTTP); 36D: Model of excellence (NONESUCH); 37D: Discusses (GOES INTO); 41D: Most profitable, as a business contract (FATTEST); 42D: Islamic leader (CALIPH); 43D: 1980s-'90s Tennessee senator (AL GORE); 44D: Ready-made (PREFAB); 46D: Brewer Frederick (PABST); 48D: Sorority letters (ZETAS); 50D: Egg-rolling site (LAWN); 51D: Colony workers (ANTS); 52D: Like some U.S. mail (CERT.); 54D: Thai native (LAO); 56D: Ore suffix (-ITE).