THEME: "Mo-o-om! We Want Better Snacks!"—Four two-word noun phrases end with snacks but are not edible
At a family function last night, I learned from my aunt that blogs are "a waste of time." (Both the writing and the reading thereof.) What do you think? Is it more likely that (a) she has never actually read a blog and expressed a wholly uninformed opinion, or (b) that's she's merely unconscionably rude, in that she looked me straight in the eye when making these pronouncements?
Obviously, Rex and PuzzleGirl and I don't think blogs are a waste of time, and we love helping people to extract more enjoyment out of their crossword puzzles. (By the way: Crossword puzzles? Also "a waste of time"! And people wonder why I don't go to more of these family parties. I act like the one-hour drive is too far, but really, I'll fly to New York and spend a lot of time and money to hang out at the crossword tournament with no concern about travel time.)
- 20A: Microprocessors (COMPUTER CHIPS). These are best with a hint of sea salt.
- 27A: Shipping thingies used as a filler (PACKING PEANUTS). Can't get enough of those honey-roasted styrofoam nuggets.
- 43A: Bits of user information created by Web sites (BROWSER COOKIES). Oatmeal/chocolate chip/cranberry are the best, but I like those peanut butter/chocolate Girl Scout cookies I'm buying from PuzzleGirl's daughter, too.
- 51A: Contortionists (HUMAN PRETZELS). Some people prefer their human pretzels dipped in white chocolate, but I think white chocolate is an abomination unto humanity.
- 35A: With 63-Across, this puzzle's theme (SNACK / FOOD).
Random rundown of clues, quickly because I'm behind schedule here. I did the puzzle late last night but found my eyes closing mid-solve. Not a boring puzzle, just one I did when I was overtired.
- 5A: Plays a trump card, in bridge (RUFFS). Don't know this one at all. To me, RUFFS are Elizabethan collars, a comic-strip dog name, or furry/feathery necks on various beasties.
- 18A: Mizuno Corporation headquarters (OSAKA). No, you're not expected to know this as a trivia factoid. Just to recognize "Hmm, Mizuno, that sounds Japanese," and plunk in a 5-letter Japanese city that works with the crossings.
- 19A: Sty resident? (SLOB). The question mark tells you it's not a literal pigsty, so it's not a BOAR.
- 38D: '50s TV scandal genre (QUIZ SHOW). Gotta love a fill answer that's long and contains both a Q and a Z.
Crosswordese 101: ENIAC gets an unusual clue today: 15A: 1946 high-tech unveiling at the Univ. of Pennsylvania. If the answer is 5 letters and the clue is about an early, old, pioneering, giant computer from the '40s, ENIAC's your friend. However! If you have a 6-letter answer about a pioneering mainframe from 1951, UNIVAC is your friend. Sorry I don't have a mnemonic for remembering that they're not Uniac and Enivac. No, wait! ENIAC is CAINE backwards. Think of Michael Caine standing in front of a giant old mainframe. Being a 6-letter answer, UNIVAC shows up as filler much less often than ENIAC does. Astonishingly, a Google image search of michael caine computer turned up a photo to help us remember this.
See you Saturday, time-wasters!
Everything Else — 1A: Caesar's reproach (ET TU); 5A: Plays a trump card, in bridge (RUFFS); 10A: #2 (VEEP); 14A: Caution (WARN); 15A: 1946 high-tech unveiling at the Univ. of Pennsylvania (ENIAC); 16A: On Hollywood Blvd., say (IN L.A.); 17A: Way out (EXIT); 18A: Mizuno Corporation headquarters (OSAKA); 19A: Sty resident? (SLOB); 20A: Microprocessors (COMPUTER CHIPS); 23A: Poet Lowell (AMY); 25A: Tennyson's twilight (E'EN); 26A: Beginning (ONSET); 27A: Shipping thingies used as a filler (PACKING PEANUTS); 32A: Persian Gulf ship (OILER); 33A: Roll call response (HERE); 34A: Court response (PLEA); 35A: With 63-Across, this puzzle's theme (SNACK); 37A: Water color (AQUA); 41A: Grammy winner Braxton (TONI); 42A: Subjects for searching or saving (SOULS); 43A: Bits of user information created by Web sites (BROWSER COOKIES); 48A: "Me, too!" (SO AM I); 49A: Buddy List co. (AOL); 50A: Eastern discipline (ZEN); 51A: Contortionists (HUMAN PRETZELS); 56A: "Back __ hour": store sign (IN AN); 57A: Budapest-born conductor (SOLTI); 58A: "Good heavens!" ("OH MY!"); 61A: 15th century date (MCDI); 62A: Place for a bracelet (ANKLE); 63A: See 35-Across (FOOD); 64A: Wet expanses (SEAS); 65A: Shocking weapon (TASER); 66A: Rare bills (TWOS); 1D: Farm mom (EWE); 2D: It's based on purchase price (TAX); 3D: Scooter kin (TRICYCLE); 4D: "Do __ others ..." (UNTO); 5D: Get back in business (REOPEN); 6D: Like heroes who deserve more credit (UNSUNG); 7D: Italian automaker (FIAT); 8D: Counterfeit (FAKE); 9D: Fight memento (SCAR); 10D: Hindu god incarnated as Krishna (VISHNU); 11D: Join the Army (ENLIST); 12D: Runs off to wed (ELOPES); 13D: Beer with a blue ribbon logo (PABST); 21D: Subject of the play "Golda's Balcony" (MEIR); 22D: Ice cream holder (CONE); 23D: Per unit (A POP); 24D: E or G follower (MAIL); 28D: Mauna __ (KEA); 29D: "Why Can't I?" singer Liz (PHAIR); 30D: Common Market letters (EEC); 31D: Biblical refuge (ARK); 35D: "Mayday!" ("SOS!"); 36D: D.C.-to-Albany dir. (NNE); 37D: Just fine (AOK); 38D: '50s TV scandal genre (QUIZ SHOW); 39D: Title beekeeper played by Peter Fonda (ULEE); 40D: Part of PGA: Abbr. (ASSN.); 41D: Mattress size (TWIN); 42D: Step on it (SOLE); 43D: Dribble (BOUNCE); 44D: Holiday Inn rival (RAMADA); 45D: Muscat residents (OMANIS); 46D: Ranch roamers (CATTLE); 47D: More slime-like (OOZIER); 48D: Leveling wedges (SHIMS); 52D: Jr.'s exam (PSAT); 53D: First name in gossip (RONA); 54D: Fraternal group (ELKS); 55D: Room at the top (LOFT); 59D: 46-Down call (MOO); 60D: Gridiron gains: Abbr. (YDS.).