THEME: "Play (Volley)ball!"—Three phrases start with words that are also volleyball hits
- 20A: [How some scary things go] (BUMP IN THE NIGHT). I'm not wild about BUMP IN THE NIGHT dangling out there without its prefatory GO. BUMP is the standard underhand volleyball move, isn't it?
- 29A: [Not subject to change] (SET IN STONE). That's rock-solid. A volleyball player SETs by hitting the ball upwards with both hands up high.
- 47A: [Some stilettos] (SPIKE HEELS). Jump up and smash the volleyball over the net for a SPIKE.
- 54A: [Activity that involves the first words of 20-, 29- and 47-Across] (VOLLEYBALL GAME).
Bloggy health update: Rex is much improved, but now his wife has come down with the stomach virus. Seems to be a short-lived bug, which is good because Rex is heading to the ACPT on Thursday.
What all is in this puzzle? This:
- 23A. [Nous minus moi?] (TOI). That's French for "us minus me = you." Speaking of French arithmetic, there's also 8D: [Quatre + sept] = ONZE. That's 4 + 7 = 11.
- 46A. [More work] (UTOPIA). That's Utopia, written by Thomas More in 1516.
- 52A. [Not quite oneself] (OFF). I fear I will be a little OFF this weekend. Am not feeling that competitive fire in the crossword belly.
- 63A. [Tobacco unit] (LEAF). Not at all an expected clue for LEAF. The clue had me thinking of CHAW.
- 25D. [Leans, as a ship] (LISTS). Anyone else use this word when your own body is leaning to one side? I do. I tend to LIST as I walk down the hallway to my kitchen.
- Aw, man! 45D. ["Star Trek" defenses] (SHIELDS) duped me. I know that PHASERS are offense, not defense, but still. The PHASERS messed me up here.
- 53D. [Canine woes] (FLEAS). Your canines are your eyeteeth, of course. And you go to the dentist when your eyeteeth have FLEAS. Speaking of which...The Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist is named Flea. This acoustic version does without Flea and the bass.
Crosswordese 101: Today's hot crosswordese has been covered before:
Everything Else — 1A: Whack, biblically (SMITE); 6A: Condescending sort (SNOB); 10A: Kodak rival (FUJI); 14A: Brightly colored tropical fish (TETRA); 15A: Chaplin's last wife (OONA); 16A: Road for Pilate (ITER); 17A: "That's __ trick!" (A NEAT); 18A: Cutting-edge Motorola phone? (RAZR); 19A: Statistician's input (DATA); 20A: How some scary things go (BUMP IN THE NIGHT); 23A: Nous minus moi? (TOI); 24A: "The loneliest number," in a 1969 hit (ONE); 25A: Wasted, as a chance (LOST); 29A: Not subject to change (SET IN STONE); 35A: "I wish!" ("IF ONLY!"); 37A: On the calmer side (ALEE); 38A: Floors, briefly (KOS); 39A: Wolfgang Puck's restaurant (SPAGO); 40A: Third qtr. start (JUL.); 41A: Talons (CLAWS); 43A: Male in an alley (TOM); 44A: Cognac initials (VSOP); 46A: More work (UTOPIA); 47A: Some stilettos (SPIKE HEELS); 50A: Not easy to see (TINY); 51A: Crimson opponent (ELI); 52A: Not quite oneself (OFF); 54A: Activity that involves the first words of 20-, 29- and 47-Across (VOLLEYBALL GAME); 62A: Perfume holder (VIAL); 63A: Tobacco unit (LEAF); 64A: Like chalet roofs (EAVED); 65A: Be sore (ACHE); 66A: Take a shot (DARE); 67A: Word after sing or string (ALONG); 68A: Nerve opening? (NEUR-); 69A: Lose fur (SHED); 70A: Common asset? (SENSE); 1D: Rough guess (STAB); 2D: See 3-Down (MENU); 3D: Unit on a 2-Down (ITEM); 4D: Ambush (TRAP); 5D: Weird Al Yankovic spoof of a Michael Jackson hit (EAT IT); 6D: Airman's assignment (SORTIE); 7D: Early boat builder (NOAH); 8D: Quatre + sept (ONZE); 9D: With no exceptions (BAR NONE); 10D: Act nervously (FIDGET); 11D: Home to Zion National Park (UTAH); 12D: Rocker Joan (JETT); 13D: Brokerage statement subj., perhaps (IRA); 21D: Overly curious (NOSY); 22D: Bat's prey (INSECT); 25D: Leans, as a ship (LISTS); 26D: King ___ (Michael Jackson) (OF POP); 27D: "Ditto" ("SO AM I"); 28D: "Star Trek" sequel, for short (TNG); 30D: Brownish gray (TAUPE); 31D: Under the weather (ILL); 32D: Giraffe cousin (OKAPI); 33D: Hopeless (NO-WIN); 34D: Exam type you can't guess on (ESSAY); 36D: Apollo 13 commander Jim (LOVELL); 40D: Average guy? (JOE); 42D: Auction unit (LOT); 45D: "Star Trek" defenses (SHIELDS); 46D: Defunct gridiron org. (USFL); 48D: Sullivan's charge in "The Miracle Worker" (KELLER); 49D: Emulated a couch potato (LOAFED); 53D: Canine woes (FLEAS); 54D: Guilty pleasure (VICE); 55D: Iolani Palace site (OAHU); 56D: "Uh-huh" ("YEAH"); 57D: In one's birthday suit (BARE); 58D: "The Wizard of Oz" family name (GALE); 59D: Bard's river (AVON); 60D: Clothing store department (MEN'S); 61D: Fringe (EDGE); 62D: U-Haul rental (VAN).