THEME: body part + random word + body part — theme answers follow that pattern
Slower than normal today because the theme wasn't entirely clear as I was solving, so didn't help at all, and one theme answer (FINGER-TO-NOSE) was a phrase I'd never seen before. I can picture the sobriety test in question, but didn't know that it had such a literal name. Had FINGER and needed crosses to take down the rest. Theme was ho-hum, but the grid is pretty cleanly filled, and the cluing was decent, so the overall experience was enjoyable.
- 20A: Hopelessly, as in love (HEAD OVER HEELS)
- 29A: Field sobriety test (FINGER-TO-NOSE)
- 46A: Fierce way to fight (TOOTH AND NAIL)
- 56A: Facetious (TONGUE IN CHEEK)
Tougher-than-normal cluing added some zest to the puzzle today. Any time I can't pick up a clue's answer on first glance, that counts as "tougher-than-normal" cluing on a Monday. Today, I got stumped at 60A: Forte of a certain "doctor" (SPIN). I think the word "Forte" was making me think "Foot" and thus think "Doctor" SCHOLL'S. Clearly my aviation vocabulary needs work, as both the clue and answer at 26A: Piper in the air (CUB) are only barely recognizable to me. Here's a piper CUB in action:
More mess-ups by me — couldn't pick up 29D: Hertz inventory (FLEET) without most of the crosses. Don't know what I was looking for, but I'm guessing it was something like, uh, CARS. AUTOS? Wrote in MANLY for MACHO very early on in the solve (1D: Virile). And then there was my favorite mistake: misreading the clue on 31D: Umbilicus (NAVEL) as "Umbilicious!" Not surprisingly, I had *no* idea what to do with that. I think "Umbilicious" is an exclamation associated with a fetish you don't want to know *anything* about.
Crosswordese 101: AD HOC (14A: Like a specially formed committee) — "To this," as in "for this occasion only," as in "not standing or planned in advance." Used most often of committees, as you undoubtedly know. Grids love this fivesome of letters for some reason. Terminal "C" almost always needs to be preceded by an "I," and thus the words where it's preceded by something else show up an awful lot in the grid. This is because once you opt out of "I," your options narrow right down: -OC gives you, what? MEDOC? ADHOC? HAVOC? And then a bunch of stuff you don't really want in your grid, like "ASSOC." "THE O.C."
- 2D: Work shirker (IDLER) — knew it was IDLER before I ever looked at the clue, but then, when I read the clue, I read [Work shriker]. This is almost certainly due to the appearance of SHRIKE in a recent puzzle in another publication.
- 28D: Stupefy with booze (BESOT) — a great word. The language of drunkenness is very well represented in Crossworld. I nearly made BESOT my Crosswordese 101 lesson, but it's nowhere near as common as "SOT" (or "TOPE," or "DTS," etc.), so went for the drab but far more crosswordesey ADHOC. Also on the short list: EMCEE.
- 22D: They're big in Hollywood (EGOS) — this is a tired, recycled, and stereotypical clue that needs to die a hard death. EGOS are big in many, many businesses. Slurring "Hollywood" en masse is like saying everyone who works on Wall St. is a greedy fat cat. Come on. Bring some more imagination to the cluing.
- 6D: Broken chord, in music (ARPEGGIO) — how did I never see the clue for this? That's a really long word for me to have missed the clue completely. It's probably a good thing I missed it, as I wouldn't have picked it up easily anyway.
See you Friday,
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Everything Else — 1A: Prefix with brewery (MICRO-); 6A: Quite a ways away (AFAR); 10A: Field furrow maker (PLOW); 14A: Like a specially formed committee (AD HOC); 15A: Infrequent (RARE); 16A: Learn about aurally (HEAR); 17A: Track shoe part (CLEAT); 18A: Canon shots, briefly (PICS); 19A: Dark and murky (INKY); 20A: Hopelessly, as in love (HEAD OVER HEELS); 23A: Meal remnant (ORT); 24A: Cribbage piece (PEG); 25A: Writer's coll. major, often (ENG.); 26A: Piper in the air (CUB); 29A: Field sobriety test (FINGER TO NOSE); 32A: Fossil fuel (COAL); 35A: Draw a bead (AIM); 36A: Keeps for later (SAVES); 37A: A single time (ONCE); 38A: Theater chain founded in 1904 (LOEW'S); 41A: __ Beach, Florida (VERO); 42A: Firestone products (TIRES); 44A: Bit of a chill (NIP); 45A: Formerly, previously (ERST); 46A: Fierce way to fight (TOOTH AND NAIL); 50A: Reply: Abbr. (ANS.); 51A: __, dos, tres ... (UNO); 52A: '50s car embellishment (FIN); 53A: "Antiques Roadshow" airer (PBS); 56A: Facetious (TONGUE IN CHEEK); 60A: Forte of a certain "doctor" (SPIN); 62A: Eye blatantly (OGLE); 63A: Throw with effort (HEAVE); 64A: Political alliance (PACT); 65A: Mass transit option (RAIL); 66A: Game show host (EMCEE); 67A: "The Sun __ Rises" (ALSO); 68A: Somewhat (A TAD); 69A: Competed in a bee (SPELT); 1D: Virile (MACHO); 2D: Work shirker (IDLER); 3D: Copy from your classmate's paper, say (CHEAT); 4D: Willie Nelson's "On the __ Again" (ROAD); 5D: Squid cousins (OCTOPI); 6D: Broken chord, in music (ARPEGGIO); 7D: Expo (FAIR); 8D: Shooter with a quiver (ARCHER); 9D: Bristle at (RESENT); 10D: Golfer Mickelson (PHIL); 11D: Camera's protective cap (LENS COVER); 12D: Cask material (OAK); 13D: Droll (WRY); 21D: Bribable (VENAL); 22D: They're big in Hollywood (EGOS); 27D: Online surfers, e.g. (USERS); 28D: Stupefy with booze (BESOT); 29D: Hertz inventory (FLEET); 30D: Edit (EMEND); 31D: Umbilicus (NAVEL); 32D: Terra __: pottery clay (COTTA); 33D: Burger topper (ONION); 34D: Puzzles involving quotes, usually (ACROSTICS); 39D: Hall of Fame outfielder Dave or actor Paul (WINFIELD); 40D: Madrid's country (SPAIN); 43D: Steer clear of (SHUN); 47D: Long-haired cat (ANGORA); 48D: Chewy candy (NOUGAT); 49D: Yard's 36 (INCHES); 53D: What a V-sign may mean (PEACE); 54D: Slanted edge (BEVEL); 55D: Trapshooting (SKEET); 57D: Not hoodwinked by (ONTO); 58D: Director Kazan (ELIA); 59D: Natural rope fiber (HEMP); 60D: Place to be pampered (SPA); 61D: Buddy (PAL).