THEME: No theme today—It's a themeless/freestyle puzzle
If you've been struggling with recent Saturday puzzles, perhaps you'll find this one to be more pliable. I zipped right through it like it was a Wednesday NYT crossword.
I like it when people's full names are included in the grid. Today, we have two people whose first names show up a lot because they have only three letters, two of them vowels. IRA GLASS and YMA SUMAC, today is your day to shine! I'm especially psyched about YMA SUMAC because she is way overdue for Crosswordese 101 attention (see below).
Before I move on to my other favorite answers, let me call your attention to a couple pairs of answers that bump up against the duplication rule, with related French and English words. 10A: [Orly sight] clues AVION, the French word for "airplane." Airplanes fly, and words like avion and aviation are derived from the Latin word for bird, avis. That word is half of RARA AVIS (36D: [One in a million]), which is Latin for "rare bird." Too close for comfort or a lovely pairing? You decide. Even more closely related are the French IDÉE (7D: [__ fixe]) and the second half of "NEAT IDEA!" (14D: ["Very clever!"]).
- 1A: ["Scram!"] ("TAKE A HIKE!"). I gotta start saying that more often.
- 17A: [It often requires a bedroom set] (LOVE SCENE). True enough.
- ELOI has been covered in Crosswordese 101 before, but this clue has a little extra oomph. 27A: [Group that "had decayed to a mere beautiful futility": Wells] (ELOI).
- 59A: [Team with a flaming ball in its logo] (MIAMI HEAT). Lively entry, that. (What kind of picture did you think I'd include?)
- 1D: [Know-it-all's taunt] ("TOLD YA"). I gotta start saying that more often, too.
- Potty humor! 13D: [Rustic place to go?] (OUTHOUSE).
- 35D: [Contest that's usually over in less than 20 seconds] (DRAG RACE). Cool answer.
- 56D: [Broccoli __] (RABE). I do not like anything in the broccoli category. This is a leafy green veggie with broccoli-like buds and bitter-flavored greens, the dictionary tells me. Bleh. It's also spelled broccoli raab and rapini, the latter word being a recent killer in a tough Fireball crossword. If you wish the Saturday L.A. Times puzzle were twice as hard, you should definitely subscribe to Fireball Crosswords. $10, cheap!
Less savory stuff:
I dunno. There's kind of a lot of not-so-hot fill today, isn't there? A Roman numeral (DCL), a direction (SSE), fill-in-the-blanks (PAO, DRU), ESSES, European geography (AAR, EDAM, ALSACE) and languages (ETE, GATO), RIAS, a weirdly clued plural abbreviation (SCIS, [Some H.S. courses]), a plural first name (GINAS), ANTRUM/[Anatomical cavity]...
Crosswordese 101: I don't know how many people who don't do crosswords know of YMA SUMAC (41A: [Singer in the 1954 film "Secret of the Incas"]). Her first name has been in crosswords for decades now. Clues generally touch on these things: she was born in Peru and her voice spanned five octaves. Something like [Singer Sumac] invariably clues YMA. Would you like to hear those octaves? Have at it:
Everything Else — 15A: Got very sore, maybe (OVERDID IT); 16A: Eva of "57-Across: Miami" (LARUE); 18A: Montana motto word (PLATA); 19A: Seventh-century date (DCL); 20A: Cooper's creation (KEG); 21A: Accepted without question (BOUGHT); 22A: Pines (YEARNS); 25A: Kung __ chicken (PAO); 28A: Features of some hotels (ATRIA); 29A: Effort (DINT); 30A: King deposed in 1964 (SAUD); 31A: Go along with (ASSENT TO); 34A: Vane reading: Abbr. (SSE); 35A: Sudafed alternative (DRISTAN); 38A: Sight from Marie Byrd Land (ROSS SEA); 40A: Took off (RAN); 43A: Like the Kalahari (ARID); 45A: Town inland of the IJsselmeer (EDAM); 46A: Actress Gershon et al. (GINAS); 50A: It may be chased by un perro (GATO); 51A: Lake Thun feeder (AAR); 52A: Studio renamed Paramount Television in 1967 (DESILU); 53A: 1986 N.L. batting champ Tim (RAINES); 55A: R&B group __ Hill (DRU); 57A: Show with DNA testing (CSI); 58A: __-garde (AVANT); 62A: Paramecium features (CILIA); 63A: All in all (ON BALANCE); 64A: Test track challenges (ESSES); 65A: Living end (BEE'S KNEES); 2D: Long-legged shore bird (AVOCET); 3D: Body armor fiber (KEVLAR); 4D: Poet's preposition (ERE); 5D: Things to zap (ADS); 6D: Bumpkins (HICKS); 8D: Top dog (KINGPIN); 9D: Hiver's opposite (ETE); 10D: Chop House Originals brand (ALPO); 11D: Societal concerns (VALUES); 12D: "This American Life" host (IRA GLASS); 21D: Duff (BOTTOM); 23D: Inlets (RIAS); 24D: Cold and rainy, say (NASTY); 29D: "Gracias" reply (DE NADA); 32D: Just like, with "the" (SAME AS); 33D: Truman Dam river (OSAGE); 37D: Approves, in a way (INITIALS); 42D: Certain rush hour commuter, metaphorically (SARDINE); 44D: "__ Darko": 2001 sci-fi film (DONNIE); 47D: Christianity's __ Creed (NICENE); 48D: French region along the Rhine (ALSACE); 49D: Bach compositions (SUITES); 52D: "The Count of Monte Cristo" author (DUMAS); 54D: LAX postings (ETAS); 59D: Hit-making group? (MOB); 60D: Kind (ILK); 61D: Solo in space (HAN).