Tied for the toughest Friday LAT of the year for me. Horrible first step — TERNS for GULPS (1A: Large swallows) kinda put me back a little in the NW, and then, much later, the entire SE was a bear. So many proper nouns, two of which I didn't know at all and another (BOLGER, 41A: Scarecrow portrayer) I got only after much mental prodding from crosses. LEILA what? (37A: Priestess in Bizet's "The Pearl Fishers") ... RILEY who? (57A: Op artist Bridget) ... Eeks. Plus, INURN (60A: Bury)? That's up there on the "Worst Words In The World" list. I, of course, had the *actual* synonym for [Bury], which is INTER. If you change MCAN to MCAT, NYNY to TREY, and RILEY to, I don't know, let's say TILER, you can fix it. No, wait — better:
I don't think ACRO- is any worse than AERO- as prefixes go, and, well, a "Z" is a "Z." Plus, you could have cross-referenced ZILCH and ZIP as synonyms of one another, if you wanted to be especially mean. The moral of the story is — if a word is a heinous abomination loved not even by God Herself, then do your damnedest to keep it out of your grid.
I liked half the theme — the top half. I didn't like that BELLYPOACHER is odd man out for changing the sound of the word to which "PO" was added. Everywhere else, you just add the sound "PO"; here, long "A" sound disappears and hard "K" sound of "CH" disappears as well. Not a fan of inconsistency, esp. when just *one* theme answer fails to meet the norm established by the others. I did enjoy the somewhat challenging cluing, and the rather lovely NW. Ooh, and PORNO / PINKO side-by-side = a thing of beauty (12D: Blue books? + 13D: Cold War put-down).
- 21A: Criticize a small town? (SLAM PODUNK)
- 26A: Checking for doneness at the grill? (BURGER POKING)
- 42A: Certain pork thief? (BELLY POACHER)
- 49A: Spelling contest notice? (BEE POSTING)
Crosswordese 101: Catherine PARR (34D: Henry VIII's sixth) — not to be confused with former "Tonight Show" host Jack PAAR, Catherine PARR was the last of Henry VIII's wives. First Queen of Ireland (after Henry assumed title of "King of Ireland"). Then there's this, from wikipedia: "She will be portrayed by actress Joely Richardson on the fourth and final season of Showtime’s The Tudors, which is set to debut in Spring 2010." Catherine is the most famous of PARRs, though John is surely a close 2nd for anyone who was a teenager in the '80s.
- 10A: Joseph who brought Shakespeare to Central Park (PAPP) — nice fat gimme for me, which felt good after flailing around in the NW for a while. Kind of a New Yorky puzzle for the LAT, what with this answer here and NYNY in the SE corner.
- 30A: Jackie Chan and others (ASIANS) — !?!?! He's the representative ASIAN now? Why not clue MEN as [Rod Blagojevich and others]? Makes as much sense.
- 10D: Eddie of "Frasier," for one (PET DOG) — feels iffy to me. I don't think I'd accept PET GERBIL either.
- 44D: Retailer whose middle name was Cash (PENNEY) — as in J.C.
- 26D: Munchkin creator (BAUM) — as in L. Frank. First thought: "Dunkin' Donuts?"
See you Monday,
Everything Else — 1A: Large swallows (GULPS); 6A: Loosen (up) (WARM); 10A: Joseph who brought Shakespeare to Central Park (PAPP); 14A: Director Kurosawa (AKIRA); 15A: Plant with thick, fleshy leaves (ALOE); 16A: Morlock prey (ELOI); 17A: Elementary particle (MESON); 18A: Neeson of "Nell" (LIAM); 19A: Undecided (TORN); 20A: Abbr. followed by a year (ESTD.); 21A: Criticize a small town? (SLAM PODUNK); 23A: Old Ford (PINTO); 25A: Bad luck (HOODOO); 26A: Checking for doneness at the grill? (BURGER POKING); 30A: Jackie Chan and others (ASIANS); 31A: Magic 8-Ball response (YES); 32A: Rug feature (NAP); 35A: Giving word? (UNCLE); 36A: Fertilization targets (OVA); 37A: Priestess in Bizet's "The Pearl Fishers" (LEILA); 39A: West famous for "Come up sometime and see me" (MAE); 40A: Tournament pass (BYE); 41A: Scarecrow portrayer (BOLGER); 42A: Certain pork thief? (BELLY POACHER); 45A: St. Clare's town (ASSISI); 48A: Finish by (END AT); 49A: Spelling contest notice? (BEE POSTING); 52A: Name on some Kmart shoes (MCAN); 55A: Subordinate (AIDE); 56A: Mountain lake (TARN); 57A: Op artist Bridget (RILEY); 58A: List of games, briefly (SKED); 59A: Presque Isle's lake (ERIE); 60A: Bury (INURN); 61A: __ d'oeuvre (HORS); 62A: Opposite of bleak (ROSY); 63A: N'awlins sandwich, and this puzzle's title (PO-BOY); 1D: Hunter's quarry (GAME); 2D: Some are made from koa wood (UKES); 3D: Amount rarely paid (LIST PRICE); 4D: Spendthrift (PRODIGAL); 5D: __ Bernardino (SAN); 6D: Belt or sock (WALLOP); 7D: Et __ (ALIA); 8D: Knock around (ROAM); 9D: Tennessee's largest city (MEMPHIS); 10D: Eddie of "Frasier," for one (PET DOG); 11D: Orally (ALOUD); 12D: Blue books? (PORNO); 13D: Cold War put-down (PINKO); 21D: Narrow waterways: Abbr. (STRS.); 22D: Bass attachment? (-OON); 24D: Endangered state bird (NENE); 26D: Munchkin creator (BAUM); 27D: Annapolis sch. (USNA); 28D: Kvetch's words (OY VEY); 29D: Mauna __ (KEA); 32D: Bouncer employer (NIGHTCLUB); 33D: Opposite of aweather (ALEE); 34D: Henry VIII's sixth (PARR); 36D: Olive __ (OYL); 37D: Burden (LOAD); 38D: 1950s-'80s Chevy utility vehicle (EL CAMINO); 40D: Runner's problem (BLISTER); 41D: Big bell sound (BONG); 42D: Two-footers (BIPEDS); 43D: Spanish pronoun (ESO); 44D: Retailer whose middle name was Cash (PENNEY); 45D: Put to shame (ABASH); 46D: Watch handle (SEIKO); 47D: Feast that includes the Cup of Elijah (SEDER); 50D: Tropical tuber (TARO); 51D: Tennessee state flower (IRIS); 53D: Nautical leader? (AERO-); 54D: Big Apple ltrs. (NY, NY); 57D: Tear (RIP).