THEME: "Would You Keep It Down Out There?!?"—This puzzle wants to know what all the noise is, and provides plenty of it
- 17A. [Consequence of the subprime mortgage fiasco] is the REAL ESTATE CRASH. Crashes are indeed loud. Yesterday when I picked my son up after school, a few of the yellow buses ful of kids managed to crash. Everyone was OK, but one bus needed to be towed, one kid got checked out at the ER, a bunch of school staff lost their afternoons, and 100 kids were two hours late getting home that day. As for me and my kid, we enjoyed the sunshine, the playground, and watching all the emergency vehicles (seven!) on site.
- 25A. [Exit spectacularly] clues GO OUT WITH A BANG.
- 42A. [Punished severely, with "on"] is LOWERED THE BOOM.
- 55A. [Complaint from one trying to concentrate, perhaps—and this puzzle's title] clues "WHAT'S THAT RACKET?"
I like Donna's clueing style—they're not the super-tough tricky clues I'm so fond of, since she mostly does puzzles in the easy-to-medium range, but they've got panache. Among my favorite clues are these ones:
- 10A. [One of Hammett's Charleses] is NORA, of Nick and Nora Charles and their dog Asta fame. Never read those stories, never saw any of hte movies. But I did love the entirely unrelated movie, Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist.
- 20A. ESS is a "meh" answer, but [Start of something?] sounds like something more interesting.
- 36A. [Blin, in Blois] is almost incomprehensible. The plural of blin is blini (which feels much more familiar to me), and a single blin is essentially a CREPE. Blois must be some place where French is spoken, but I can't say I've ever heard of it. Oddball words in a standard alliteration clue—not the usual.
- 51A. [Hit or miss?] is a VERB. Yep, I usually fall for the clues that want you to come up with VERB or RHYME or SYNONYM but use words that have another meaning that sits in the forefront, distracting you.
- 6D. [Zippy watercraft] is a JETSKI. I love the word "zippy."
- 7D. Trivia clue: [Like about 20% of Israeli citizens today] means ARAB.
- 24D. [Engage in retail therapy?] clues SHOP. I don't shop for therapy. I shop because I want to acquire things.
- 36D. More trivia: The CORVETTE is a [Sports car named for a small warship].
- 41D. [They usually have strings attached] refers to the noun TEA BAGS. Strings literally, not figuratively.
- 53D. [Things for hanging things] are PEGS. I'm always glad to skip a [Cribbage scorekeeper] clue.
My favorite answer is BEEFCAKE (9D: [Stud muffin photos]), though I prefer chocolate cake when it comes to dessert.
I remember OINGO Boingo (27D: [New Wave band __ Boingo]) from early-'80s MTV. Apparently their biggest song was from the 1985 movie Weird Science, which I never saw because I was by then a sophisticated college student who didn't want to watch movies for teens. Lots of troubling psychosexual issues are at play in the video (and, I hear, the movie). You know Danny Elfman, who composed the theme to The Simpsons and has scored movies? He was in Oingo Boingo.
Crosswordese 101: Rex has previously covered the word ORIEL (26D: [Bay window]). Is there any long-time solver of crosswords who doesn't store ORIEL and OSIER in the same part of their brain?
Everything Else — 1A: Harpsichord relative (PIANO); 6A: Doorframe part (JAMB); 10A: One of Hammett's Charleses (NORA); 14A: Aggressive poker bet (ALL IN); 15A: Spooky-sounding lake (ERIE); 16A: Musician Clapton (ERIC); 17A: Consequence of the subprime mortgage fiasco (REAL ESTATE CRASH); 20A: Start of something? (ESS); 21A: Accident investigation agcy. (NTSB); 22A: Lowly assistant (FLUNKY); 23A: Swindle (ROOK); 24A: Move quickly, as clouds (SCUD); 25A: Exit spectacularly (GO OUT WITH A BANG); 31A: Get out of bed (ARISE); 32A: Hunan pans (WOKS); 33A: Consume (EAT); 35A: Cellar stock (WINE); 36A: Blin, in Blois (CREPE); 38A: Chip's buddy (DALE); 39A: Frat party staple (KEG); 40A: Mindless repetition (ROTE); 41A: Championship (TITLE); 42A: Punished severely, with "on" (LOWERED THE BOOM); 46A: Guns (REVS); 47A: Word after open or seven (SEAS); 48A: Take big steps (STRIDE); 51A: Hit or miss? (VERB); 52A: Special __: military force (OPS); 55A: Complaint from one trying to concentrate, perhapsóand this puzzle's title (WHAT'S THAT RACKET); 58A: Aqueduct feature (ARCH); 59A: Lob (TOSS); 60A: Narrow canyon (GORGE); 61A: Cook in the microwave (NUKE); 62A: Fencer's weapon (ÉPÉE); 63A: Tic, e.g. (SPASM); 1D: Peel (PARE); 2D: Martinique et RÈunion (ILES); 3D: "__, poor Yorick!": Hamlet (ALAS); 4D: Zilch (NIL); 5D: Musically monotonous (ONE-NOTE); 6D: Zippy watercraft (JET SKI); 7D: Like about 20% of Israeli citizens today (ARAB); 8D: Univ. near Harvard (MIT); 9D: Stud muffin photos (BEEFCAKE); 10D: Chilean poet Pablo (NERUDA); 11D: Algerian seaport (ORAN); 12D: Game played on a world map (RISK); 13D: Sore (ACHY); 18D: Store in a hold (STOW); 19D: Clover-shaped suit (CLUBS); 23D: Artful stratagem (RUSE); 24D: Engage in retail therapy? (SHOP); 25D: Stare in wonder (GAWK); 26D: Bay window (ORIEL); 27D: New Wave band __ Boingo (OINGO); 28D: Tammany Hall name (TWEED); 29D: "Peachy keen!" ("NEATO!"); 30D: Carlo Rossi winemaker (GALLO); 34D: Be rife (with) (TEEM); 36D: Sports car named for a small warship (CORVETTE); 37D: Info in AAA TripTiks (RTES.); 38D: "That's mine!" (DIBS); 40D: Saxes and oboes (REEDS); 41D: They usually have strings attached (TEABAGS); 43D: Twist in pain (WRITHE); 44D: Scary African fly (TSE-TSE); 45D: Frau's spouse (HERR); 48D: Ugly duckling, actually (SWAN); 49D: Drive-__ window (THRU); 50D: Pinion partner (RACK); 51D: Still life subject (VASE); 52D: Gumbo pod (OKRA); 53D: Things for hanging things (PEGS); 54D: Stern's opposite (STEM); 56D: Emulate Kanga (HOP); 57D: Radar gun aimer (COP).