THEME: "B-B-B-B-Bad to the Bone"—A record-breaking 29 Bs appear in the grid, some of 'em beginning words in the nominal theme entries
Was this one tougher than usual for a weekday LAT puzzle for you? Or is it just me?
The middle answer, B-TWENTY-NINE doesn't have a spelled-out number anywhere but crosswords. Its clue reads 39a: [Enola Gay, e.g. (and a hint to this puzzle's unusual feature)], and you'll note that the clue refers to the puzzle, not to the handful of apparent theme entries. What look like theme entries but are really part of the overall grid-wide theme are these four phrases with B.B. initials:
- 17a. [Trivial Pursuit edition] is BABY BOOMER.
- 27a. [Luxurious soak] is a BUBBLE BATH.
- 53a. [Party recyclable] is a BEER BOTTLE.
- 64a. [Place for low-priority issues] is the BACK BURNER.
All righty, what else is in this crossword, Bs or otherwise?
- 22a. [i follower] clues POD. With Apple's latest product, the answer could also have been PAD…or MAC, for a less newfangled product.
- 32a. [Très __: very little] clues the French word PEU. I find it works best to hold your thumb and forefinger close together when saying this word. "Un peu."
- 56a. I'm not crazy about [Tongue trouble] as a clue for SLIP. Yes, "slip of the tongue" is a common phrase, but it's hardly ever "tongue trouble" that's responsible. I know, I know—it's not to be taken literally.
- 59a. [Like many dicts.] is ABR., the abbreviation for "abridged." In your dict., you may also encounter the abbrev OBS. (10d. [No longer used, as a word: Abbr.]), short for "obsolete." If you're lucky, your crossword includes words that are common enough to be found even in an abridged dictionary and not marked "obs."
- 3d. A BOBCAT is apparently a [Hare-hunting feline].
- 12d. [Beatles song with "Mother Mary"] is "LET IT BE."
- 13d. And here's ARETHA [Franklin of soul]. Her voice makes my scalp tingle (in a good way).
- 39d. BAKELITE is [Collectible plastic jewelry]. Any of you own some?
- 54d. ["... for there is nothing / either good __, but thinking makes it so": Hamlet] is completed by the partial phrase OR BAD. Who doesn't like a little Shakespeare?
Everything Else — 1A: To the third power (CUBED); 6A: Motorcyclist's hog (BIKE); 10A: Beatles nonsense syllables (OBLA); 14A: "__ Mio" (O SOLE); 15A: Prefix with mensch (UBER-); 16A: Uncle Remus title (BR'ER); 17A: Trivial Pursuit edition (BABY BOOMER); 19A: Download source (SITE); 20A: Pugilists' gp. (WBC); 21A: Give it a shot (TRY); 22A: i follower (POD); 24A: Smidgen (BIT); 25A: Flight to Eilat (EL AL); 27A: Luxurious soak (BUBBLE BATH); 30A: Asian palm (BETEL); 32A: Trés __: very little (PEU); 33A: Word in a Flintstone yell (YABBA); 34A: ISP with chat rooms (AOL); 36A: Gp. that has issued more than 420 million IDs (SSA); 38A: Braves' div. (NLE); 39A: Enola Gay, e.g. (and a hint to this puzzle's unusual feature) (B TWENTY-NINE); 42A: "Phooey!" ("BAH!"); 43A: Ball belle (DEB); 44A: "Pick a number from __ ..." (ONE); 45A: "Idol" success Clay (AIKEN); 47A: Ballot choices (X'ES); 49A: Fiber-rich cereals (BRANS); 53A: Party recyclable (BEER BOTTLE); 56A: Tongue trouble (SLIP); 57A: Show with "Celebrity Jeopardy!" spoofs, briefly (SNL); 58A: Dadaist Jean (ARP); 59A: Like many dicts. (ABR.); 61A: Post-op area (ICU); 62A: Getting the job done (ON IT); 64A: Place for low-priority issues (BACK BURNER); 67A: Moreno with Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony awards (RITA); 68A: '40s film critic James (AGEE); 69A: Guadalajara "good" (BUENO); 70A: Max of '30s boxing (BAER); 71A: Proof of ownership (DEED); 72A: "The Beverly Hillbillies" star (EBSEN); 1D: Spider's doing (COBWEB); 2D: In working order (USABLE); 3D: Hare-hunting feline (BOBCAT); 4D: Cambridgeshire cathedral town (ELY); 5D: Plastic user's concern (DEBT); 6D: Keep afloat (BUOY UP); 7D: ThinkPad maker (IBM); 8D: Stay active (KEEP BUSY); 9D: Flamboyant Flynn (ERROL); 10D: No longer used, as a word: Abbr. (OBS.); 11D: Like one who can be bought (BRIBABLE); 12D: Beatles song with "Mother Mary" (LET IT BE); 13D: Franklin of soul (ARETHA); 18D: Celestial sight (ORB); 23D: Actress Susan (DEY); 26D: Sofa material (LEATHER); 28D: Safest option (BEST BET); 29D: Pennants (BANNERS); 31D: Like bass notes (LOW); 35D: Headed up (LED); 37D: "I'll take that as __" (A NO); 39D: Collectible plastic jewelry (BAKELITE); 40D: Words clicked to see more (NEXT PAGE); 41D: Bach's "Mass __ Minor" (IN B); 42D: Two-year periods (BIENNIA); 45D: Take in (ABSORB); 46D: Hoops org. (NBA); 48D: Quenched (SLAKED); 50D: Dior skirts (A-LINES); 51D: Christianity's __ Creed (NICENE); 52D: Press forward (SPUR ON); 54D: "... for there is nothing / either good __, but thinking makes it so": Hamlet (OR BAD); 55D: Tidal action (EBB); 60D: Hick (RUBE); 63D: La Brea material (TAR); 65D: Average mark (CEE); 66D: Erase, with "out" (RUB).