- 20A: Cheese records? (ROQUEFORT FILES).
- 28A: Cheese from the deep? (SEA MUENSTER).
- 44A: Cheese no one is eating? (IDLE CHEDDAR).
- 51A: Cheese and beef concoction for humorist Mort? (SAHL'S BRIE STEAK).
I had a very pleasant experience with this puzzle that I'm not sure is duplicatable (if that's even a word), but it sure worked for me. I kept coming across things in the puzzle that I knew for reasons that just seemed odd or coincidental. Like KATES (39A: Actress Beckinsale et al.), for example. I wouldn't know Kate Beckinsale if she socked me in the nose. But I used to read recaps of "Lost" on Television Without Pity (formerly Mighty Big TV), where the writer referred to the character Kate Austin as Kate Beckinsale. I have no idea why, but I remembered the name. Then I knew YIPS (12D: Golfer's nervousness during putting, with "the") because PuzzleHusband and I were just talking about the phenomenon the other day. And 34A: HOITY-toity? At lunch with some co-workers just yesterday, the word "riff-raff" came up and everyone was curious about the word's (a) origin and (b) meaning. I didn't know the origin, but I started running down a list of synonyms: outsiders, undesirables, common people, hoi polloi. And that got me off on a tangent about how hoi polloi sounds like it should mean the exact opposite of what it means. One of my co-workers suggested that's probably because it sounds similar to hoity-toity and another co-worker called me a nerd. Ladies and gentlemen, my life in a nutshell.
At the risk of sounding like a broken record, obviously this puzzle isn't anywhere close to a New York Times level of difficulty. But, there were definitely some deceptive clues that made this puzzle more difficult than the others we've seen this week. For example:
- 43A: Having a bite (ACERB). In this case it's not about people biting food, but about food biting back! Ha!
- 49A: Social (TEA). One-word clues can be awfully deceptive. In this case, social is a noun, not an adjective.
- 66A: Store (SHOP). And here, store is a noun and not a verb. And in this case, with the S and the O in place, you might be tempted to enter stow. Not that I did that.
- 13D: Holy follower? (SEE). Raise your hand if your first thought was cow.
- 25A: Three-in-one vaccine, familiarly (DPT). Confidently entered MMR here.
- 41A: Octopus feature (BEAK). Um … what?
- 48A: Canaanite god (BAAL). Runner-up for this week's CW101 choice. In other words, if you haven't seen this one before, remember it because you'll definitely see it again.
- 4D: Show some backbone, slangily (MAN UP). Not a fan of this particular phrase. I do use it occasionally, though. But only ironically.
- 27D: Potomac River feature (TIDAL BASIN). Location of the Jefferson Memorial (my fave!).
- 29D: "There Is Nothing Like __" (A DAME). A Rodgers and Hammerstein song from "South Pacific."
- 32D: "Your Movie Sucks" author (EBERT). Best. Title. Ever.
- 50D: MapQuest predecessor? (ATLAS). I don't really understand the question mark here. That seems pretty straightforward.
- 51D: "Do the Right Thing" pizzeria (SAL'S). "Do the Right Thing" is one of Spike Lee's early movies. I believe Sal was played by Ossie Davis.
- 52D: Key using all five black keys in its scale: Abbr. (B MAJ.). Ack! I was so proud of myself for knowing E MAJ. But E MAJ. only has four sharps!
Other crosswordese in the puzzle that we've already covered:
- 5A: Trans Am option (T-TOP).
- 14A: Stale Italian bread? (LIRA).
- 43D: Mars counterpart (ARES).
- 56D: 1 for H, e.g. (AT. NO.).
Everything Else — 1A: Two percent alternative (SKIM); 9A: Chain with a cowboy hat logo (ARBY'S); 15A: Stray (ROVE); 16A: Whoopi's role in "The Color Purple" (CELIE); 18A: Headlight? (IDEA); 19A: Hosiery shade (TAUPE); 23A: Bud (PAL); 24A: Oft-rescued comics heroine (LOIS); 36A: Tool or fool (DUPE); 37A: Perfume by Dana (TABU); 38A: "The West Wing" actor (ALDA); 40A: Canoodling couple, maybe (ITEM); 42A: Sign (OMEN); 47A: RR depot (STA.); 58A: Pasta sauce herb (BASIL); 59A: "The Phantom Tollbooth" protagonist (MILO); 60A: How busy people often work (LATE); 61A: Much the same (ALIKE); 62A: Rights org. (ACLU); 63A: Annoying spots (ACNE); 64A: He voiced the curmudgeonly homeowner in "Up" (ASNER); 65A: Joke around (JEST); 1D: Defame (SLUR); 2D: Narc's seizure (KILO); 3D: Where Al Sharqiya is broadcast (IRAQ); 5D: Toy (with) (TRIFLE); 6D: List heading (TO DO); 7D: No longer hooked on (OVER); 8D: Garden supply (PEAT); 9D: Bruce Willis genre (ACTION); 10D: True-to-life (REALISTIC); 11D: Left-leaning ones (BLUE STATES); 21D: "Calm down!" ("EASY!"); 22D: Skedaddles (FLEES); 25D: Abu __ (DHABI); 26D: Moved, as a gondola (POLED); 30D: Toned down (MUTED); 31D: Invert (UPEND); 33D: Latin dance (RUMBA); 35D: "Get lost!" ("TAKE A HIKE!"); 39D: Department store chain that began in Wisconsin (KOHL'S); 43D: Mars counterpart (ARES); 45D: Talk radio regular (CALLER); 46D: Dined at the bistro, say (ATE OUT); 53D: Jambalaya ingredient (RICE); 54D: Misfortunes (ILLS); 55D: Per (EACH); 57D: Retain (KEEP); 58D: Sheep trill (BAA).