- 17A: Cold sufferer's decongestant (NOSE DROPS).
- 28A: 18-Down washing places (KITCHEN SINKS).
- 47A: Honeymoon mecca (NIAGARA FALLS).
- 64A: Creamy bowlfuls for chips (PARTY DIPS).
Happy Monday, everybody. Hope you had a great weekend. Here at the PuzzleHouse there were soccer games and a birthday party (laser tag!) and a lot of lazing around. Which was awesome, except now I'm drowning in laundry and don't now when I'll ever get to it. It's all part of the trip, though, right?
Not terribly excited about this puzzle, and I'll tell you why. The theme is fine. I have a hard time believing it hasn't been done before, but it's a fine Monday theme. You know what's not fine on a Monday. AGENAS, that's what. Even though I've never heard of it, I wouldn't complain about seeing it in a Friday or Saturday puzzle. It's crossworthy, but it doesn't fit in a Monday puzzle. It just doesn't.
Okay, just looked up the theme and found that Lynn Lempel had the same idea, with different theme answers, on November 9, 2009, in the NYT. You know what Lynn Lempel didn't do with this theme? She didn't make plurals out of words that aren't typically referred to as plurals. She used KITCHEN SINK, singular. Throwing an S on the end of that entry is just lame. I don't even like to see it in the fill, but I definitely don't like to see it in the theme. NOSE DROPS and NIAGARA FALLS are fine, because that's how they're used. I don't recall anyone ever talking about one NOSE DROP. But KITCHEN SINKS and PARTY DIPS? Sorry. Not doing it for me.
One last gripe. With HARDIEST (5D: Most robust) already in the grid, there's no excuse for cluing -EST as a 55A: Superlative ending. Go with an abbreviation of ESTIMATE there to mix it up a little.
Those were the things that jumped out at me as remarkably bad (i.e., their badness is worth of remarking upon). The rest of the grid was pretty drab, with nothing great and nothing awful.
Crosswordese 101: ROK can stand for Republic of Korea or a soldier from the Republic of Korea. It's more likely to be clued as the soldier in crossword puzzles (e.g., today's 63D: Seoul soldier). In addition to seoul, clues are likely refer to Asia, Pusan, or the television show M*A*S*H.
Other crosswordese in the puzzle that we've already covered:
- 14A: Blond race in "The Time Machine" (ELOI).
- 67A: New York canal (ERIE).
- 2D: 1966 N.L. batting champ Matty (ALOU).
- 22D: Cartoon Chihuahua (REN).
- 27D: Old boom-creating speedster, briefly (SST).
- 48D: __ Lingus (AER).
Everything Else — 1A: Very attentive (RAPT); 5A: Kibbutz dance (HORA); 9A: Throat ailment (STREP); 14A: Blond race in "The Time Machine" (ELOI); 15A: Hatchets (AXES); 16A: Under-the-bridge folklore villain (TROLL); 19A: Reach a cost of (RUN TO); 20A: Prevail over, at an auction (OUTBID); 21A: Paddock pop (SIRE); 23A: Internet address punctuation (DOT); 24A: Gobi Desert locale (ASIA); 26A: Four __: luxury hotel (SEASONS); 32A: Breakfast area (NOOK); 33A: Canonized woman of Fr. (STE.); 34A: Early anesthetic (ETHER); 38A: FGs often end them (OTS); 39A: Stiffly formal (STILTED); 42A: __ League (IVY); 43A: Dressing table vessel, perhaps (BASIN); 45A: It's "the word" (MUM); 46A: Ballet bend (PLIE); 51A: Nightclub enforcer (BOUNCER); 54A: Be in on (KNOW); 56A: Fast food tycoon Ray (KROC); 58A: Gemini rockets (AGENAS); 62A: "You can't get __ from here" (THERE); 66A: Barbershop quartet voice (TENOR); 67A: New York canal (ERIE); 68A: Words after shake or break (A LEG); 69A: Bosox rivals (YANKS); 70A: Society newcomers (DEBS); 71A: Cell phone message (TEXT); 1D: Vegas alternative (RENO); 2D: 1966 N.L. batting champ Matty (ALOU); 3D: Newsgroup message (POST); 4D: Curtain restraint (TIE-BACK); 6D: Losing tic-tac-toe row (OXO); 7D: Weight room count (REPS); 8D: St. Francis of __ (ASSISI); 9D: Barely ran? (STREAKED); 10D: Show about Capote (TRU); 11D: Sonata finale, often (RONDO); 12D: Pop singer John (ELTON); 13D: Garden layouts (PLOTS); 18D: Spoon companion of rhyme (DISH); 22D: Cartoon Chihuahua (REN); 25D: Against (ANTI); 27D: Old boom-creating speedster, briefly (SST); 28D: Gearshift topper (KNOB); 29D: Greek "i" (IOTA); 30D: Mix, as a salad (TOSS); 31D: 1965 Freedom March city (SELMA); 35D: Country singer Faith (HILL); 36D: Pernicious (EVIL); 37D: Whiskey choices (RYES); 39D: Candy bar that makes you chuckle? (SNICKERS); 40D: Ankara native (TURK); 41D: Issues (from) (EMANATES); 44D: Country stopover (INN); 46D: Examined, cat-style (PAWED AT); 48D: __ Lingus (AER); 49D: Felt one's way (GROPED); 50D: Stodgy old-timer (FOGY); 51D: Wilma's pal on "The Flintstones" (BETTY); 52D: Milo of "The Verdict" (O'SHEA); 53D: Knoxville sch. (U. TENN.); 57D: Part of TLC (CARE); 59D: Christie's "Death on the __" (NILE); 60D: Nadir's opposite (APEX); 61D: High-ranking NCO (SSGT); 63D: Seoul soldier (ROK); 65D: Poke fun at (RIB).