- 17A: *Hooch from the hinterlands (MOUNTAIN DEW).
- 29A: *Spears or Twain (POP SINGER).
- 39A: *Steve Forbes proposed a 17% one (FLAT TAX).
- 48A: *Place to get tickets (BOX OFFICE).
Hey, everyone. Here I am on a Wednesday. Sick of me yet?
I had some trouble getting started on this one because right off the bat I wanted rube for HICK (1A: Country bumpkin). Is that even close? Or is a rube more of a cad? I'm too lazy to look it up. Then for [1D: Run smoothly] I wanted purr instead of HUM. You can see the problem there. So then I skipped over to [5A: In itself], which I just knew had to be per se and … it wasn't. I did, however, know [15A: Baum's good witch]. If only I knew how to spell her name! I tried Glynda before GLINDA became clear. Argh. When I had finally finished the top third or so, PuzzleKids came in yelling and carrying on. Apparently there had been some kind of badminton fiasco. I'm not sure I fully understand the situation, but oh boy! they were upset.
When I got back to it, it was slow and steady and, I think I'll go out on a limb and say enjoyable. I mean, how can you not enjoy seeing THE FOUR TOPS? Even though, again, I had an issue there! I kept hearing the Michael Jackson song "I Can't Help It," instead of the Four Tops' "I Can't Help Myself," so even that took a few crosses to work out.
I like this theme. The theme answers are shorter than usual, but they're still kind of cool with their X's and whatnot. And there are four of them. Four different tops. Get it? What? You got it back, like, five hours ago? Okay, well, I'm just trying to help, no need to get snippy.
- 11A: When doubled, a dance (CAN). Tried cha first.
- 21A: WellPoint competitor (AETNA). If you were paying attention yesterday, you probably got this easily.
- 43A: Fruit covering (RIND). Considered both peel and skin before RIND.
- 61A: Daisy __ (MAE). Not to be confused with Daisy Duke. Or maybe Daisy Duke is actually intended to be confused with her. Again, too lazy to go look it up.
- 8D: Leipzig link (UND). German! UND = and, a linking word.
- 9D: B followers (CDE). Random letter string. That's something you really don't like to see.
- 11D: Market offering (CART). Super- not stock-.
- 18D: 1994 Denis Leary comedy (THE REF). I would go try to find a clip of Denis Leary, who I think is hilarious, but I know I would get sucked into the vortex that is YouTube and I would never get to bed. Maybe next time.
- 44D: Stadium topper (DOME). There's a national high school wrestling tournament held at the Fargodome every year. I grew up in Fargo, but moved away before the Dome was built. So all the people I know from college wrestling have pretty much been there, but I haven't.
There was quite a bit of other crosswordese in the puzzle that we've already covered, so here's a summary if you want to do a little studying:
- 14A: Tangelo relative (UGLI).
- 38A: Brian who produced some U2 albums (ENO).
- 2D: Borodin prince (IGOR).
- 25D: Songwriters' org. (ASCAP).
- 40D: Irish Rose's lover (ABIE).
- 58D: Aqua Velva alternative (AFTA).
Everything Else — 16A: Livy's "I love" (AMO); 19A: Gun (REV); 20A: Sends again, as a package (RESHIPS); 23A: Computer list (MENU); 24A: Stated (SAID); 26A: Like a case before the court (AT BAR); 34A: It covers the pupil (CORNEA); 36A: __-Man (PAC); 37A: Youngest Brontë (ANNE); 42A: Lyric poem (ODE); 45A: "Madama Butterfly" tie (OBI); 46A: Hid, cardsharp-style (PALMED); 51A: Deviates (VEERS); 52A: Parcel (out) (METE); 53A: Sale warning (AS IS); 55A: Marina locale (INLET); 58A: Certifies under oath (ATTESTS); 66A: Lemon ending (-ADE); 67A: Exalt (LIFT UP); 68A: "Toreador Song," e.g. (ARIA); 69A: Cougar or Impala (CAR); 70A: Property to divide, perhaps (ESTATE); 71A: Monthly payment (RENT); 3D: Detective's need (CLUE); 4D: Brother or father (KINSMAN); 5D: "Encore!" ("AGAIN!"); 6D: Err (SLIP UP); 7D: Errs, morally (SINS); 10D: Game show winner's destination, maybe (HAWAII); 12D: Service finale (AMEN); 13D: Bright star (NOVA); 22D: Flamboyant Dame (EDNA); 24D: Tiff (SPAT); 26D: Harsh (ACERB); 27D: "Pagliacci" baritone role (TONIO); 28D: Where the 2009 World Series was won (BRONX); 30D: About the eye (OPTIC); 31D: Garden statue (GNOME); 32D: Word after East or West (ENDER); 33D: Oboes and clarinets (REEDS); 35D: Up in the air (ALOFT); 41D: Missionary St. Francis __ (XAVIER); 47D: Light cigarette ad claim (LESS TAR); 49D: In fine __: fit (FETTLE); 50D: Enjoy a bistro (EAT OUT); 54D: Knucklehead (STUPE); 55D: Apple with an electronic core (IMAC); 56D: Zilch (NADA); 57D: Lewd look (LEER); 59D: Ripped off (TORE); 60D: Turn in a kissing game (SPIN); 63D: Towel word (HIS); 65D: Made a lap (SAT).