Before we get started, I just want to say that I really appreciate you all hanging out with me here. I've been blogging solo here for a month now and so far it doesn't look like anyone's heading for the hills. So thank you for that. Also, even though I don't chime in a lot in the comments section, I want you to know it's just because my life is crazy right now. (Isn't that cute how I say that like maybe someday it won't be?) I do read all the comments and I both learn from and am entertained by all of you daily. I'm especially tickled when new commenters either stumble across our little spot here and jump right in, or when someone comes out of lurkdom. It's always awesome to welcome new voices into the mix. So. Thank you! Now onto the puzzle ….
I really enjoyed this challenge today. But again with the northwest corner! I had a heckuva time up there. I didn't know JAMES MASON (1A: He played Brutus in "Julius Caesar" (1953)) and had never heard of FATA MORGANA (14A: Complex mirage), which I'm happy to know now that I've looked it up. I also didn't know I GO TO PIECES (16A: 1965 Peter and Gordon hit) but now I have this song in my head:
My missteps include chief for SIOUX (46A: Sitting Bull, e.g.), sin for ERR (60A: Transgress), on time for AT ONCE (2D: Without delay), and AMA for HMO (47A: Doc bloc). I also wanted cup for SAC (8D: Egg holder). Egg cup? That's a thing, right? Other than that, it was just chipping away at it slowly but surely. I couldn't really get any traction anywhere except the northeast where the three three-letter gimmes helped immensely. Even though they sat atop the horrific GALOSH (19A: Wet-weather wear). You know how I'm always grumbling about the use of plurals in the grid? In this case, I would have preferred it!
Just a couple more things:
- 21A: Ski nautique site (LAC). LAC is French for lake so "Ski nautique" must be "water skiing." N'est-ce pas?
- 30A: House or lodge (STOW). Help me out here. Are house and lodge verbs in this clue? Cuz I think that makes sense then.
- 48A: Team that's played in the same home park since 1912 (RED SOX). I did not know that.
- 51A: "__ Got Bonnie": Rydell hit (I'VE). Don't know this song either.
- 3D: King's downfall, maybe (MATE). At first I wanted coup here. Does that even make sense?
- 14D: Dijon daughter (FILLE). More French!
- 20D: 1993 Anne Rice novel (LASHER). Was anyone fooled into trying Lestat here? I already had the A in place and knew that Lestate started with LE, so I didn't fall into that trap. I did see it though!
- 32D: Walking papers (THE AX). Love this! Might be one of my favorite clue/answer pairs of all time.
- 35D: Cupid, for one (REINDEER). Okay, this trap I walked right into with my eyes wide open. Great clue!
- 28A: "I kissed thee __ I killed thee": "Othello" (ERE).
- 29A: Shinto temple gateway (TORII).
- 4D: Punk rock offshoot (EMO).
Everything Else — 11A: Member of a notable foreign trio (AMO); 15A: Go for the bronze? (TAN); 17A: Enter the pool (BET); 18A: Crescent (LUNE); 22A: Acolyte's area (ALTAR); 27A: Barista's preparation (LATTE); 28A: "I kissed thee __ I killed thee": "Othello" (ERE); 31A: Pelvis-patella connectors (FEMURS); 32A: The farther ones (THOSE); 33A: 1988 Michelle Pfeiffer film (MARRIED TO THE MOB); 37A: Large amount (OCEAN); 38A: Stockpile (GATHER); 39A: Add water to, perhaps (THIN); 40A: Tribe member in many films (EXTRA); 41A: New Jersey casino, with "The" (TAJ); 44A: Pen output (OINKS); 50A: Busiest (PEAK); 52A: Figure to a fault (OVERANALYZE); 58A: One in a zillion? (ZEE); 59A: Venerable (TIME-HONORED); 61A: Some countdowns (HIT PARADES); 1D: Rain forest cat (JAGUAR); 5D: Payoff (SOP); 6D: Med. technique using contrast agents (MRI); 7D: What candles may reveal (AGE); 9D: A hundred sawbucks (ONE G); 10D: Like some vowels (NASAL); 11D: Fundamentally (AT BOTTOM); 12D: Stately and dignified, in music (MAESTOSO); 13D: Generally Googleable (ON THE WEB); 22D: Ordered pizza, perhaps (ATE IN); 23D: Capital of Togo (LOME); 24D: Walks with effort (TRUDGES); 25D: Chartered carrier (AIR TAXI); 26D: Ristorante dish (RISOTTO); 31D: Dogs (FRANKS); 33D: Make easier to use, in a way (MOTORIZE); 34D: One who gets things done (ACHIEVER); 36D: Via, informally (THRU); 41D: "__ here!" (THEY'RE); 42D: Floors (AMAZES); 43D: Caused a breakup? (JOKED); 45D: "In __, you are to blame": "Othello" (SOOTH); 49D: Louis __: son of Marie Antoinette (XVII); 50D: Lumber (PLOD); 53D: First to arrive, often: Abbr. (EMT); 54D: Good standing, for short (REP); 55D: "Got it!" ("AHA!"); 56D: Easter preceder? (NOR'); 57D: Santa __ (ANA).