Theme: Paper or Plastic — Theme answers are familiar phrases with the letters of the word PLASTIC hidden in them consecutively.
- 17A: State of the Union, say (POLITICAL SPEECH).
- 25A: Military tradition (HOSPITAL CORNERS).
- 46A: Looney Tunes genre (SLAPSTICK COMEDY).
- 60A: Useful waste, what's literally hidden in 17-, 25- and 46-Across (RECYCLED PLASTIC).
As I mentioned, the southeast corner also gave me some trouble. I had the RECYCLED part, but took a while to get PLASTIC. I had the poor Scots vacationing on the brae instead of the LOCH (64A: Scot's vacation site). Do Scots really vacation on LOCHs? Wade? You out there? I also had trouble with LIAISE which is just a horrible, horrible word (56A: Make a connection (with)). I don't have any problem with it showing up in the puzzle because it's a word that people actually use but honestly … they just shouldn't. Because did I mention it's horrible?
I had the opportunity to meet Pete Muller at the Crosswords L.A. tournament a couple months ago. He constructed one of the tournament puzzles and it was really fun. Also, his wife was super pregnant, so I'm guessing they have a bigger family at this point. So congratulations to the Mullers and thanks, Pete, for a tough puzzle today!
- 10A: '60s-'70s pitcher nicknamed Blue Moon (ODOM). Learned about him from crosswords.
- 34A: Odin's group (AESIR). This too.
- 36A: Word with mala or bona (FIDE). Not sure I've ever heard of mala FIDE before, but it means pretty much what you would think it means.
- 51A: Japanese golfer in the World Golf Hall of Fame (ISAO AOKI). He's crosswordese, but it's fun to see his whole name in the grid for a change.
- 67A: Sean's mom (YOKO). Me: "Should I know Sean Penn's mom?"
- 2D: Info (POOP). Heh heh. You said POOP.
- 4D: Alpine wear (SKI CAP). Tried ski hat at first.
- 7D: Jobs creation? (IMAC). I like this clue. "Jobs creation" is a phrase we're hearing a lot these days so the misdirection works well. (In this clue, Jobs refers to Steve Jobs.)
- 9D: Easy-Bake Oven maker (HASBRO). I remember my Easy-Bake Oven. I'm pretty sure I got it for my birthday the same year I got a Mrs. Beasley doll.
- 13D: Mineralogist Friedrich (MOHS). I was a little distressed that I needed to know a mineralogist, but I've actually heard of this guy. Or, at least I've heard of his scale.
- 19D: Standard partner (POORS). Something to do with the financial industry. Do they rate bonds? Something like that.
- 30D: Bivouac (ETAPE). As far as I'm concerned there's no excuse for this word to show up without it being clued in relation to the Tour de France. And I mean that in general, not just today. But especially today!
- 37D: Strike target (EMPLOYER). Again, with all the war talk we hear these days the misdirection on this clue totally worked on me.
- 48D: Like five per cent, to a server (MEASLY). I can't say as I've ever left a 5% tip, but I would if the service was measly.
Other crosswordese in the puzzle that we've already covered:
- 5A: Silly (APISH).
- 33A: Sch. with a Narragansett Bay campus (URI).
- 51A: Japanese golfer in the World Golf Hall of Fame (ISAO AOKI).
- 26D: Cantilevered window (ORIEL).
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Everything Else — 1A: NASDAQ debuts (IPO'S); 14A: Attic-dweller of '70s-'80s TV (MORK); 15A: Home of a mythical lion (NEMEA); 16A: Admonition to Nanette? (NO NO); 20A: Miniature surveillance gadget (SPY CAM); 21A: Rear ends of a sort (CABOOSES); 22A: What there oughta be (A LAW); 24A: Skirmish (ROW); 35A: Tuned to (SET AT); 38A: Works in a Catalonian museum (DALIS); 40A: Classico competitor (RAGU); 41A: Element 100 eponym (FERMI); 43A: Betty Crocker salad topping (BACOS); 45A: Crosswalk sign word (PED); 49A: Eastern tongue (LAO); 50A: It might be a close call (SAFE); 62A: Leafy veggie (KALE); 63A: Merge (UNITE); 65A: Insult (SLUR); 66A: Try to persuade, with "with" (PLEAD); 1D: Troublemakers (IMPS); 3D: French touchdown site (ORLY); 5D: Like many short films (ANIMATED); 6D: Workout target (PEC); 8D: "The Fugitive" actress Ward (SELA); 10D: Used car selling point (ONE OWNER); 11D: Performs (DOES); 12D: Singly (ONCE); 23D: Horseradish relative (WASABI); 28D: Not a deep purple (LILAC); 29D: Pains in the neck (CRICKS); 31D: Wreaked havoc, as a battle (RAGED); 32D: Prepare, in a way (STUDY); 39D: Of questionable repute (SO-CALLED); 42D: First name in sci-fi (ISAAC); 44D: Balkan capital (SOFIA); 47D: Install needed equipment (TOOL UP); 51D: Nettles (IRKS); 52D: Sea World clapper (SEAL); 53D: First Amendment advocacy gp. (ACLU); 54D: __ Ration (KEN-L); 55D: Romeo's last words (I DIE); 57D: "Am __ late?" (I TOO); 58D: Twisted (SICK); 59D: Comeback (ECHO); 61D: Harper Valley org. (PTA).