- 20A: 1978 movie set in a Turkish prison (MIDNIGHT EXPRESS).
- 35A: Volatile situation (POWDER KEG).
- 46A: White legumes (NAVY BEANS).
- 57A: Big name in Danish porcelain (ROYAL COPENHAGEN).
- 70A: Shades of it begin this puzzle's four longest answers (BLUE).
I have a hard time believing this theme hasn't been done before, but I don't feel like looking it up so I won't. But even if a theme has been done before, it never hurts to see what Donna can do with it. Today, she made it into a smooth, solid Tuesday puzzle. Just as I suspected she would.
I had the worst time getting started though! I threw WASP in off the bat (1A: Stinging flier) and then started to go backwards through the downs. I blanked on 4D: Carpentry smoother (PLANE), so moved right on to SLED (3D: Winter ride), but when I hit 2D: Car company whose name is Latin for "Hark!" I immediately thought AVIS instead of AUDI. I could see something was wrong, so I looked at the clue for 14A: Seed cover and knew it had to be the crosswordese ARIL. Which didn't work at all. Because it was, ya know, wrong. At that point I glanced down at the first theme answer (MIDNIGHT EXPRESS), which was a total gimme, so I didn't have too much trouble deciding to abandon that corner and come back to it later. The rest of the puzzle was pretty smooth and when I got back up to the northwest, it all became clear.
- 16A: Monetary unit of Cyprus (EURO). I still have to think a minute sometimes to remember the EURO. I still want those European countries to have their own currency for some reason.
- 18A: Repeated question in Matthew (IS IT I). Ooh, this could have been CW101 today. We'll definitely cover it at some point.
- 23A: Part of ESL: Abbr. (ENG.). ENGlish as a Second Language.
- 25A: Evian, e.g. (SPA). Anyone else try "eau" first?
- 39A: Because (SINCE). One of my pet peeves is the use of "since" to mean "because." Hey, we all have 'em, right? Well, that one's mine.
- 52A: "Gilligan's Island" shelters (HUTS). I totally cracked up the other night when a friend of mine posted something about "Gilligan's Island" on his Facebook status and the very next thing on my wall was a message from my aunt, whose profile picture looks like this:
- 67A: Cass's title (MAMA).
- 42D: Pinstriped ALer (N.Y. YANKEE).
- 47D: "Little Women" woman (BETH). Also a cheesy KISS song.
- 49D: Folded (one's hand), in poker slang (MUCKED). I don't play poker enough to have remembered this off the top of my head.
- 61D: Hockey Hall of Famer Phil, to his fans (ESPO). That would be Phil ESPOsito.
- 64D: Hamish's refusals (NAES). Hamish is apparently a common Scottish (first) name, which reminds me of when my friend Sharon was pregnant. They knew they were going to give the baby an Irish name, and Sharon's husband, Patrick, lobbied hard for Seamus for quite a while. It was only later he admitted that the only reason he brought up Seamus was so that anything else would sound good in comparison. Sneaky!
Other crosswordese in the puzzle that we've already covered:
- 24A: One of a "Great" quintet (ERIE).
- 71A: Island garlands (LEIS).
- 21D: "Bus Stop" playwright (INGE).
- 37D: Greek "H" (ETA).
- 58D: Bassoon cousin (OBOE).
- 59D: Legendary Himalayan (YETI).
Everything Else — 5A: Unifying idea (THEME); 10A: Let the cat out of the bag (BLAB); 15A: "Bolero" composer (RAVEL); 17A: Notion (IDEA); 19A: Dollar dispensers, briefly (ATM'S); 28A: Hotpoint appliances, familiarly (GE'S); 30A: Peppery root veggie (RADISH); 40A: Island feast (LUAU); 41A: Peaceful protest (SIT-IN); 43A: Sgts. and cpls. (NCO'S); 44A: Real estate units (ACRES); 48A: Escaping, with "on" (THE LAM); 50A: Observe narrowly (EYE); 51A: Observe (SEE); 55A: E. Coast border (ATL.); 65A: Early sibling rivalry victim (ABEL); 66A: Mall booth (KIOSK); 68A: Scintilla (IOTA); 69A: Run off to get hitched (ELOPE); 73A: Back talk (SASS); 1D: Caprice (WHIM); 5D: Gun activators (TRIGGERS); 6D: Diner hodgepodge dish (HASH); 7D: Online party notice (EVITE); 8D: Curbside payment collector (METER); 9D: Cure-all mixture (ELIXIR); 10D: Yogi or Boo-Boo (BEAR); 11D: Mandolin relative (LUTE); 12D: Second Amendment subject (ARMS); 13D: Chief (BOSS); 22D: They may be split in soup (PEAS); 25D: Water balloon sound (SPLAT); 26D: Marsupial's pocket (POUCH); 27D: Cognizant (AWARE); 29D: Dermatologist's concern (SKIN); 31D: Eat in style (DINE); 32D: Machu Picchu architects (INCAS); 33D: Pastry at a Devonshire tea (SCONE); 34D: "Siddhartha" author Hermann (HESSE); 36D: Hamilton-Burr engagement (DUEL); 38D: Rhett's last verb (GIVE); 45D: Humorist Mort (SAHL); 53D: Patterned fabric (TOILE); 54D: "SNL" staple (SPOOF); 56D: Symbols of gentleness (LAMBS); 57D: Pool table border (RAIL); 60D: Sighed word (ALAS); 62D: Festive party (GALA); 63D: Avian Aussies (EMUS).