Okay, now that Angela has left for work, we can play. Amy here with a copy of my Diary of a Crossword Fiend post.
THEME: "Gooey Sammich"—Five theme entries begin with the words PEANUT BUTTER AND JELLY SANDWICH
The theme is a gooey PB&J sammich:
- 17a. [Sources of rowdy criticism] are PEANUT GALLERIES. Does that really take a plural? Singular feels much more familiar.
- 25a. BUTTERBALL is a [Turkey brand].
- 38a. The ampersand, or [&], may be informally called the AND SIGN.
- 49a. [Colorful plastic footwear] is JELLYSHOES. Don’t eat ‘em, folks.
- 59a. [Hawaii once comprised most of them] clues the SANDWICH ISLANDS.
I love some of the longer fill—STAND PAT, BEN STEIN the game show EMCEE, CHAMELEON, and PERCHANCE are terrific entries. Some of the short answers gave me more trouble, which I wasn’t expecting on a Monday (but then, it was before 7 a.m. when I was doing the puzzle, pre-breakfast and pre-caffeine):
- 1a. COCKY means [Self-confident to a fault]. Clear enough, but I drew a blank on it and skipped the upper right corner until later.
- 16a. [ROTC school WSW of Washington, D.C.] is VMI, or Virginia Military Institute. Voo Much Information!
- 32a. [Recline, biblically] clues LIETH. These biblical verb answers are a category of fill that I don’t care for.
- 2d. [Aptly named California coastal city] is indeed aptly named: OCEANSIDE. Too bad Oceanside is pretty much unknown to me.
- 6d. [Severity, in Soho] clues RIGOUR with the British “U” spelling (there’s a Soho in London as well as in New York City).
- 8d. This one was a gimme, but it troubled me. KIL. as [About .62 mi.] is awkward because km is the more widely accepted abbreviation for kilometer.
- 19d. [Opener's next call, in bridge] is REBID. My kid was asking about bridge the other day. My husband told him it was a game for very old people. I said “Hey! Brendan Quigley plays bridge.” My husband said he was an exception. So you see that we are not a bridge-embracing household. Nautical, poker, bridge, and biblical verbs—among my least favorite categories of fill.
- 48d. [Omega preceders], P*IS…is it PHIS or PSIS? I usually have to check the crossing to figure it out. It’s PSIS.
- 60d. [All-Pro Patriots receiver Welker] is named WES…but I’ve never heard of him, I don’t think. Current player, or player of yore?
- 62d. The CCU [Hosp. heart ward] doesn’t get much play in crosswords. It may stand for coronary care unit or cardiac care unit. Other *CUs besides the ICU include the SICU (surgical), MICU (medical), NICU (neonatal or neurological), and PICU (pediatric), none of which you are likely to encounter in crosswords.
- Head to YouTube and watch a video that today's puzzle evokes.
- Do a Google image search on a word like JELLY or BUTTERBALL and find a goofy picture. No, better yet, find a hilarious picture to accompany the word REBID.
- Nominate your own Crosswordese 101 entry from today's puzzle and see if it's already been covered here. If it hasn't, make up lies about the word.