- 17A: "So I hear your job as exercise class instructor is __" (WORKING OUT).
- 29A: "So I hear your job as a burlesque dancer is __" (TAKING OFF).
- 46A: "So I hear your trash removal business is __" (PICKING UP).
- 62A: "So I hear your scuba diving business is __" (GOING UNDER).
Oh, and before we get started on the puzzle, I want to remind you all about Patrick Blindauer's Puzzlefest contest. Patrick has put together a suite of 10 puzzles that in some way point you to one final contest answer. The deadline for the contest isn't until February 1, so there's still plenty of time to participate. Even if you're not interested in the contest, $9.99 is an unbelievable price for 10 original puzzles by one of the most innovative puzzle constructors working today. Please check out Patrick's website and consider being a part of this fun puzzle event. (Oh, and Patrick's free monthly puzzle for December is now available on his website too!) (I couldn't find a good picture to include for this paragraph, so I randomly chose a picture of Chuck Norris.
Okay, today's puzzle. For some reason this theme really tickled me. The humor felt Reagle-esque to me, and that's (almost always) a good thing. Some of the longer down entries seem pretty flashy: CYBORGS, SKEPTIC, and OAK TREE (not necessarily flashy on its own, but cleverly clued as 4D: Yellow ribbon site of song).
(I've always thought it was kinda funny how this song has come to represent the military coming home from war. I mean, the song is about a guy coming home from prison, right?)
Other than that, I can never remember how to spell Téa LEONI's last name and I'm so not a fan of hers that it's hard for me to care. Although, to be fair, I did enjoy her in "Spanglish," which is in today's clue. I think when she's in a serious role I can't take her seriously, but her "Spanglish" role was so over-the-top that she made it work. The very last letter I put in the grid with the S at the cross of FRANS and NERDS. I had actually entered a Z, thinking the guy's name was probably FRANZ. When I got to the across entry I thought the movie title might actually have been spelled with a Z too. So that was tricky. In the end I chose the S and was correct. Whew!
- 22A: Davenport shopper, probably (IOWAN). Having lived about an hour away from Davenport, Iowa, recently, I was not fooled by this misdirection! Davenport is one of the Quad Cities. The others are Bettendorff (also in Iowa) and Moline and Rock Island (in Illinois).
- 26A: Pops (out) (FLIES). I was thinking more along the lines of pop-goes-the-weasel.
- 37A: Big, outmoded piece of equipment (DINOSAUR). Great clue.
- 41A: Airport safety org. (TSA). With all the recent fuss about the TSA's new groping standards, there are several "fake TSA" accounts on Twitter that are pretty funny. The one I'm following is TSAgov, whose recent tweets include: "Some people have wondered what the TSA considers itself to be politically. We're 'quasifreedomtarians,'" and "In response to the Christmas Tree bomber, we're now banning Christmas sweaters and festive attitudes."
- 13D: "Coming Home" actor (DERN). I always get Bruce DERN and Jon Voight confused and I've never bothered to find out why until just now. They're both in "Coming Home"! Every time I see this clue I can't remember if the answer should be DERN or Voigt. Yay for justified confusion! I'm also never sure which one of the two is Angelina Jolie's father (it's Voight) and which one supposedly owned the car George bought in an episode of "Seinfeld" (also Voight).
- 62D: Cry while showing one's cards (GIN). Three letters? Card game? Easy, that's Uno. Crap.
- Actress RENE Russo appeared is sometimes clued with reference to her movies "Tin Cup," "Get Shorty," "Outbreak," "Ransom," and "The Thomas Crown Affair." The latter film, coincidentally, is a great caper movie featuring a painting by …
- RENÉ Magritte is a Belgian surrealist painter who, like today, is typically clued straightforwardly as 23A: Artist Magritte.
- RENÉ Descartes, known as "The Father of Modern Philosophy," is best known for his statement "I think, therefore I am."
- RENÉ Lalique is a glassmaker and jeweler.
- Finally, RENÉ Auberjonois is an actor who appeared in "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine."
Other crosswordese in the puzzle that we've already covered:
- 15A: Fabled craft (ARGO).
- 5D: Island welcome (LEI).
- 11D: MGM co-founder (LOEW).
- 18D: "Delta of Venus" author (NIN).
- 52D: Algerian port (ORAN).
Everything Else — 1A: Thread bearer (SPOOL); 6A: Classic name in shoes (MCAN); 10A: Dressed (CLAD); 14A: Aquarium concern (ALGAE); 16A: Old (YORE); 19A: Word with belly or blast (BEER); 20A: "Forget it, comrade!" (NYET); 21A: Ancient Andean (INCA); 25A: Branch honcho: Abbr. (MGR.); 35A: Choice (SELECT); 38A: Paris pronoun (TOI); 39A: Accountant, at times (AUDITOR); 42A: Carousing (ON A SPREE); 44A: Shiny fabric (SATEEN); 48A: Revenge seekers in a 1984 film (NERDS); 49A: Dollar sign shape (ESS); 50A: Baltic resident (LETT); 52A: Early afternoon hr. (ONE P.M.); 55A: Disease attacker (DRUG); 57A: Helps out (AIDS); 61A: Demagogue's delivery (RANT); 64A: Wine region south of the Matterhorn (ASTI); 65A: "Got it, Daddy-o!" ("I DIG!"); 66A: Party person (GUEST); 67A: DEA agent (NARC); 68A: Frosty's button (NOSE); 69A: Honshu city (OSAKA); 1D: Felled, in a way (SAWN); 2D: Queen sacrifice in chess, e.g. (PLOY); 3D: Shrek or Fiona (OGRE); 6D: Lodestone (MAGNET); 7D: Hook nemesis, for short (CROC); 8D: Monterrey water (AGUA); 9D: "__ a chance!" (NOT); 10D: Bionic beings (CYBORGS); 12D: Field of expertise (AREA); 22D: "Everybody is __, only on different subjects": Will Rogers (IGNORANT); 24D: Watching "Avatar," say (ESCAPISM); 25D: Cretan king of myth (MINOS); 26D: SLR setting (F STOP); 28D: Of a pelvic bone (ILIAC); 30D: Gascony good-bye (ADIEU); 31D: Caboodle partner (KIT); 32D: Lash LaRue film, e.g. (OATER); 33D: Joined by melting (FUSED); 34D: Artist __ Hals (FRANS); 36D: Parts of directions (TURNS); 40D: MBA, for one (DEG.); 43D: One looking askance (SKEPTIC); 45D: Lockjaw (TETANUS); 47D: Drop dramatically (PLUNGE); 51D: Breakfast fare (EGG); 53D: Apollo 13 gp. (NASA); 54D: __'acte (ENTR); 55D: Bygone bird (DODO); 56D: Teddy Roosevelt biographer (RIIS); 58D: "I have an __!" (IDEA); 59D: Student's spot (DESK); 60D: Arg. miss (SRTA.); 63D: Actor Tognazzi (UGO).