May 18, 2011
- 17A: 1958 Robert Mitchum drama (THUNDER ROAD).
- 26A: Dorm room snack (COLD PIZZA).
- 40A: '70s-'80s Haitian president, familiarly (BABY DOC DUVALIER).
- 52A: Early spring shout (APRIL FOOL).
- 65A: Bath fixtures, and a hint to the starts of 17-, 26-, 40- and 52-Across (SHOWER HEADS).
Starting right off with that J in the first square, I was hoping that would be a Scrabbly one, and it sure was. Okay theme — not the most exciting, but the theme answers are relatively interesting and the fill is above average. I thought for a minute that the first word of each theme answer might work with both SHOWER and HEAD to create new phrases. THUNDERHEAD is something, right? And HEAD COLD is definitely something. But obviously, those aren't consistent and the rest don't work anyway. Alas. Overall, a pleasant solve today. Nothing really to complain about except the random telephone keypad letter string MNO (30D: Letters below DEF). But hey: PORNO!
Entries that tickled my fancy today include JOB HOP (1A: Frequently change positions) and ARRIBA (70A: Speedy Gonzales cry). I actually had two little hiccups, but I don't blame the puzzle for either of them. First of all, I had PRES for PREZ, which gave me SEN instead of ZEN for [21A: Buddhist sect]. D'oh. And I'm not familiar with the terms SPITZ and POG (11D: Norwegian Elkhound, for one / 16A: Faddish '90s disc), so that P was the last letter I entered. I must have seen POG in a puzzle before, though, because it sounds vaguely familiar. Anyway, like I said, I'm not complaining about any of those entries, just pointing out where I had trouble.
- 24A: __ au vin (COQ). More Scrabbly goodness.
- 28A: Musical with the song "Midway Chase" (BARNUM). Can't say I've heard of this musical, but with a few crosses in place it was easy to infer.
- 50A: Prepare for online publication (WEBIFY). I'm torn about this one. Doug and I were chatting last night and he pointed to this one as a sparkler. When I entered it, I kinda thought it was a dud, but now it's growing on me.
- 58A: Offshore eyesore, to some (OIL RIG). Probably not a good idea to get me started on the oil companies these days.
- 72A: Ex-Yankee Pettitte (ANDY).
- 1D: Rocker Joan (JETT). Oh yeah.
- 5D: Meteor tail? (-OID). I tried ITE first.
- 54D: Like May through August, in a way (R-LESS). This has something to do with oysters. Oysters are either good to eat during R-LESS months or they're bad to eat during R-LESS months. I wouldn't eat them during any month, so it doesn't really matter to me.
- 36A: Self-titled 1969 jazz album (ELLA).
- 44A: Film lioness (ELSA).
- 8D: Ambient music pioneer (ENO).
- 13D: Ancient market (AGORA).
- 29D: Sea damaged by Soviet irrigation projects (ARAL).
- 35D: Author LeShan (EDA).
- 63D: Winter Palace resident (TSAR).
Everything Else — 7A: Jury member (PEER); 11A: Patty Hearst's kidnappers: Abbr. (SLA); 14A: Frosted pastry (ECLAIR); 15A: "The Raven" opener (ONCE); 19A: GM had one in Nov. 2010 (IPO); 20A: Low digits (TOES); 22A: Roofing support (RAFTER); 31A: Like many eBay items (USED); 32A: Disco, for one (ERA); 33A: Photographer Adams (ANSEL); 45A: Sports (HAS ON); 46A: Sup (EAT); 47A: Clothes line? (SEAM); 57A: Beat the house (WIN); 59A: Email forwarder's intro (FYI); 61A: Idiot (TWIT); 64A: Certain artery: Abbr. (RTE.); 68A: Profs' aides (TA'S); 69A: __-kiri (HARA); 71A: Intractable beast (ASS); 73A: Empty __ (NESTER); 2D: Cinco y tres (OCHO); 3D: Chesapeake Bay delicacies (BLUE CRABS); 4D: "MMMBop" band (HANSON); 6D: Chief exec (PREZ); 7D: Dirty fare (PORNO); 9D: Hallmark.com offerings (E-CARDS); 10D: Orangutan (RED APE); 12D: "J to tha L-O!" artist (LOPEZ); 18D: __ room (REC); 23D: Brother of Raúl (FIDEL); 25D: Campus hangout (QUAD); 27D: Beauts (LULUS); 28D: Nixon confidant Rebozo (BEBE); 34D: Jerk (SCHMO); 37D: Prepare to ambush (LIE IN WAIT); 38D: Page (through) (LEAF); 39D: Pretentiously showy (ARTY); 41D: Arafat of the PLO (YASIR); 42D: Pledge (VOW); 43D: From the top (ANEW); 48D: Cuthbert of "24" (ELISHA); 49D: Knitting project (AFGHAN); 51D: Black flies, notably (BITERS); 52D: Major artery (AORTA); 53D: Deli pockets (PITAS); 55D: Right __ (OF WAY); 56D: Caustic solution (LYE); 60D: Ahmadinejad's land (IRAN); 62D: "__ safe and warm if ...": "California Dreamin'" lyric (I'D BE); 66D: Old California fort (ORD); 67D: Charlemagne's realm: Abbr. (HRE).