September 9, 2011
- 17A: Village with very little gardening equipment? (ONE-HOrsE TOWN).
- 27A: Entrance purchases for a conditioning program? (FIrsT-CLASS TICKETS).
- 44A: What Ruth forgot to bring to pool night? (CUrsE OF THE BAMBINO).
- 57A: Like calls between drudges? (PErsON-TO-PErsON).
- 66A: Failures (and in another way, a hint to 17-, 27-, 44- and 57-Across) (LOSERS).
I really enjoyed this theme. I like that it wasn't super simple to figure out each theme answer, but that it was possible with some brain work. If ONE-HOE TOWN wasn't the seed entry for this puzzle, I'll eat my hat. (Remember how we had BREAST and then BOOB in successive puzzles this week and I asked what was next? Well, this is what was next!)
I had two write-overs today. I tried ALUM where AUNT was supposed to go (11D: Reunion attendee) and SLS for SLA (25D: Radical '70s group). SLS is … something, right? Other than that, my problems were mostly brain lapses. For example, with the SQUA in place for [10D: Gripe], the only word I could think of was SQUALL and I knew that wasn't right. Couldn't get SQUAWK to appear for what seemed like forever. Also had trouble with MARCO (36A: Pool game call). That's an awesome clue. I didn't understand that we were talking about a swimming pool (and not billiards) until every single letter had been filled in through crosses. D'oh!
Sparkliest entry in today's puzzle? CUTIE PIE (39D: Honey). It's been used in the L.A. Times puzzle a few times, but the most recent appearance was more than three years ago, so I declare it fresh and sparkly.
- 24A: Jacket label letters (ISBN). Book jacket, that is.
- 42A: "__ it Art?": Kipling (BUT IS). Hey, even the ugly partial gets a fun clue today!
- 47A: Morgan Freeman won its 2011 Life Achievement Award: Abbr. (AFI). I'm gonna guess this stands for American Film Institute, but I don't feel like looking it up.
- 6D: Pistons' place (THE NBA). I used to pay a lot of attention to pro basketball back in the 80s, so the Pistons are definitely not on my list of favorite teams. Isiah Thomas, Bill Laimbeer, Coach Chuck Daly … ? Not much to like there.
- 31D: Nice compliment (TRES BIEN). Okay, I admit it. This clue tricked me. "Nice" in this case refers to the city of Nice. Which is in France. Where they speak French. (French!) Putting Nice at the beginning of the clue where it's automatically capitalized is a common trick and I was pretty sure I was at the point where I could spot it a mile away. But no.
- 33D: Happy Meals toy, e.g. (TIE-IN). Because CRAP wouldn't fit.
- 42D: Ones who've got your back, in Internet shorthand (BFF'S). Just yesterday, PuzzleDaughter said to me (try to imagine this in a 10-year-old girl bossy voice), "I don't get BFF's. I mean, BFF means Best Friends Forever. But BFF's? That's like saying Best Friends Forevers. That doesn't make sense." That's my girl.
- 50D: Food in a memorable "Seinfeld" episode (SOUP). The thing that cracks me up about the Soup Nazi is that the character was based on a real person and I had heard about the real guy before the character ever appeared on the show. PuzzleDad used to go to the soup place for lunch and he mentioned more than once how weird it was. He's like "Some days you get bread. Some days, you don't. Once in a while, I'll get back to my office and there's a banana in the bag. You just don't ever really know what you're going to get with this guy."
- 58D: Lascivious leader? (ELL). The word "lascivious" begins with the letter L, which would be spelled out as ELL (if anyone ever really spelled out letters).
Everything — 1A: Gung-ho response (I'M ON IT); 7A: Delay (LAG); 10A: Evans of country (SARA); 14A: Buff (POLISH); 15A: Farm female (EWE); 16A: Left (QUIT); 17A: Village with very little gardening equipment? (ONE-HOE TOWN); 19A: The NCAA's Runnin' Rebels (UNLV); 20A: Lab, for one (DOG); 21A: Reject (NIX); 22A: Sends (ELATES); 24A: Jacket label letters (ISBN); 26A: Get off the shoulder, say (TOW); 27A: Entrance purchases for a conditioning program? (FIT-CLASS TICKETS); 35A: Actor Milo (O'SHEA); 36A: Pool game call (MARCO); 37A: Tiny beef (NIT); 38A: Fly on a line (LURE); 39A: Gives credit where credit is due (CITES); 40A: On the safer side (ALEE); 41A: Rational ending? (-IZE); 42A: "__ it Art?": Kipling (BUT IS); 43A: 1955 UN joiner (SPAIN); 44A: What Ruth forgot to bring to pool night? (CUE OF THE BAMBINO); 47A: Morgan Freeman won its 2011 Life Achievement Award: Abbr. (AFI); 48A: Morning talker (IMUS); 49A: Fly over the equator? (TSE-TSE); 52A: Pleased cry (YES); 53A: Droid, e.g. (PDA); 56A: Slip through the cracks? (OOZE); 57A: Like calls between drudges? (PEON-TO-PEON); 61A: Run well (PURR); 62A: Unsound (ILL); 63A: Like Napoleon (EXILED); 64A: Relaxing locales (SPAS); 65A: The Hartford logo (ELK); 66A: Failures (and in another way, a hint to 17-, 27-, 44- and 57-Across) (LOSERS); 1D: Tune carrier (IPOD); 2D: One-track (MONO); 3D: Couturier Cassini (OLEG); 4D: Med. research agency (NIH); 5D: Bar opening? (ISO-); 6D: Pistons' place (THE NBA); 7D: Last non-priest to be named pope (LEO X); 8D: "Isn't that cute?" ("AWW"); 9D: It involves mapping (GENETICS); 10D: Gripe (SQUAWK); 11D: Reunion attendee (AUNT); 12D: Stir up (RILE); 13D: Off-rd. rides (ATV'S); 18D: Worker with light metal (TINSMITH); 23D: Bonkers (LOCO); 24D: Slush Puppie maker (ICEE); 25D: Radical '70s group (SLA); 27D: __ acid: vitamin B9 (FOLIC); 28D: Amigo on the road (ISUZU); 29D: Crowd starter? (THREE); 30D: "Socrate" composer (SATIE); 31D: Nice compliment (TRES BIEN); 32D: Zhou __ (EN-LAI); 33D: Happy Meals toy, e.g. (TIE-IN); 34D: Writer of short letters (STENO); 39D: Honey (CUTIE PIE); 40D: NYPD notices (APB'S); 42D: Ones who've got your back, in Internet shorthand (BFF'S); 43D: Future George W. Bush Presidential Library site (SMU); 45D: "Hondo" et al. (OATERS); 46D: Dutch brewery (AMSTEL); 49D: A-one (TOPS); 50D: Food in a memorable "Seinfeld" episode (SOUP); 51D: Pound of verse (EZRA); 52D: White partner (YOLK); 53D: "__ Eterno": 2004 sports documentary (PELE); 54D: Active sort (DOER); 55D: Addenda (ANDS); 58D: Lascivious leader? (ELL); 59D: Big name in kitchenware (OXO); 60D: Tecs (PIS).