Wow. This one really felt like a CROSSword to me today. That is, there were very few gimmes and most of the answers magically appeared only after a few crosses brought them into focus. I enjoy that type of solve. And I tell you what, I needed an enjoyable solve after the day I had yesterday. It was crappy, crappy, crappy. And I mean CRAPPY. The details are way too boring to go into here, but I was in a Foul Mood the whole day. On the bright side, that makes it even better that I'm going to spend some time with my bestie in Philadelphia this weekend. Yay! But before I hit the road, let's break this puzzle down.
There's a lot to talk about:
- 1A: Cable initials (TMC). I'm sure I've talked about this before. I can never get this. There are just too many cable channels and they don't distinguish themselves enough for me to keep them straight in my brain.
- 15A: Joey in Milne stories (ROO). My first gimme. A joey is, of course, a baby kangaroo. In A.A. Milne's Winnie-the-Pooh stories, Kanga is the mama kangaroo and Roo is the baby.
- 17A: The Cyclones of the Big 12 Conf. (ISU). Poor Iowa State. When Nebraska leaves the Big 12 next year, the conference will only have four wrestling schools. It's gonna be hard to give the Big 12 Wrestling Champions a lot of respect. Not that I give Iowa State much respect anyway. Go Hawks!
- 19A: Mystery author whose work has been translated into more than 100 languages (CHRISTIE). This was a total guess on my part and I was delighted that it seemed to fit.
- 23A: 1940s-'70s bandleader Edmundo (ROS). On the other hand, I needed every cross for this guy.
- 31A: LAX posting (ETD). I tried ARR first. I think it was EDOMITE (13D: Early inhabitant along the Dead Sea) that straightened that out.
- 32A: Scattered (STREWED). I think this is the only clunker in the grid. Sure it's legitimate, but it's still ugly.
- 36A: Carefree state (EASE). Me: "There's a U.S. state nicknamed 'The Carefree State'?"
- 37A: Chain with links (IHOP). Sausage links, that is.
- 38A: Multiple-ride ticket (BUS PASS). I tried DAY PASS first but the DAY part wasn't doing anything right for me down there.
- 41A: Terry of Monty Python (GILLIAM). I'm embarrassed to say I don't know my Monty Python guys. I mean, when I hear their names I recognize them as Monty Python guys, but I couldn't come up with them on my own. Except for Eric Idle. And one of them is named Palin, right?
- 51A: Called with chips (SAW). Another tricky poker reference to go with our tricky poker reference from yesterday.
- 58A: Sought some shelter? (OPENED AN IRA). Wow. This one was a long time coming. It took me a long time to figure out what the question mark was doing on this clue. (And IRA is a type of tax shelter.)
- 3D: Express service employee (COURIER). I would have preferred a font clue here, but I'm kind of a fanatic when it comes to fonts so that's not surprising.
- 4D: "Imagine, Zeke ..." (S'POSE). Oops, I guess there is one more clunker in the grid. I have no idea if this is right, but the way I read this is that Zeke is a "hillbilly" name and S'POSE is "hillbilly" dialect for SUPPOSE? There's not much about this that doesn't rub me the wrong way.
- 7D: What a hider shouldn't say to a seeker (IN HERE). I tried "I'm here" first but, obviously IN HERE is much better. Plus, ya know, it's correct too.
- 14D: Carb-up days, to low-carb dieters (REFEEDS). This sounds vaagguuely familiar to me.
- 29D: Greek regional capital (EDESSA). Ouch. I had the DESSA in there and immediately plunked an O on the front of it. Then I'm all, "Wait. Odessa is in Greece? That sure doesn't sound right."
- 38D: Detroit Red Wings coach Mike (BABCOCK). Not a hockey fan, so this clue might as well have been "A person's last name." Got it through crosses.
- 43D: One of the Fates (ATROPOS). Looks like ATROPOS has only appeared in the L.A. Times puzzle once before and that was seven years ago. Okay, this is weird though. It was exactly seven years ago! August 28, 2003!
- 44D: See Tears for Fears? (MISREAD). I can't decide if I love this or hate it. I think I'm leaning toward loving it.
- 57D: Save for later, in a way (TIVO). I rarely watch TV any more since we got rid of the TiVo. It's just too hard.
- 26A: Tahari of fashion (ELIE).
- 63A: Mauna __ (LOA).
- 10D: Uzbekistan border sea (ARAL).
- 11D: Rocky debris (SCREE).
- 55D: Old Royale 8's, e.g. (REO'S).
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Everything Else — 4A: Workout apparatus (STAIRMASTER); 16A: Old fortune-telling site (PENNY ARCADE); 18A: Carried out by (ON THE PART OF); 21A: "I can do that" ("LET ME"); 22A: Made one's view known (OPINED); 27A: Heading to overtime (TIED); 28A: Exude (REEK OF); 34A: Union members? (SPOUSES); 45A: Adder's kin (ASP); 46A: Aircraft company since 1927 (CESSNA); 48A: When Eliza sings "Wouldn't It Be Loverly?" (ACT I); 49A: Tough test (BEAR); 52A: Liquor store buys (LITERS); 54A: Doctor, ideally (CURER); 56A: Expiate (ATONE FOR); 61A: Dramatic way to go? (APE); 62A: Balance in the end (COME OUT EVEN); 64A: Had an in (KNEW SOMEONE); 65A: You'll trip if you drop it (LSD); 1D: Warp-knit fabrics (TRICOTS); 2D: Slam-dancing area (MOSH PIT); 5D: Garments lacking waistlines (TENT DRESSES); 6D: Nonpro? (ANTI); 8D: Bar order (RYE); 9D: It may include highs and lows (MAP); 12D: Snitches (TATTLES); (EDOMITE); 20D: Committed and then some (IN DEEP); 24D: Circular signal (OK SIGN); 25D: "El Cid" co-star (SOPHIA LOREN); 30D: Trick (FOOL); 33D: WWII enlistee (WAAC); 35D: Burning the midnight oil (UP LATE); 39D: Consume with regard to (USE UPON); 40D: "Puh-leeze!" ("SPARE ME!"); 42D: Irregular glacial mass (ICEFALL); 47D: Gershwin's first hit (SWANEE); 50D: Agree to more issues (RENEW); 53D: Harebrained (INANE); 59D: Comedy team, usually (DUO); 60D: Pharmacy convenience, often (ATM).