Now this is what I'm talking about. This puzzle right here. Sparkly entries, tricky cluing, a couple things I really had to work hard for — in other words, a perfect Saturday. Here's something I noticed about this puzzle — and this is an easy way to distinguish an early-week puzzle from a late-week puzzle: one-word clues that could mean many different things. This puzzle is full of 'em!
- 24A: Hide (SKIN). Hide like in hide-and-seek? No.
- 54A: Fire (SACK). Fire like a flame? No.
- 63A: Draws (STALEMATES). Draws like with a pencil? How about like a chimney? Or maybe it's referring to your opponents in a tournament bracket? No.
- 1D: Nurses (SIPS ON). Nurses like in a hospital? Like feeding a baby? No.
There were a few things in this puzzle that I just flat-out didn't know:
- 19A: Christian denom. that observes the Sabbath on Saturday (SDA). Raise your hand if you tried LDS first. Yes, of course I've heard of Seventh-Day Adventists. But I've never seen them abbreviated.
- 30A: Painting on utensils or furniture (TOLE). I'm finding a bunch of references to this word defining it as the utensils or furniture themselves (the ones that have been painted in a certain way). But it seems that the act of this type of painting can also be described as "tole painting."
- 32D: Gogo's pal, in "Waiting for Godot" (DIDI). This is one of those things that Joon probably knows off the top of his head and can't believe that any educated person would admit to not having heard of. I take solace in the fact, however, that Joon is equally as likely to blanch at a reference to, say, Huey Lewis & the News. ("that seems pretty obscure" he might type in that lower-case way of his.)
- 38D: "Emperor __" (CONCERTO). This is Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 5 in E-flat major, Op. 73. Oh that "Emperor Concerto"!
- 43A: Angelo's instrument (ARPA). I assumed this answer would be a foreign word for "harp" but I wasn't entirely sure which language (Italian? Yes, Italian.) and in any case I didn't know the word.
- 53A: Robbie's dad (EVEL). I thought of Robbie on "My Three Sons," I wondered if Rob Petrie had a son and if Robbie Benson had a dad whose name I should know. When the V fell into place I realized we were talking about those wacky Knievels.
- 5D: Tycho Brahe's sci. (ASTR.). I'm sure I've only seen this guy's name in crossword puzzles. ("yeah, he only made the most accurate astronomical observations of his time, and mentored johannes kepler, but why should you know him?")
- 30D: Trypanosome transmitter (TSE-TSE). Trypano-whoozits?
- 41D: Theresa Dunn's ideal Mr., in a 1975 novel title (GOODBAR). This is one of those books I feel like I should read but I just never have. Or maybe I should just see the movie.
- 52D: Douze mois (ANNÉE). I know that "douze" is French for "twelve," but I did not know that "mois" is French for "months" until the crosses helped me out.
- 1A: Ripped muscles? (SIX-PACK ABS). I originally thought "ripped" in the clue was a verb and the answer would be something like "worked out" or "pumped iron."
- 17A: Like some suits (PIN-STRIPED). Ya know what else are PIN-STRIPED? Some baseball uniforms. ("seriously? you're going to deface this post with a picture of the yankees??" Why yes, Joon. Yes I am.)
- 20A: Fix, as a wicker chair (RECANE). Okay, this one I didn't really love seeing. But it's the only entry that jumped out at me as a blatant clunker.
- 39A: Feverishly (LIKE MAD).
- 60A: Contemporary folklore (URBAN MYTHS).
- 7D: Two-time 1970s NBA champs (KNICKS). Gotta love a coupla Ks.
- 12D: "Not in public, you two!" ("GET A ROOM!"). Ha!
- 13D: "Get Shorty" co-star (TRAVOLTA). I would pay to watch John Travolta read the phone book.
- 35D: Bittersweet farewell (SWAN SONG).
- 36D: Drum site (EAR CANAL). I tried "inner ear" first. At least I was in the right neighborhood!
- 58A: A storm may affect it, briefly (ETA).
- 23D: The Boston Symphony played its second movement to commemorate FDR's death (EROICA).
Everything Else — 11A: "House Hunters" network (HGTV); 15A: While away (IN ABSENTIA); 16A: Flying start? (AERO-); 18A: Right-leaning: Abbr. (ITAL.); 21A: WCs (LAVS); 22A: Renaissance Faire word (OLDE); 25A: Biodegrade (ROT); 26A: Prefix with biology (NEURO-); 28A: Cut (SNIP); 31A: Former Monterey Bay fort (ORD); 33A: Ringling Museum of the American Circus city (SARASOTA); 35A: Language subfamily that includes Maltese (SEMITIC); 40A: Defense against intruders (WATCHDOG); 42A: "Vamoose!" ("GIT!"); 44A: Playing a fifth qtr., say (IN OT); 46A: "This I Promise You" band ('N SYNC); 50A: Any U.S. Army E-4 thru E-9 (NCO); 51A: "Iron Chef America" chef Cat __ (CORA); 56A: City SSW of Cleveland (MEDINA); 58A: A storm may affect it, briefly (ETA); 59A: "__, you noblest English!": "Henry V" (ON, ON); 62A: Shuffle alternative (NANO); 64A: Phosphoresce (GLOW); 65A: One may be set on a stage (HORSE OPERA); 2D: When an engine might stall (IN IDLE); 3D: City visited by Marco Polo (XANADU); 4D: "Viewers Like You" help support it: Abbr. (PBS); 6D: Roman goddess of agriculture (CERES); 8D: Going to great lengths (AT PAINS); 9D: Like national elections (BIENNIAL); 10D: "Justine" author (SADE); 11D: Salute (HAIL); 14D: __ Act: 1919 Prohibition legislation (VOLSTEAD); 23D: The Boston Symphony played its second movement to commemorate FDR's death (EROICA); 27D: Surg. specialty (ORTH.); 29D: Moralizer (PRIG); 34D: Comparable (AKIN); 37D: Resort town W. of the Delaware Water Gap (MT. POCONO); 45D: Experiments (TRIALS); 47D: Actress Mimieux (YVETTE); 48D: Like hell? (NETHER); 49D: Midwest League's baseball level (CLASS A); 55D: Not just suppose (KNOW); 56D: Cloying sentimentality (MUSH); 57D: A few rounds, perhaps (AMMO); 61D: Kisser (YAP).