- 17A: Mentioned with a yawn? (DULLY NOTED)
- 23A: Tightfistedness scale? (MISERLY INDEX)
- 53A: Like a centaur? (PARTLY ANIMAL)
- 64A: Old enough to know better? (HARDLY BOYS)
Howdy, fellow cruciverbalists. Doug here, pinch-hitting for PuzzleGirl on a Friday. Speaking of hitting, Kelsey Blakley knocked one out of the park! Today's puzzle is excellent. Lots of fun from top to bottom. We've all seen add-a-letter puzzles before. I've constructed quite a few of them myself. Now to make an add-a-letter theme really shine, the constructor has to create phrases that can be clued in clever and surprising ways. I thought the first two theme entries were OK--cute and not terribly memorable. But the last two are just awesome. "Like a centaur?" sounds like the title for a creepier-than-usual Madonna video. And HARDLY BOYS for "Old enough to know better?" is the icing on the cake. Plenty of good stuff in the fill too. Let's look at some highlights:
- 1A: A popular one is modeled after the Winchester rifle (BBGUN). Nice entry and clue to kick off the puzzle. Clumps of consonants like "BBG" are great for making the solver think he or she has written in something wrong.
- 21A: Like jellybeans (OVOID). Boring entry saved by a tasty clue.
- 33A: Lollipop-licking cop (KOJAK). I don't have much of anything to say about the show, as it was a little before my time, but that's one cool-looking grid entry with the J and double K.
- 43A: Contest entry (ESSAY). I got the initial E and confidently put in ENTRY. Genius.
- 51A: Battle preparation place, in metaphor (WARPATH). From "on the warpath" I presume. Clever clue. At first, I thought it might be WARROOM, but I couldn't jibe that with the "metaphor" part of the clue.
- 4D: Black light, briefly (UVLAMP). When I was a kid, I begged my parents for a black light. I thought it would be the coolest thing to buy a couple of those trippy black light posters they sold in comics books. My mom's exact quote: "You're not ordering a bunch of crap from a comic book." Well, I showed her. When I got to college I finally sent away for the x-ray glasses!
- 8D: Tip of Massachusetts (ONEILL). I figured it was one of those capes (Cod, Ann, May?) but of course none of them fit. I've never been great with East Coast geography. I've only lived in the "big states" out West. You could drop Delaware or Rhode Island into Eastern Montana and nobody but the cows would notice.
- 27D: God wounded by Diomedes in the "Iliad" (ARES). I love mythology clues. Wounding the God of War? That's hardcore! Brush up on your ARES with this Crosswordese 101 entry.
- 50D: Home to many Berbers (SAHARA). I misread the clue as "Home to many Biebers" and thought "Oh my god, there's more than one of him!"
[Follow PuzzleGirl on Twitter.]
Everything Else — 6A: Three-time A.L. MVP (AROD); 10A: Narcissist's obsession (SELF); 14A: Oil source (OLIVE); 15A: __ fide (BONA); 16A: Gin flavoring (SLOE); 19A: Inn group member (MAID); 20A: __ trap (SETA); 22A: Memo header (INRE); 26A: Swiffer WetJet, e.g. (DAMPMOP); 29A: Bereft (LORN); 30A: Jupiter, for one (ORB); 31A: Allen contemporary (PAAR); 37A: Ristorante staple (VEAL); 39A: Explore deeply (PROBE); 42A: Derelict, perhaps (WINO); 45A: Factor opening (BENE); 47A: Bucko (MAC); 48A: Goofs (around) (BUMS); 57A: Actress Falco (EDIE); 58A: Oarlock pin (THOLE); 59A: Vanishing points (ENDS); 63A: Outfits (RIGS); 66A: Send out (EMIT); 67A: End of a lover's ultimatum (ORME); 68A: Designated (MEANT); 69A: Aussie sleep sounds? (ZEDS); 70A: European coal region (SAAR); 71A: Fire proof? (ASHES); 1D: Mr. Olympia contestants' obsessions (BODS); 2D: RisquÈ (BLUE); 3D: Thin ornamental layer (GILT); 5D: Marshal under Napoleon (NEY); 6D: Good, except on the links (ABOVEPAR); 7D: Eggbeater feature (ROTOR); 9D: Beatnik's address (DADDYO); 10D: Gilligan's shipwrecked ship (SSMINNOW); 11D: Savanna grazer (ELAND); 12D: River through Tours (LOIRE); 13D: Fly-by-night co.? (FEDEX); 18D: "It'll never wash!" (NOSOAP); 24D: Little cut-up (IMP); 25D: Bug like a 24-Down (IRK); 26D: Went off the deep end (DOVE); 28D: Wheels of Fortune? (MBAS); 32D: Knock over (ROB); 34D: "Sands of Iwo __": 1949 film (JIMA); 35D: Med school subj. (ANAT); 36D: "Mayor" author (KOCH); 38D: Doctor's orders, often (LABTESTS); 40D: Stump (BEWILDER); 41D: Plaque holder? (ENAMEL); 44D: James's "Westworld" costar (YUL); 46D: Time slice (ERA); 49D: Aristotle's first element of tragedy (MYTHOS); 52D: Annapolis newbies (PLEBES); 53D: Two-time Venezuelan president Carlos (PEREZ); 54D: Turn on __ (ADIME); 55D: Intolerant (RIGID); 56D: "__ Rae" (NORMA); 60D: Early animal handler (NOAH); 61D: Bit of force (DYNE); 62D: Ret. fliers (SSTS); 65D: Sumac from Peru (YMA).