Theme: Games People Play -- Four theme entries that begin with things one might use while playing a board game. Fun!
- 20A: Guy in a spotlight (MAN OF THE HOUR).
- 33A: Feature of much of Bach's music (COUNTERPOINT).
- 43A: Coin for Long John Silver (PIECE OF EIGHT)
- 59A: Symbolic but inconsequential act (TOKEN GESTURE)
- 1A/73A: Where you might find the starts of 20-, 33-, 43- and 59-Across (BOARD GAMES).
- 17A: Almost fail (GET A D). ...on your report card. It took me a while to figure this one out. "Get a D" is an iffy phrase in my book, so I'm going to almost fail this entry. And I hope it doesn't lead to GETANA, GETAB, GETAC, and GETANF.
- 23A: Country in which Tetris was created (RUSSIA). It was technically the Soviet Union back then, but lots of people called it "Russia" anyway. Make sure you have your volume up when you watch this one:
- 31A: Antacid named for its elements (MAALOX). Magnesium, aluminum, and oxygen. That's a cool piece of trivia!
- 43A: Coin for Long John Silver (PIECE OF EIGHT). The first thing that came to mind was Long John Silver's restaurant. How sad is that? When I was in high school, I worked for a Long John Silver's rival, Skippers. Their mascot was a giant parrot, and the worst job in the place was standing out front wearing the parrot costume and waving at traffic.
- 11D: Hushpuppies are often fried in it (HOT OIL). Everything at Skippers was fried in hot oil. I usually avoided parrot duty because I was one of the top cooks. Well, it wasn't really "cooking." It was throwing things into hot oil and then fishing them out with a basket.
- 12D: Running by itself (ONAUTO). Hey, this was an entry in the very first puzzle I blogged, a couple of weeks ago. It's short for "on autopilot." Scully2206, I hope you remembered it!
- 40D: Fruit that isn't pretti? (UGLI). What do you think? Cute clue or a total groaner?
- 45D: Conundrums (ENIGMAS). The clue and the answer are both fun words. And ENIGMAS anagrams to IN GAMES, which is where you'll find the starts of the theme entries. Trippy.
- 48D: Drive drove (CATTLE). That's an odd-looking clue. The "drive" comes from "cattle drive," and a "drove" is a "group of animals moving together." I like it.