Doug here, filling for PuzzleGirl, who's taking a much-deserved Saturday vacation.
Nice themeless puzzle by Vic "The Gavel" Fleming today. A little easier than recent LA Times Saturday puzzles. Perhaps Rich Norris figured we'd all be recovering from our Thanksgiving food comas today.
- 18A: Like "The Hurt Locker," e.g. (R-RATED). One of PuzzleGirl's crack assistants, SethG, pointed out to me that there's a sort of mini-theme running through the puzzle. You've got this entry, R-RATED, along with 30A: G-STRING (find your own picture), 34A: E STREET, and 47A: I-BAR. Cool.
- 19A: Iteration opening (I SAID). Part of our "first letters" mini-theme? Probably not. Sort of a tricky clue though. When you iterate, or repeat, something, you might start off with "I said..."
- 27A: Elbows on the table, say (FAUX PAS). I overthought this one. I figured the "elbows" were referring to MACARONI. I wasn't expecting a completely straightforward clue on Saturday.
- 6D: Hot time to see Nancy? (ÉTÉ). Nancy's a city in France, and été is French for summer. When I see this word in a puzzle, I pronounce it like "eat." And why does it have two accents? (Note to commenters: I really don't want to know.) I'm glad I took Spanish in high school. Spanish makes sense. One accent mark per word.
- 9D: Lith., once: (SSR). We've got a little Soviet/Communist mini-theme in this section of the puzzle: SSR (Soviet Socialist Republic), 11D: Source of some Russian copper (URALS), and 14D: RED STATES. (Thanks to SethG for that one too.) I thought about including a Yakov Smirnoff video here, but only for about two seconds.
- 25D: 1981 Wolfgang Petersen film (DAS BOOT). I've always wanted to see this movie. From Wikipedia: "To make the appearance of the actors as realistic as possible, scenes were filmed in sequence over the course of the year. This ensured natural growth of beards and hair, increasing skin pallor, and signs of strain on the actors, who had, just like real U-boat men, spent many months in a cramped, unhealthy atmosphere." And you thought actors were all a bunch of wimps.
- 28D: Short ___ (STORY). I like this clue because it reminds me of the "Match Game" bonus round.
- 32D: Track fixture (TOTE BOARD). During college, I worked summers at different racetracks, so I've seen the inside of many a toteboard. It's not as exciting as it sounds.
- 52D: Jazz organist Saunders (MERL). For crossword fans, there's only one Merl to remember.
- 41A: Drink suffix (ADE).
- 6D: Hot time to see Nancy? (ETE).
- 9D: Lith., once (SSR).
- 54D: Give out (EMIT).