Hey, puzzle fans. Doug here, pinch-hitting for PuzzleGirl. I didn't have much trouble with today's puzzle, even though there were some unfamiliar entries in the grid: YARE, COLEUS, CALX. It's late, so I'm jumping right into the bullets.
- 15A: Paris jilted her for Helen (OENONE). OK, you might not believe it, but this was the first thing I wrote into the grid. Mythology is my #1 favorite thing to see in crosswords, followed by baseball and comic book references. My Achilles' heel is musical theater.
- 20A: Quick to the helm (YARE). This word pops up in crosswords every now and then, and it baffles me every time. It means: "(of a ship) quick to the helm, easily handled or maneuvered." Next time I'm at the marina, I'm going to say, "Dude, that yacht is yare!" and see if anyone knows what I'm talking about.
- 42A: Channeling device? (STEREO). A stereo has left and right channels, but can you really call it a "channeling device"? You make the call.
- 49A: O'Neill title flora: (ELMS). Eugene O'Neill's Desire Under the Elms.
- 57A: Name for lime based on its chemical composition (CALX). That's a mouthful. I had a fruity lime in mind, but that didn't make any sense. It's the kind of lime you get from limestone. Anyway, "calx" is Latin for chalk or limestone.
- 63A: Zayre department stores creation (T.J. MAXX). That's a fun entry to see in the grid. The lower right section was my favorite part of the puzzle.
- 68A: Quakers with deep roots? (ASPENS). Quaking aspens. The ELMS & ASPENS make up a nice "trees" micro-theme.
- 8D: Plant with flamboyant foilage (COLEUS). Never heard of it, but maybe we can add this crazy plant to the "trees" theme. I suspect the YARE/COLEUS crossing stumped a few solvers.
- 10D: Carroll's "slithy" thing (TOVE). Sounds kind of gross. It's from Lewis Carroll's poem "Jabberwocky," which begins "'Twas brillig, and the slithy toves / Did gyre and gimble in the wabe." Carroll might have been on some COCA (1D: Chewable stimulant) when he came up with that line.
- 11D: London hauler? (SLED DOG). Tricky! Think Jack London and The Call of the Wild. I love that book and just about everything London wrote. Awesome clue.
- 24D: Surgeon for whom a mouthwash is named (LISTER). And I guess Scope is named after the guy from the "Monkey Trial."
- 64D: Relative of Chas.? (JOS.). Chas. is short for Charles and Jos. is short for Joseph. I'd go with plain old "Joe" myself.