It was a little difficult for me to concentrate on this puzzle because I solved it right after what might be the last of a really long string of Iowa Hawkeye wrestling victories. Their win against Northwestern tonight brings the Hawks' unbeaten streak to 72 but it's not at all unlikely that they might lose on Sunday to top-ranked Penn State. The suspense is killing me. And I'm sure you'll forgive me for needing almost every cross for LANES (2D: Pins may be at the ends of them) because all I could think was "a wrestling match against a Hawkeye." No chance of getting away from that one. But let's get to the puzzle because I know you didn't come here to read about Iowa wrestling.
I really hope YES THERE IS A GOD was the seed entry for this puzzle because it's an awesome phrase to build a puzzle around. In fact, both of the 14-letter entries in this grid are spectacular:
- 20A: Ecstatic cry (YES THERE IS A GOD).
- 45A: Go from 10 to 8, say (DROP A DRESS SIZE).
- 17A: "West Side Story" duet (ONE HAND ONE HEART).
- 50A: Angel's concern (BROADWAY MUSICAL).
- 9A: Russian city to host the 2014 Olympics (SOCHI).
- 35A: __ Squalor, Count Olaf's girlfriend in "A Series of Unfortunate Events" (ESME). I would have gotten this if it had been a Twilight clue.
- 37A: Billy Dee's "The Empire Strikes Back" role (LANDO).
- 45D: "The Sopranos" Emmy winner De Matteo (DREA). She also played Joey's sister Gina on "Friends."
- 48D: 2006 N.L. MVP __ Howard (RYAN). He plays first base for the Phillies.
- 1A: Edmonton's prov. (ALTA.). Learned this from crosswords. It really seems like there should be a B in there somewhere.
- 24A: Fish you don't want to be biting (PIRANHAS). Today I learned that I don't really know how to spell PIRANHA. After the PIR, I needed help from the crosses.
- 31A: One-footer, e.g. (TAP-IN). Golf!
- 43A: Tab competitor (DIET R.C.). I tried FRESCA here first.
- 55A: Dustin's "The Graduate" co-star (ANNE). I can never remember that it was ANNE Bancroft who played Mrs. Robinson. I do know the song very well though. In fact, I recall a period of time when PuzzleSister and I were in, oh I don't know, fourth and fifth grade probably? Where she played the song over and over and over again in an apparent plot to drive the rest of the family into madness. But it didn't work!
- 3D: End-of-day destination for many (THE SUBURBS). I'm so glad that both my job and my home are in THE SUBURBS. On good days my commute is like 12 minutes. Oh and this is another very cool entry.
- 25D: __ jure: by the law itself (IPSO). Oh good. Another IPSO phrase for me to get confused with Lhasa Apso.
- 37D: Traditionally, when women were allowed to propose marriage (LEAP DAY). Ya know what? I think it's probably best not to get me started on this particular tradition.
- 5A: North __ Sea, Syr Darya River outlet (ARAL).
- 8D: Anderson of "WKRP in Cincinnati" (LONI).
- 38D: Windblown soil (LOESS).
- 44D: Industry overseers (CZARS).
- 46D: Elephants' predators, in myth (ROCS).
Everything Else — 14A: Sounds of triumph (HAHS); 15A: Move, in real estate (RELO); 16A: Some soli (ARIAS); 21A: Loan guarantor (SURETY); 22A: Whiz (PRO); 23A: Stir vigorously (BEAT); 29A: Attached, in a way (GLUED); 32A: Peke output (YIP); 33A: They fit in locks (OARS); 34A: Deli suffix (-WURST); 36A: Overalls part (BIB); 38A: Glove material (LATEX); 39A: How much radio is broadcast (IN STEREO); 41A: Pharmacist's datum (DOSE); 42A: Had a life (WAS); 51A: Site of a sacred building called the Kaaba (MECCA); 52A: Resort NE of Los Alamos (TAOS); 53A: Swarthy (DARK); 54A: Far from swarthy (PASTY); 56A: Word of consequence (ELSE); 1D: Bridge call? (AHOY); 4D: Hardwood sources (ASH TREES); 5D: CNN Gulf War reporter (ARNETT); 6D: Towel off again (RE-DRY); 7D: Shrub with tubular flowers (ALOE); 9D: Arid (SAHARAN); 10D: Ducks' home (OREGON); 11D: "Bye!" ("CIAO!"); 12D: Like some copies and courts (HARD); 13D: Social end (-IST); 18D: Winning (AHEAD); 19D: Lively wit (ESPRIT); 24D: 1960s-'70s "Jeopardy!" announcer (PARDO); 26D: Riotous (HYSTERICAL); 27D: Parisian lover's word (AIME); 28D: Eyewear, commercially (SPEX); 29D: Home to many Bactrian camels (GOBI); 30D: Rested (LAIN); 31D: Some find it hard to carry (TUNE); 34D: 1955 treaty city (WARSAW); 35D: Manhattan's FDR Drive is on it (EAST SIDE); 40D: With an intermission (TWO-ACT); 41D: Neglect (DISUSE); 43D: Familiar, perhaps (DEMON); 47D: It may be described in gigs (DATA); 49D: Sommer of "The Prize" (ELKE); 50D: Image file letters (BMP).