June 13, 2011
- 17A: Johnny Carson's predecessor (JACK PAAR).
- 21A: "Misery" co-star (JAMES CAAN).
- 36A: "I, Robot" author (ISAAC ASIMOV).
- 55A: Vice president involved in a historic duel (AARON BURR).
- 61A: Common batteries, and a feature of 17-, 21-, 36- and 55-Across (DOUBLE A'S).
Nice to get home last night and find this little gem waiting to be solved. On a Monday, you can't really ask for more than what we have here: a simple theme with straightforward cluing that manages to include some nice medium-to-long answers, a touch of Scrabbliness, and very little in the way of what I consider crap fill. Unfortunately (?), that means there's also not much to talk about. I did hesitate a little on the first theme answer because I can never remember how to spell Jack PAAR even though we've covered it in CW101. I'm thinking that its inclusion in this double-A theme might actually help me remember it in the future. Thanks, Jeff!
The only other comments I really have are that with the U in place for [62D: Mex. neighbor], I actually entered URU. at first, which I believe should get me a Most Idiotic Misstep By a Crossword Blogger nomination this year. Also PAJAMAS / ANATOMY / MACARONI is a really nice stack right up there in the northwest corner (1D: Bedtime garb / 2D: TV's "Grey's __" / 3D: Cheese companion). And did you notice that MACARONI's symmetrical partner in the grid is VELVEETA (39D: Kraft cheese spread)? Nice touch.
Crosswordese 101 Round-up:
- 20A: Pong producer (ATARI).
- 42A: LAX approximation (ETA).
- 59A: Justice Kagan of the Supreme Court (ELENA).
- 64A: Vaulted recess (APSE).
- 29D: "The Lord of the Rings" monster (ORC).
- 46D: Rodeo gear (RIATAS).
Everything Else — 1A: Frying pan spray (PAM); 4A: Fanatic's feeling (ZEAL); 8A: Player on stage (ACTOR); 13A: Santa __: city SE of Los Angeles (ANA); 14A: "Joy of Cooking" writer Rombauer (IRMA); 15A: Curvy ski race (SLALOM); 19A: "I need a hug" ("HOLD ME"); 23A: Pat of "The Karate Kid" (MORITA); 25A: Binary code digit (ONE); 26A: Animal like new? (GNU); 27A: "Famous" cookie creator (AMOS); 28A: Floated upward (ROSE); 31A: Alternative to leaving a test question blank (GUESS); 33A: Roget entry: Abbr. (SYN.); 34A: Pulled in different directions (TORN); 35A: Pasty (WAN); 40A: "Car Talk" airer (NPR); 41A: Front of a clock (FACE); 45A: Worry persistently (BROOD); 48A: Blue state? (FUNK); 49A: Dab at with a towel, as a spill (BLOT); 50A: __ Tin Tin (RIN); 51A: NATO part: Abbr. (ATL.); 53A: Turn like a chair (SWIVEL); 60A: Masonry finish applied when wet (STUCCO); 63A: Pick up the pace (HASTEN); 65A: Windsor knot neckwear (TIE); 66A: Clam-digging area (SHORE); 67A: Blacken on the grill (SEAR); 68A: Gore and Hirt (ALS); 4D: "Not another word!" ("ZIP IT!"); 5D: Prohibition __ (ERA); 6D: Key with three sharps: Abbr. (A MAJ.); 7D: Zhivago's beloved (LARA); 8D: Pale (ASHEN); 9D: Nip and tuck contest (CLOSE GAME); 10D: Skin-soothing powder (TALC); 11D: Golden years (OLD AGE); 12D: Friends-countrymen link (ROMANS); 16D: Lists of computer options (MENUS); 18D: Singer Kristofferson (KRIS); 22D: Stooge with a bowl haircut (MOE); 24D: Cacophonous, as a crowd (AROAR); 30D: Major mess (SNAFU); 32D: Spanish 25-Across (UNO); 34D: Hoofer, so to speak (TAP DANCER); 35D: Candle threads (WICKS); 37D: Commercial prefix with Cone or Ball (SNO-); 38D: Japanese honorific (SAN); 43D: Polished part of a piggy? (TOENAIL); 44D: Books of maps (ATLASES); 45D: Full of chutzpah (BRASH); 47D: Surge (ONRUSH); 48D: Cause of chills and fever (FLU); 49D: Tab at a bar (BILL); 52D: Steak selection (T-BONE); 54D: Big brand in barbecues (WEBER); 56D: Prefix with -pus (OCTO); 57D: Nutrient guidelines, briefly (RDA'S); 58D: Rodeo gear (ROPE).