Tony Orbach and Patrick Blindauer put their heads together on this puzzle--Rear Axle--and came up with a winner. Challenging, but not impossible, and just plain fun.
I ended up with a theme answer that I didn't understand. Once I got the second one, it was clear what was up, Doc!
How did the theme play out? The letters LE are omitted from commonly used phrases, which are then clued in amusing ways.
23A: Yosemite Sam's cursing of Bugs Bunny's food? (dang carrots). This was the one I didn't get until later. Oh! Dangle carrots!
28A: Explanation for why some pillows do weird things? (trick down theory). I did pay attention in class when we learned about the trickle down theory.
47A: Basic food choice? (bread and butter pick). I love bread and butter pickles, so I saw it with only a couple of letters in place.
68A: Short-term worker who causes utter disaster? (the temp of doom). The funniest answer...hands down. Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom is a favorite in this house.
86A: Jazz-loving young entomologist? (Boogie Woogie bug boy). My favorite of the bunch. I enjoyed singing along with Bette Midler's version of Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy.
112A: Meal for the Three Little Pigs? (family sty dinner). This was the last one to fall into place for me. Family style dinners are not my favorite--I tend to eat way too much.
118A: Work on analytical psychology? (The Jung Book). The psych student in me found this one amusing. In a class called Deconstructing Disney, I saw The Jungle Book in a new light.
Not just great theme answers...there's some pretty terrific fill to boot.
I always enjoy seeing the Beatles and/or their songs clued in the puzzle. They got me on this one, though. 47D: "P.S. I Love You" and "Revolution," e.g. (B sides). Didn't help that I didn't know 55A: Noontime service (sext).
Also didn't know 49D: Bet to win and place (exacta), although I think I saw it in a recent puzzle. The only betting word I know is trifecta--besides JaiAlai, that old puzzle standby.
I love anagrams (so does my friend, Spherical Ham), so it was a real pleasure to see 63D: Position that's an anagram, appropriately, of "notes" (steno). We've had steno a couple of times recently, but this is the best clue ever.
Also liked seeing 18D: "Gilligan's Island" castaway (Mary Ann). She was my favorite of the female characters. The professor was my favorite of the men.
In no particular order, some clever clues that deserve mention:
3D: Stuntwork? (bonsai). Almost laugh-out-loud funny...in a way.
12D: Cover for a grandmother (shawl). I wore shawls in the 70s, but I wouldn't dream of wearing one now!
13D: Hot spot (kiln)
48D: "Be saved!" (Repent!)
61D: Like Limburger cheese (stinky). I have never smelled Limburger cheese, but I think I'd rather not.
90D: Lose in one's drawers (misfile). Too funny. I didn't have a clue where they were going with this one. Saved by the acrosses.
91D: Not oral (on paper). Had written at first--a good wrong answer. And that's all I'm sayin' on that.
I liked the way they clued 34A: "Stupid," in Spanish (!). Mensa is the Latin word for table. According to Wikipedia, the Mensa Society was meant to indicate a round-table society of equals. Does that mean we're all in that 98th percentile?
I could go on and on with this puzzle, but I'm sure the other bloggers will cover the ones I missed.
Happy Father's Day to all of you fathers out there!