Peter Collins' Monday puzzle will have you up in arms! You know by now how happy I am to see circles in the grid, and there are 24 of them here.
After you finish the first couple of clues, you find an M in each of the four circles. The next two clues give you R (diagonally), and the two in the third row give you A, again diagonally...giving you four ARMS, with four more ARMS in the bottom three rows. The theme is revealed at 36A: Creature suggested by this puzzle's circled letters (octopus).
Not a shabby theme...quite good for a Monday, in fact.
And a bit of everything in the fill. Sports, music, films, art, beer, pop...it's all here.
20A: 1950s Wimbledon champ Lew (Hoad). That was before I was born, but I got it from the easy downs.
21A: Singer Morissette (Alanis).
28A: Pepsi and RC (colas). Don't drink either. Right now I'm drinking one of Oprah's lemon drop martinis...see yesterday's post for the link.
34A: Sportscaster Howard (Cosell).
42A: Turner who sang "Proud Mary" (Tina).
62A: 2001 Sean Penn film (I am Sam). Without a doubt, this was the most moving motion picture I have seen in my life. I was not a Sean Penn fan, but he was absolutely incredible as a mentally challenged father trying to keep custody of his daughter.
5D: Stella __ (Belgian beer) (Artois). I've never had it, but it's described here as the Belgian premium lager beer.
12D: Dadaist Jean (Arp). If this isn't in the Pantheon, it should be.
23D: Fast, in music (allegro).
42D: "Tip-Toe Thru' the Tulips" singer (Tiny Tim). If you don't remember him, click on this link. His appearance was quite an experience for a kid, which I was at the time, and his singing was even more frightening.
45D: __ Mist (7 Up competitor) (Sierra)...giving equal time to the un-colas.
A few answers that were just fun to see in the grid.
7A: Polite concurrence (yes, ma'am). It's funny...the older I get, the less polite it sounds. It just makes me feel o-l-d.
18A: Short sleeps (cat naps). I read the other day that people who take naps three times a week are less likely to have a heart attack, or something like that. Why take chances when you can take naps?
55A: Drinkers may run them up (bar tabs).
26D: Jewelry for a sandal wearer (toe ring). Once spring is here, I wear open-toed shoes. If it snows a few days later, too bad. And I always paint my toenails and wear three toe rings. I've told my husband that if I ever neglect my toenails, it means I'm seriously depressed. Seriously.
39A: Criticize in a petty way (niggle). It's such a funny word, I don't think I'd take offense if anyone did it to me...as long as I realized they were niggling.
4D: Where Moses got the Ten Commandments (Mt. Sinai). It's always good to have a Bible reference in the puzzle.
And I always like to point out the appearance of X in the grid...here at 52A: Driver's levy (road tax), crossing with 44D: They cause bad luck (jinxes).
I'll be guest blogging the Monday and Tuesday New York Sun puzzles at Green Genius, so come by and visit. I'll include a link to the puzzle, so you can join in the fun. The only hitch is that the Monday puzzle won't be available online until some time Monday...we've been spoiled by the New York Times!