Before I start on the daily blog, I want to wish a very happy birthday to our daughter, Leslie, who turns 18 on Saturday, 07/07/07. She was unhappy that she had to work on her birthday...an unwelcome welcome to the real world. Happy birthday, sweetie!
I don't know if I can blame it on the heat, but I'll try. Your puzzle totally kicked my butt, Mr. McClary.
But I was totally impressed! Stacks of 10-letter words--not just long, but good.
Three horizontal stacks in the top left:
1A: Magellan, e.g. (spacecraft). I didn't think it had to do with Ferdinand, but I was pretty sure it would end in strait. It actually worked with several of the downs...for a while.
15A: Enthusiastic welcome (hello hello). Not anything I'd say in conversation, no matter how happy I was to see someone. But I'm willing to overlook things like that when a puzzle has this much to offer.
17A: Imparts artfully (insinuates).
And three vertical stacks top right:
12D: Casa dei Bambini school founder (Montessori). Didn't know it by the clue alone, but I had enough of the acrosses to know that's what it had to be.
13D: Show tune sung by a stevedore named Joe (Ol' Man River). This was the only true gimme for the long answers. I learned this in History of Popular Music. It's from the musical Showboat...music by Jerome Kern, lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein.
14D: Relinquishes control (steps aside).
The other vertical stacks, bottom left:
26D: Words to leave by (adios, amigo). After I'd done the acrosses, the only one I'd entered in that corner was 62A: "...maybe more, maybe less" (or so). Since I knew that the answer ended in O, I felt pretty confident entering hasta luego. It didn't take too long to see the error of my ways.
27D: Did a dog trick (rolled over). Played dead also fit, but that R at the end meant I'd better think of another trick.
28D: Aids in closing deals (sweeteners). That seems like a stretch, but it's definitely a Saturday clue. Monday would have something to do with iced tea.
The last of the stacks--horizontals in the lower right.
57A: Doctor, at times (inoculator). Until a few weeks ago, I had never been given a shot by a doctor. I'd have told you they didn't know how to do it. But Dr. Mitch, who gave me a cortisone shot, knew what he was doing. And so did I...he was hurting me! Seriously, my shoulder is so much better since that day. That and the physical therapy have worked magic.
61A: Cosmopolitan alternative (piña colada). I was pretty sure this didn't refer to the magazine, but I was trying to think of some kind of martini that would fit. Speaking of martinis, here's the recipe for Oprah's famous lemon drop martinis. They're to die for...and especially refreshing on these 100° days.
63A: Supporters of roads (state taxes). I've seen this just recently, but it may have been in one of my NYT books. Maybe one of the ACPT puzzles. Seven down, one to go, then I'll send it my packet in. Puzzle #7 kicked my butt worse than this one did. Its X crosses with 53D: Record label for Sam & Dave and Booker T. & the MG's (Stax).
Another X appears at 29A: Sorority letters (XIs), crossing with 23D: Track wager (exacta). This one has tripped me up before, and it tried to again.
A rare appearance by Z at 45A: Rumble in the Jungle setting (Zaire), crossing with 45D: Hound (zealot). We've seen the word before, but not clued that way that I can remember.
I very definitely do not understand 37A: Zolaesque imputation (J'accuse). I Googled it and found a reference to ACPT. Can someone clear this one up? And will I feel stupid when it's explained? [Updated 7:27 a.m. - Thanks, Donald. I corrected the way it should be written. Who can shed light on the ACPT reference?]
19A: Word with age or weight (atomic) made me laugh when I finally got it. I had middle. Hey, it works.
The worst word in the puzzle, although clued brilliantly, was 40A: Release a bulletin? (untack). The next time I remove something from my bulletin board, I will consciously be aware that I am untacking it.
I was delighted to see 41A: TV role for Bamboo Harvester. I never stopped to think that Mr. Ed had a name. I was just a kid...what did I know?
Speaking of long ago (although more recent than Mr. Ed), 10D: Quaint note opener (To Sir) made me think of To Sir With Love, starring Sidney Poitier and Lulu. I absolutely loved that movie. Better add it to my Netflix queue.
And 56A: St. __ (Cornwall resort town) (Ives) reminded me of the old rhyme. You can read it, plus an interesting commentary, here.
And I'm off to get some sleep.