It's Thursday, and I was half-expecting a rebus...so I was pleasantly surprised to see a themed puzzle instead.
Michael Shteyman used his brain on this one. That was the theme, revealed at 65A: Word that can precede the starts of 17-, 35- and 54-Across and 16-Down. The four theme answers are:
17A: It might help you take a turn for the better (power steering).
35A: Ten minutes in a laundry, maybe (wash cycle).
54A: "You'll have to take my word for it" (trust me on this). For the record, I never trust anyone who has to tell me to trust him or her.
16D: Low pressure area (storm center).
Three of them were obvious--brainpower, brainwash and brainstorm--but I don't get brain trust. It is one of those things that will embarrass me when someone points it out?
Things I absolutely did not know:
30A: Emperor under Pope Innocent III (Otto IV). I knew he was either a IV or a V, because I had 31D: Letters on a Rémy Martin bottle (VSOP).
8D: Yellow spring flower (oxlip). I had oxeye...I would almost swear that's a yellow flower, too.
33D: Jewish month (Elul).
41D: Egg-laying mammal (echidna). I'd be surprised if very many people had heard of this, unless it's been in the puzzle more than once.
I remember the Lennon Sisters well, but I could only think of Kathy, Peggy and Janet. Because I knew 61D: Highest tile value in Scrabble (ten), I knew it ended with an E, but thought maybe it was Kathie. Eventually figured out it was Dianne.
Some things I loved:
14A: Wearing white after Labor Day, e.g. (faux pas). I don't just love the answer, I love the clue. That was always a big thing when I was growing up. To this day, when I see someone wearing white shoes in the fall (or, God forbid, in the winter!) I just shudder. Sometimes I even say Ugh! (38D: I hate it!). Because I do. And the only thing that's worse is wearing black hose with the white shoes...you know, to make it look more wintry.
32A: Early Surrealist (Max Ernst). I didn't just love this because it had another X, but that certainly didn't hurt.
49D: Titillating (juicy). What a juicy clue! I already had 48A: Pilgrim to Mecca (Hadji), so I knew that's what it had to be. Actually, I had Hajji for some time. That wouldn't have happened if they'd properly clued it as Jonny Quest's best friend.
And we have not just one--but two--of the infamous childhood taunts in one puzzle. 25D: Word repeated in a child's taunt (liar) and 50D: Kindergarten comeback (is too).
59A: Informal words of concurrence (me either) threw me off a bit. I had *EEIT*** and it didn't look as though anything would fit in there.
Well, here it is almost 11:00, and I have an early morning ahead of me. Be sure to check out Green Genius, where Howard B dishes up Sun commentary for the vacationing Robert.
Hope to see all of you tomorrow.