A show of hands, please...how many of you groaned l-o-u-d-l-y when you saw thirteen across entries clued simply as [ - ]? I know I did. But when it started to come together, the aha moments started coming in waves.
You really had to think outside the box to get this one. I noticed immediately that all thirteen [ - ] words were left justified (as it were), but that didn't tip me off. It wasn't until *CAS*Y at 41-Across that I realized what was going on.
The thirteen theme answers are two entries each. The [ - ] appears as the first clue (at the left word), and the actual clue appears as the clue for the words that are right justified. Huh?
1A, clued at 10A: Opposite of all (not one). Actually, one not if you read them left to right. For consistency's sake, I'll do them all this way.
13A, clued at 15A: Loser (also ran). I never heard this expression before doing crossword puzzles. Now I see it pretty often.
16A, clued at 18A: Try, as something new (test out). If you'd like to test out something new...like guest blogging at Madness...just let me know.
19A, clued at 22A: Like some low-rise buildings (three story).
26A, clued at 30A: Places where fans may gather to watch a game (sports bars).
34A, clued at 36A: Noted 1829 West Point graduate (Robert E. Lee). This was first clue that something was up. I was pretty sure that was the answer, but it just wouldn't fit at 36-Across.
37A, clued at 40A: Deem appropriate (see fit).
41A, clued at 44A: Irish playwright who wrote "The Shadow of a Gunman" (Sean O'Casey). Once I had some of the downs over at the left side, I saw that O'Casey belonged over there, and I was on a roll.
45A, clued at 47A: Countryman of Chancellor Konrad Adenauer (West German).
51A, clued at 55A: Target of chondrolaryngoplasty surgery (Adam's apple).
59A, clued at 62A: Barely (by a nose).
63A, clued at 65A: Comforting words (it's okay). I got plenty of those today from several readers. Thank you all. As I said in a comment to Wednesday's puzzle, there have been references made (on this blog and others) about the virtual family that exists among crossword bloggers. It's very true, and I'm grateful for each and every one of you.
66A, clued at 68A: What some browsers browse (the net).
That was tough to explain, but I hope you were able to follow my train of thought.
I thought this puzzle was borderline brilliant. So many of the theme answers were just simple words--only three or four letters. That would have made for a boring puzzle if not for the way they were connected.
There were only a few things I didn't know. 49A: Long-billed wading bird (snipe). I wanted egret or heron..don't they have long bills? Also didn't know 60A: English king who was the youngest son of William the Conqueror (Henry I), and 38D: Early American patriot Silas (Deane). Sports isn't the only area of weakness for me. You can add history, physics and French, among other things, to the list.
Outside of the theme answers, I really liked 6D: One way to buy things (on credit). I'm embarrassed to say that it was a gimme. I put everything on my credit card. It beats writing checks all over town. I get cash back rewards from Visa (which I put into my savings account) and I don't charge more than I can pay when the bill comes in.
Also liked 39D: Guests may be greeted with them (open arms). I don't remember the last time we had guests, but I'm sure that's how they were greeted.
Was very happy to see that 33D: Blockage fix was stent...as opposed to fiber.
The award for most clever clue goes to 43D: Magazine locale (arsenal). Like most of you, I was thinking about the magazines I read...RealSimple, More, National Geographic, Readers Digest and Guideposts (in no particular order).
Here's the completed grid...
...and I need to wrap this up. I have physical therapy at 8:20, which means I need to get up early and get moving. I do have more movement in my left arm, but it's nowhere near full range of motion. I get impatient and want it to be better NOW, so I can get back to lifting weights. Hawaii in two months, ACPT in seven months...the pressure is mounting.
See you tomorrow.