A tough Saturday puzzle from Karen Tracey sent me to Google for more than a couple of answers.
Tough doesn't mean not fair...it means Saturday puzzles are hard, and Karen never disappoints.
Several things I had never heard of, including:
14A: Music maker "played" by the wind (Eolian harp). Here are some you can buy for your garden.
36A: Cellist who debuted at London's Wigmore Hall at age 16 (Jacqueline Dupre). I'm sure that Ultra Vi knew the answer, but I sure didn't. It sure would have given me a nice toehold.
47A: Ancient Greek sculptor famous for his athletes in bronze (Myron). Oh, that guy looks familiar, but the name sure wasn't.
52A: Shakespearean scholar Edmond (Malone). The only Malone I know is Sam, and that's not a Saturday clue.
38D: He wrote "In the country of the blind the one-eyed man is king" (Erasmus). I thought it was H. G. Wells...it fit, but it didn't.
One of my favorite answers in the puzzle is 17A: Stereotypical nerd (Poindexter). We had a Barbie board game that was similar to Mystery Date. Everyone wanted a date with Ken, and woe to the player who ended up with Poindexter. He was the ultimate nerd, way before the word was used. According to Wikipedia, the two are synonymous. Poor Poindexter.
I wasn't a Gomer Pyle fan, but someone in my house was. I saw it enough that I was able to get 45D: Gomer Pyle expletive (Shazam).
A slew of long answers, all better than good.
57A: Expensive choice for a commuter (gas guzzler). Very appropriate. I noticed today that gas went up about fifteen cents a gallon because of the holiday weekend. I'm sure glad I drive a Toyota. Even with a V-6, I get 26 mpg in town...32 on the highway.
60A: "Madame Butterfly," updated (Miss Saigon). Didn't see it but several friends did.
10D: Fashionable resort area (Côte d'Azur).
11D: Piñata decoration (crepe paper). One of only a few gimmes for me.
12D: Not put off (undeterred). I was undeterred by the difficulty of this puzzle. I just Googled (and guessed) away.
26D: Salt halter (avast matey). I wanted something having to do with hypertension. Her answer was much better.
27D: It'll knock you out after you knock it back (Mickey Finn). There's apparently no real agreement about what goes in a Mickey Finn, but this article has some interesting information, including pop culture references.
32D: Like some diamonds (square cut). With a couple of letters in place, I was able to get this one, somewhat opening up that corner of the puzzle. The Q wasn't much help, although I did add a U after it.
Clever clues at 48A: Inclusive pronoun (he/she), 56A: Problem ending (atic), 61A: Peer on a stage (Gynt), 13D: Raid victim (pest) and 15D: Instant success? (Nescafé).
Good multiword answers include 1A: Backup (Plan B), 10A: Size in a lingerie shop (C cup)...a gimme this time around, 20A: Fluffy, perhaps (house pet), 39A: Invite to one's penthouse suite (ask up)...that one's been done before, so I was able to get it, and 50A: Cautious people stay on it (safe side).
Another guest blogger joined the roster. A big thanks to Wendy for her willingness to take the Monday puzzles. Tuesday is still up for grabs...any takers? Remember, I'll pay the going rate for guest bloggers...exactly what I've been paid for the four times I've done it.
Here's the Saturday grid.
If you're traveling over the Labor Day weekend, be safe. If you're not, I'll see you tomorrow.