Sunday's theme is Winging It, with six theme answers...each consisting of three names of birds, which are then clued in odd ways. Two of the theme entries span the grid at 21 characters.
The theme answers are:
23A: Nurse Florence sells adventures? (Nightingale hawks larks). It's always nice to have a partial gimme in a long answer.
31A: Actor Steve repeats what geezers say? (Martin parrots coots). This was the one that gave me the theme, so I knew what I was looking for with the other theme answers.
57A: Lawyer Atticus avoids crazies? (Finch ducks cuckoos). I was sure that loons was the last bird, which made it a little difficult to find the middle word.
69A: Architect Christopher gobbles bannisters? (Wren swallows rails).
93A: Famed magician cheats chumps? (Merlin rooks boobies).
106A: Disney's Captain Jack dupes church leaders? (Sparrow gulls cardinals).
I actually had to dig out To Kill a Mockingbird, because I couldn't for the life of me remember his last name. I also hesitated on magician, because I could think of several...none of which were bird names. Actually, I've never heard of a merlin. According to Wikipedia, it's a falcon, formerly known as a pigeon hawk.
I was off to a good start with the first line of acrosses...all gimmes:
1A: "Downtown" singer (Petula)
7A: Wheat __ (bran). I talked about the importance of fiber in my commencement speech. Years later people remembered that. Fortunately, they remembered the most important thing...that we're more alike than we are different.
11A: Kohada, on a sushi menu (shad). I don't know if I would eat it. I'm still working up the nerve.
15A: Ernst & Young employees, for short (CPAs). If you're fairly new to this blog, you may not know that Don is a CPA. Most people think it stands for Certified Public Accountant. Those of us who are married to one know that it's really Constant Pain in the Ass. (Those of you who are regular readers know that I'm just kidding. Don is the best, and I absolutely adore him. We'll celebrate our 26th anniversary later this month.)
I do love multiple word answers, especially when I'm on the constructor's wavelength...apparently I was tonight.
88A: Conversed (had a talk). My younger daughter and I did this briefly today. We'll meet for breakfast tomorrow morning to do more of it. I think she may be more receptive to Mom's wisdom than she was a month ago. We'll see.
100A: "Stop equivocating!" (yes or no). God, I love this answer. It just looks so good in the grid.
7D: Gourmand (big eater).
13D: Personal offer to help (ask for me).
15D: School souvenir (class ring). That took me longer to get than it should have because of 37A: Annual event celebrated outdoors (Arbor Day). I had Earth Day, which gave me H where the R would have been, so nothing was making sense.
45D: Turn unpleasant (get ugly). Ick...I hope tomorrow's breakfast doesn't do that.
55D: How a rose by any other name would smell, according to Shakespeare (as sweet). I'm surprised we had this much detail in a Sunday clue.
85D: Without exception (bar none). I like this expression and will use it in a future blog...unless I forget to.
There were a few things I didn't know but was able to get from crosses.
21A: "__ fan tutte" (cosi). Haven't a clue. Oh, it's Mozart...and opera. I'm not surprised I didn't know it.
63A: __ fatuus (ignis). This is too cool. I can't believe I'd never heard of it.
117A: Title hero of a classic western (Destry). Small wonder I never heard of it. Destry Rides Again was a 1939 film, starring James Stewart and Marlene Dietrich.
Interesting clue at 53A: Ratiocinative (logical). I had to chew on the clue for a few minutes.
Other words I liked seeing in the grid:
49A: Static (inert). Not static, as in electricity. Clever.
78A: Some military helicopters, familiarly (Hueys). Don't know how I knew that...probably from a puzzle in the past.
103A: Prefix with 94-Down (aero), which was clued as Voyagers: Suffix (naut). I prefer ties when they cross one another as this one did.
44D: 40 days and 40 nights event (deluge). Even if you don't know much about the Bible, you know this story.
59D: Rejects, with "off" (kisses). Such a nice expression for an unpleasant experience.
Euler makes another appearance today at 98D, clued as Mathematician who introduced the function symbol f(x). In the future, if an answer is the name of a mathematician and it's five letters, I'm just going to enter Euler. It worked today, and it will probably work most of the time.
I see more things to write about, but it's getting late. If I didn't hit on your favorites, feel free to mention them in a comment.
Here's the grid.
And I'll see you tomorrow.