I haven't seen a John Farmer puzzle in the New York Times in several months, but he sure kicked my butt with this one.
If I only write about what I knew, it would be a very short post. Conversely, if I wrote about my struggles, I'd still be writing tomorrow morning.
So maybe something in between?
I knew part of 1A: What you might do at the beach (go for a dip). I knew you'd go for something...wanted to make swim fit in there somehow, and it just wouldn't. When I'm on the beach next week, I'll make sure I do that, as well as sip Hawaiian margaritas, catch up on my reading, do a few New York Times puzzles...and just R-E-L-A-X.
Just noticed that we have a pangram again today. Tyler Hinman's puzzle back in August missed it by one letter, so I always check very carefully before I label a puzzle a pangram.
25A: Brian known for 33-Across music (Eno). Didn't know that B.C. (before crosswords). Because I had that, I was able to get 3D: Like a romantic dinner (for two), with just the O in place, which then gave me 22A: Subject of interest in the question "Who are you wearing?" (gown).
41A: Miss __ (USA). I'm not a fan of beauty pageants...at all. There's so much more to life than one's looks.
54A: Spanish kitties (gatos).
4D: Big name in pest control (Orkin). That had to be a gimme for just about everyone.
I had several wrong answers that set me back, but some of them were pretty good:
18A: This is a test (assay). I had essay...it's also a test.
24A: Register (enrol). I had enter.
29A: Comment after getting something (aha). I was on the right track, but I had duh.
10D: 100 to 1, e.g. (scale). I wanted ratio, but it wouldn't work with the E in essay.
I Googled to get a few more squares filled in and was able to get several answers with just a couple of letters in place:
Once I had 2D: Moon of Uranus named for a Shakespearean character (Oberon), I was able to get 15A: Early inhabitant (Aborigine).
21A: Old-time actress Crabtree (Lotta). Did anyone know that? How about 11D: Actress Nancy of "Sunset Boulevard" (Olson). Never heard of her or the show.
26A: John who succeeded Pierre Trudeau as Canadian P.M. (Turner). The only prime minister I ever remember is Tony Blair. Once I had the T, I was able to guess 26D: "Vincent & __" (1990 Robert Altman film) (Theo). Where was I in 1990? Never heard of it.
37A: "Ash Wednesday" writer (T.S. Eliot). How many different versions are out there? Google came up with three answers before the correct one.
I liked the nine-letter stacks in the southeast. 56A: Doesn't support a conspiracy theory? (acts alone), 59A: Oslo Accords concern (Gaza Strip), and 61A: Frank Zappa or Dizzy Gillespie feature (soul patch)...I don't get it, but I like how it looks. That reminds me, I initially had double zee for that one.
17A: Choked up (verklempt). How have I lived this many years and have never heard this expression...not even once! If I knew about Linda Richman, I'd have known this one.
Great answers include 30A: Waves with long wavelengths? (tsunamis), 38A: Starry-eyed (quixotic), 42A: Spell checker? (amulet), 1D: Forced feeding, as with a tube (gavage)...never heard of it, but it's great, 35D: Whitewall, maybe (bias tire), 36D: Delays (time lags), 39D: Largest of the ABC Islands (Curaçao) and 43D: "The Tao that can be told is not the eternal Tao" philosopher (Lao Tzu)...is it odd that it crosses with 53A: Kip spender (Lao)? Or am I just being 9D: Small in the biggest way? (pettiest)?
Time to call it a night. Here's the grid...
See you tomorrow.