Before I go any further, I want to wish my younger brother, Tom, a very happy birthday. You might think that I just did that two weeks ago...but that was Michael, the older of the two. Growing up, I thought it was funny that they were one year and two weeks apart. Now I just feel sorry for my poor mother. Tom is spending his birthday in Las Vegas. He's one of the few successful gamblers I know. Happy birthday, Tom.
And now...on to the puzzle.
This isn't the first time that Stella Daily and Bruce Venzke have paired up to construct a puzzle, although it's been a few months since we've seen one. Until just this minute, I thought this was a themeless puzzle...but the theme just jumped out at me.
18A: "Pretty Woman" and "Waiting to Exhale" (chick flicks).
28A: Actor who got his start on TV's "Gimme a Break!" (Joey Lawrence). This was the one that confused me. I totally spaced that a joey is a baby kangaroo.
48A: Shooter of westerns (Colt revolver).
62A: They're exercised when cycling (calf muscles).
The theme answers were relatively easy, but some of the non-theme answers had me stumped. I absolutely did not know 12D: Clinton adviser Harold (Ickes). I don't know why I thought Frisky was a dog...maybe because ours have been frisky with the recent cooler weather. Anyway, I had catnap for 8A: It makes Frisky frisky, rather than the correct catnip. They guy could have easily been Harold Ackes. In fact, that sounds like a much better name to me.
Other stumbling areas were remedied by crosses. I wasn't familiar with 45A: Hit Sega title character (Sonic), 55A: Gladly (leif), 67A: Opera's __ Te Kanawa (Kiri), 68A: Useful insect secretion (lac)...that's icky (57D: Totally gross)..., 21D: Old Turkish title (Bey), 25D: Fashion designer Elie (Saab), or 29D: Land on the end of a peninsula (oman).
Tripped over 47A: Gene material (RNA). Had DNA originally, which was making it near impossible to get an answer for 35D: With shaking hands, perhaps (nervously).
There were some excellent clues and answers in this one. My favorites include 26A: Like harp seals (earless), 40A: Archie Bunker, famously (bigot), 59A: Part of a metropolitan area (exurb)...I only got this because we just had it..., 70A: It's hard to believe (yarn), 3D: It's embarrassing to eat (humble pie), 10D: Those who don't behave seriously (triflers), 11D: Mother-of-pearl (nacre), and 39D: Automatic-drip machine maker (Mr. Coffee).
I just realized I'm doing the head-bob as I sit here, so I guess that means it's time to wrap it up and head for bed.
Here's the grid...
...and I'll see you tomorrow.