When I see Henry Hook's byline on a Friday puzzle, I know I'm in for some serious Googling. I think this is his fourth since I've been blogging, and I know that I struggled with every one of them.
I was kind of hoping for a Mike Nothnagel puzzle today. That might not have been much easier, but I'm generally more on Mike's wavelength.
If I only write about the gimmes, this will be a very short post...but here they are:
20A: Syrup of __ (ipecac). Nasty stuff...used to induce vomiting. I've never had to take it, thankfully.
40A: Cloth workers? (clergymen). A bit sexist, but it came to me immediately for some reason. One of my favorite clergy persons is a woman, and we spent an hour visiting last night...maybe that's why it popped into my head.
51A: Island nicknamed the Gathering Place (Oahu).
1D: Olympics item...or the winning word in the 1984 National Spelling Bee (luge). This was probably more of a good guess than a gimme, but it panned out.
2D: Civilians eligible to be drafted (One-As). I was researching how to write that out correctly and ended up on all kinds of strange sites...including a few about resisting the draft. I hope I don't end up on somebody's list because of it.
13D: "I did it!" (ta-da).
29D: Tentlike dwelling with a conical roof (yurt)...although I thought it was spelled yert.
31D: Be angry as heck (boil).
38D: Hybrid fruit (Ugli). That's a registered trademark for tangelos from Jamaica. You can read more about them here. They are absolutely delicious.
44D: Locker room habitués (jocks). I spent a lot of time in locker rooms in college, but I wouldn't call myself a jock...just a compulsive exerciser.
45D: Rain gear brand (Totes).
49D: Plural suffix with beat or neat (niks). I was one, but not the other.
Not much of a toe-hold anywhere. I also had an almost answer...32D: "Nothing to it" (easy as ABC). I had easy as pie, which made the vertical stacks in the southeast extremely difficult to get. Almost impossible, in fact.
I ended up Googling some of the more obscure names, which opened up a few areas. One thing led to another, and it was finished. Some of my Googled-for answers:
23A: Sci-fi author McIntyre (Vonda). Never heard of him, but the V was enough for me to get 23D: Appearances (visages). [Update: Thanks to Anonymous for letting me know that Vonda McIntyre is a female.]
43A: Sculptor Oldenburg (Claes). He's done some really neat stuff. It was really hard to pick a favorite...but I'll go with this one. The ice cream cone on top of the building was another good one...as was the tube of toothpaste.
3D: __ Line (German/Polish border) (Oder-Neisse). I'm not much into that kind of trivia, and I don't expect to retain it. But it opened up the northwest.
14D: Pianist Templeton (Alec). With only the C in place, I wanted Eric.
41D: Fritz the Cat illustrator (R. Crumb). I would never have gotten this one...was sure something was wrong with the RC at the beginning. I always got Fritz and Felix confused...Felix was cuter.
Now on to the good stuff...the long answers that were stacked top and bottom.
1A: Show signs of improvement (look better).
15A: Indication of stress (underscore). That kind of stress...I was thinking something about blood pressure, especially with the RE at the end.
17A: "Well, duh!" (Gee, ya think). That's just too funny.
52A: Jump the gun (anticipate). When I had easy as pie, I thought this was something that started with panic. That area was a complete disaster.
56A: One who's happy when things look black (bookkeeper). I have always loved that word...double o, followed by double k, followed by double e. Just too good. But it wasn't coming to me tonight, because I thought it began with an I. I knew the two Ks were right...and couldn't come up with anything.
58A: Undergo a change of habit? (cross dress). I had dress, but since the first letter was supposed to be an E...
Other things I liked, once I finally got them, include 11A: Second in a series (beta), 26A: With eyes open (mindfully), 33A: Marker (IOUs), 46A: Game craze of the late 1980s and '90s (Tetris), 49A: Direct (nonstop)...my favorite way to fly, 55A: Senior moment? (prom), 4D: Bitter fruit (key lime), 6D: Name on a bottle of Beyond Paradise (Estee), 10D: Sparks a second time (rekindles), 11D: Department (Bureau), 24D: Classic Packard model with a numerical name (One-Ten), and 27D: Prerecorded (live on tape).
And that's it for tonight. Here's the grid...
...and I'll see you tomorrow.