It feels good to be back in the swing of things. I just loved Alan Arbesfeld's Sunday puzzle--Putting on Some Weight. I had one theme answer in place but just did not get the theme at all. When I got the second one, it began to make sense...which then made most of the others much easier to get.
Ordinary names and phrases have TON added...either in the middle of or at the end of them. The new phrases are then appropriately clued in clever ways.
The theme clues and answers are:
22A: Up to top physics standards (as good as Newton). This was the last one to fall because of a wrong answer at 10D: Pussy foot (paw)...I had pad. As good as Ned just didn't make any sense at all.
32A: Recumbent W.W. II general? (Patton on the back). I struggled to come up with his name. I was picturing George C. Scott, and I knew I knew the name...it finally came around to the front of my brain.
46A: First game of a Chinese double-header? (Canton opener). Once I had the theme, this one just jumped out.
55A: Container for an iron or wedge? (club carton). This was the once I had before I understood the theme. Obviously it made no sense at all, so I erased everything after club.
68A: "I'm not interested in having tea!"? (Don't give me any Lipton)...the corniest one of the bunch.
86A: Where to pick up nuclear supplies? (proton shop). I had photo for the longest time. Couldn't make any sense of the cross at 73D [clued as Figure in a bust] for the longest time. I didn't notice the (not so obvious to me) answer until just now. I was thinking statue...they were thinking drug (narc).
96A: Crucifix? (sexton symbol). Don't know what I'm missing here. The sexton at our church is the janitor and caretaker. It must mean something else in other churches.
107A: Traveler's aid in South Carolina? (Charleston Atlas). Many of you will remember the 97-pound weakling ads. For the rest of you, this will tell you more. It's definitely funny to see it again after all these years. This was the second one I got...definitely my favorite.
123A: Easily transportable plantation product? (rollaway cotton)...for some reason, this one made me laugh the most.
Until Don came upstairs to tell me the answer to 25A: Time, in Munich, I was baffled by 1D: Square. I though maybe they wanted Plan A, although it didn't make sense, and neit sounded like a very good German word. The correct answers...plaza (that kind of square) and zeit. Equally baffling for a time was 1A: Award for hanging (plaque). Who gets an award for hanging someone?
By far my favorite word in the puzzle...maybe of all time...is 82D: Place together (juxtapose). It's not only beautiful, it makes really good use of its X.
I'm always fond of multiple word answers, and Alan didn't let me down.
20A: How miracle workers walk (on water).
41A: Substitute (for) (pinch hit). That may be one word, but I'm calling it two...otherwise, the double H looks too weird.
58A: Grab (snap up). I hit a big sale at Herberger's this morning and was able to snap up some really good deals. Flannel sheets and a fleece blanket for Mike and Elaine. Oops, everything else was for me...jeans, sweater, long sleeve tees, shoes, socks, and a potential mother-of-the-bride dress. For $5, you get a coupon worth $10 off an item, plus several 20% coupons...the money goes to the participating nonprofit of your choice. I had bought 5 tickets, so I had to buy a lot of things...don't you know.
133A: Schoolyard challenge (make me). I know we complain frequently about the playground retorts, but that one's good.
12D: "The Joys of Yiddish" author (Leo Rosten); 13D: "Smoking __?" (or non); 14D: Call 911, e.g. (get help); 16D: Facing (up against); 84D: Small part (cameo role); and 97D: Garage litter (oil cans).
While not a multiple word answer, 7A: 18th-century Venetian master who painted "Adoration of the Magi" looks like one as I'm looking over the grid. Tiepolo, not to be confused with tie polo. You can read about him here.
76A: Absolut rival, for short (Stoli). Stoli has no rival, IMOO...perhaps Absolut does.
The only word I don't like is 23D: Makeup kit item (applier)...it seems like a nonword. I have makeup brushes and a couple of applicators, but no appliers.
I don't know anything about pinochle (except that I've always liked the word itself), so I certainly didn't know 35D: Low cards in pinochle (nines). Do you play with all the cards...or only nine through ace?
21D: Modern music genre (techno) threw me. I was sure I had something wrong when I had the CHN in place. Same thing happened at 111A: Item often cloned. BMP...WTF? Great answer, though. IBM PC.
Other foreign language offerings appeared at 51A: Omelette ingredient (oeuf) and 90A: Lago composition (agua)...Spanish for lake and water, respectively.
Loved seeing 130A: Writers Shreve and Brookner (Anitas). I'm not familiar with Brookner, but Anita Shreve has been a favorite author since I read The Pilot's Wife years ago.
Also liked 112D: It's a dyeing art (batik). We have a beautiful framed batik of three zebras. The local Episcopal churches have a two-week African Team Ministries fair where they sell jewelry and wood items...and batik, on occasion...with all proceeds helping them serve the needs of men, women and children in east Africa. I just discovered that you can shop online...click here and you can, too.
There's still much more to say about this puzzle, but I'm fresh out of steam. Here's the grid...
...and I'll see you tomorrow.