Just when I think I'll zoom through a puzzle, there's something simple to trip me up. I nailed the theme answers...only to stumble on a couple of words near the end.
Today's theme is WHO, WHAT, WHERE, WHEN and WHY, and the theme answers are:
17A: Response to a knock (Who can it be). I've never said that, but it reminds me of the song by Men at Work. Hear it here.
26A: The important thing (what matters). Many years ago, Leslie's class did a Mother's Day project called The Important Thing. For some reason, it's still hanging in the kitchen. The funny thing is...I didn't really help her with her homework. I just sat with her while she did it. I've cropped it so that it's readable, so you don't get the full effect of her lovely artwork. She would just die of embarrassment if she knew I'd posted this, so don't tell her.
38A: Doctor's query (Where does it hurt?). These days, he just asks me where it doesn't hurt.
44A: "Never!" (when pigs fly). My favorite...for the visual alone. Some time in 1981, Don commented that pigs weren't pink. Every Christmas since then, I've given him a pink pig. He regrets having said it. That reminds me, I haven't gotten this year's pig yet. He has already received a coffee cup, bookmarks, candy, plush, stained glass, a clay ornament, a framed cross-stitch, a cookie jar, socks, an apron...it's getting hard to come up with different things after so many years.
59A: Discounter's pitch (Why pay more).
The tough spots for me...fortunately all gettable with crosses...were 65A: Unit of force (dyne)...damn science stuff and 67A: Classic computer game set on a seemingly deserted island (Myst)...never heard of it. I was also a bit unsure about 47D: Sober (staid), which didn't help me much. 45D: Armed conflict (hot war) was a phrase that's new to me, and I've never heard of 39D: Dickens's Drood (Edwin).
Yesterday a reader (postoo) commented about the use of ires as a verb...and it's here again today...56D: Tees off. Of course, I wanted a golf answer in there.
I definitely liked seeing the Scrabbly J begin the first two answers...1A: Comment not to be taken seriously (jest), crossing with 1D: 1975 Spielberg thriller (Jaws), and 5A: __ Marley's ghost in "A Christmas Carol" (Jacob), crossing with the delightful 5D: Place to find auto parts (junkyard).
Some of my favorites...either for the clues or the answers:
16A: Poi source (taro). A Hawaiian answer, just for you, Bob!
31A: A Chaplin (Oona). Her name appears from time to time, so it's best to remember it.
33A: Lhasa __ (Tibetan dogs) (Apsos). I can never remember if it's Apso or Apsa. 36D: Sportscaster Hershiser (Orel) didn't help at all...could have just as easily been Arel.
42A: Entre __ (nous). Love the cross at 29D: Steakhouse selections (T-bones). When I had TBO, I was sure I had something wrong.
66A: Teammate of Snider and Hodges (Reese). Haven't a clue who that is, but the name fit.
3D: One not associating with the likes of you? (snob).
7D: Half of an E.P.A. mileage rating (city). Mike and Elaine got a new Explorer. It gets about three gallons to the mile.
25D: Come clean (fess up).
48D: Rock opera with the song "Pinball Wizard" (Tommy). One of my favorites...to this day, I love the soundtrack.
54D: N.Y.S.E. debuts (IPOs)...Initial Public Offering. That's been in the puzzle more than once.
That's it for tonight. Here's the grid...
...and I'll see you tomorrow.