Today's puzzle, by Raymond C. Young, had some tough ones. It also had some really strange ones, but I guess that's to be expected when the grid is stacked with long entries.
First, the gimmes...not very many:
7A: Molly who wrote "Bushwhacked" (Ivins). An admirable woman...she always called it like she saw it.
25A: "In a hurry, are we?" (Where's the fire). Okay, maybe that was a good guess, but that's what immediately came to mind.
40A: Deborah who starred in "Tea and Sympathy" (Kerr). Actress + Deborah will almost always = Kerr.
3D: "__ said many times..." (As I've).
11D: "Now listen!" (See here). There were a lot of fill-in-the-blanks, but I was definitely on his wavelength tonight.
14D: Wits (senses).
37D: "What have__?" (I done). Yet another fill-in.
39D: Meet away from prying eyes (tryst). I think of it more as a noun, but I guess it's also a verb.
There were some mighty strange answers, as well, including:
44A: Observatory doings (telescopy).
6D: Plant on after a wildfire, say (reafforest).
8D: Producing some clouds (vaporific).
10D: Ones without a chance in the world (no-hopers).
But more than enough good-to-great phrases to make up for them. Some of my favorites:
16A: Relations of Homer? (epic tales). If they were referring to Homer Simpson, I would have been out of luck.
23A: Private (one striper). I especially like the clue.
30A: Makes a fraidy-cat (out of) (scares the heck). I had scares the hell, until I couldn't come up with answers for the downs...vaporific and 9D: Fit (in the pink).
34A: Modern marketing aid (email list).
13D: London locale of Prada, Dior, Gucci and Giorgio Armani (Sloane Street).
17D: Gets ready for dinner (sets the table).
24D: Olivia de Havilland film of 1949 (The Heiress).
25D: Pilferers from ships and port warehouses (wharf rats).
26D: Alabaman who wrote the Best Novel of the Century, according to a 1999 Library Journal poll (Harper Lee).
28D: Part of Act IV where Marc Antony resolves to kill Cleopatra (Scene XII).
30D: "The first network for men" sloganeer, once (Spike TV).
Several things I didn't know. Some I got from crosses...a few from Google:
19A: Service for filmgoers (Moviefone). Not familiar with it...not sure if it's one word or two...hyphenated or not.
29A: Forensic indicators of the presence of blood (hemins).
2D: Horse of the Year that won the 1949 Preakness and Belmont (Capot). Two 1949 clues in one puzzle.
4D: Soprano Albanese (Licia).
27D: Foreign title meaning "commander" (Emeer).
35D: Claudia __, 1984 Olympic gold medalist in shot put (Losch).
36D: Tigres del ___, Dominican team that has won the Caribbean World Series nine times (Licey).
Other favorites, in addition to the long phrases, include 1A: Like the reading on a thermometer (scalar), 15A: Camp sight (canoe), 18A: __ river (up the), 21A: Unwavering (steadfast), 22A: Candlemas dessert (crepe), 32A: Cause (perpetrate), 41A: Decorate (embroider), 46A: Parts of mountaineering trips (descents), 5D: Put in to start (anted) and 22D: __ de fraise (creme).
I have a 7:30 meeting tomorrow, so I'd best call it a night. Here's the grid...
...and I'll see you tomorrow.