A fun Monday puzzle from Michael Blake...a name I don't recognize. I'll have to check the Forum later to see if this is a debut.
Whether or not it is...the theme made me laugh. I only knew one of three theme answers before I reached the give-away clue...then I was able to fill in at least part of the other two.
The theme is revealed at 55A: Singing group suggested by the starts of 20-, 28- and 48-Across (The Chipmunks)...and the theme answers are:
20A: "Future Shock" author (Alvin Toffler). The only one of the three that I knew...but the best one to know. There was only one trio that had an Alvin.
28A: Late hunter of Nazi war criminals (Simon Wiesenthal). I was only able to get his last name from crosses. Maybe I should have known this...
48A: "Sister Carrie" author (Theodore Dreiser). I don't know how I've managed to get this far in life without having heard of this book. It's under $3 on Amazon, so maybe I'd better get it with my next order...which will be "The New York Times Sweet Dreams Crosswords: 200 Relaxing Puzzles" to be released on February 5.
I had a couple of brain lapses while solving this. You know what I mean...you read the clue, you know the answer. But the word just will not come. I'm blaming it on the the fact that I started reading "A Thousand Splendid Suns" yesterday. I didn't get very far, but this morning started reading and got absolutely hooked. I couldn't put it down...and ended up reading most of it. I have about 25 pages left, but I finally got to a place of enough resolution that I could leave it for a short time. It's every bit as good...and as haunting...as "The Kite Runner." Maybe even better. Maybe more haunting.
The first brain lapse was 16A: Katmandu's land (Nepal). I stared at the five squares and nothing...NOTHING...would come to mind. The second one was 66A: Thesaurus author (Roget). Both of those are things I know, and it just makes me crazy when that happens.
On the other hand, I immediately knew such things as 45A: Former senator Trent (Lott), 61A: Dragon Ball Z game company (Atari), 65A: Actress Papas or Ryan (Irene), 71A: Actress Falco and namesakes (Edies), 4D: Dolphins QB Dan (Marino), 25D: Clarence of the Supreme Court (Thomas) and 40D: "The __ Squad" of '60s-'70s TV (Mod). So I'm not completely brainless.
Multiword answers include 14A: Skip __ (lost tempo) (a beat), 5D: Finished (at an end)...seems like we just had that, 21D: Namely (to wit), 29D: "Put me down as a maybe" (I might) and 44D: First American to walk in space (Ed White).
Favorite answers in the grid:
17A: __ firma (terra).
36A: Brewing coffee produces one (aroma). I put on a pot of coffee before the puzzle was available online, then totally forgot about it until I came to this clue. I'm serious...that book has done something to me.
69A: Bullwinkle, for one (moose).
1D: __ Hari (Mata).
3D: "__ Griffin's crosswords" (Merv).
9D: Insect or radio part (antenna). That's how I finally got Nepal.
26D: Kind of class for expectant mothers (Lamaze).
27D: Noisy shouting (clamor).
28D: Anesthetize, say (sedate).
30D: Tied down, as a boat (moored).
32D: Country rocker Steve (Earle).
46D: Orkin target (termite).
The weather looked iffy all day, so I decided to spend another day at home. In addition to reading, playing the piano and watching the birds frolic, I made chicken noodle soup (with homemade noodles), baked hamburger buns for tomorrow night's dinner, and made a lemon pudding cake. I heard from both of the girls...it was a good day.
I discovered a new crossword blog a couple of days ago, and I'm hooked on JimH and his inimitable style. I just spent fifteen minutes trying to explain what I like...about his writing style, his philosophy, his sense of humor. I give up! Just follow the link in the sidebar or click here for The JimH Crossword Blog.
That's it for tonight. Here's the grid...
...and I'll see you tomorrow.