Wednesday's puzzle by Peter Collins felt Thursday-tough in a few spots. The theme was easy enough, though...as were the theme answers. But did anyone else think it seemed like an Easter theme?
Hidden in the puzzle (and revealed at 36-, 38- and 40-Across)...are a HALF / DOZEN / EGGS.
17A: Fraternity parties (keggers). The only theme answer that didn't come easily to me. I could only think of toga parties...because of Animal House, not personal recollection.
18A: Ankle-to-waist wear (legging). When I got this one...one of several gimmes...I noticed the three G's. Thought that was just a coincidence at the time.
19A: Harpist's progression (arpeggio). Again, my piano lessons have proven to be valuable in solving crossword puzzles.
55A: 1957 Buddy Holly hit (Peggy Sue). By this time, I'd caught on. This one would have been a gimme anyway.
57A: Extreme poverty (beggary). I've worked with this population for five years, and I've never heard that expression. It was easy enough to guess. The cross at 46D: Hungarian (Magyar) was one of the Thursday-tough answers that I didn't know.
59A: "Eat your __!" (mom's order) (veggies). I don't think my mother ever said that, and I'm sure I didn't. We had to taste everything, but nothing was forced. I grew up trying everything...and disliking very few foods. I even like Brussels sprouts and liver.
A few favorites:
1A: Choice of colors (palette)...a gimme on 1A is always nice.
16A: Native New Yorkers (Oneidas).
22A: Pancho and the Cisco Kid, e.g. (amigos).
33A: 1960s-'80s Red Sox great, informally (Yaz). Now this is real sports knowledge...and I know all about him. I did have to check the spelling of his last name, though, to be sure I had it right. I learned about Carl Yastrzemski from the same friend who got me doing the New York Times puzzles in the 70s. Here he is in his younger days. I can't believe he's almost 70 now.
47A: Yemen's capital (Sana'a). This isn't the first time we've had this, but I still needed a couple of crosses.
51A: Coolest, in rap slang (illest). I'm proud to say that I know zero about rap.
63A: Tropical woe (malaria). It's not every day you see malaria in a puzzle. JimH can probably tell you how many times. Those computer guys can do everything.
64A: Fighting words (en garde)...not its first appearance.
8D: "The Wizard of Oz" scarecrow portrayer (Bolger). I had to think for a few minutes on this one. Bert Lahr appears quite often, but this may be a first.
10D: Irish exclamation (begorra). Why did I think that had an H at the end?
31D: Summation signs (sigmas).
42D: Castle fortification (rampart).
47D: Nancy's pal, in the comics (Sluggo).
48D: Sour brew (alegar). Another one I remember from past puzzles.
54D: Wrinkly fruit (ugli). I've commented on this in the past and posted this picture at least once. It's too cute...or so ugly (ugli) that it's cute.
If I counted correctly, G appeared 19 times in the grid...seven of them as doubles. I like seeing Yaz above dozen...each sharing a Z with 20D: Turning gray (grizzling). Thank heavens for my Thursday appointment with Rob...or I'd be doing that!
Some of the answers that eluded me:
8A: Charlotte hoopsters (Bobcats)...got it from crosses.
44A: Global financial org. (IMF). Fortunately, all of its crosses were doable...including 30D: Driver (engine) and 35D: Comparable to a pig (as fat).
1D: Nuclear power since 1998: Abbr. (Pak). I was going somewhere else with that one.
6D: Univ. of Maryland athletes (Terps). What am I missing? Okay...it's short for the Terrapins. Never heard of them.
46D: Hungarian (Magyar). I already said this...but it bears repeating.
52D: Some mil. defenses (ABMs). Anti ballistic missiles, I guess.
58D: Gangbanger's gun (gat). I know even less about guns than I do about sports...or rap. And that's just fine with me.
Because I had the acrosses in the northeast, I didn't see the clue for 12D: "__, I do believe I failed you" (opening of a 1998 hit) (Adia). When I read it, though, I didn't think I knew the song. I checked it out and discovered it was a song I liked...I just hadn't paid attention to the lyrics. Here's Sarah McLachlan singing it. What a beautiful voice.
That's it for tonight. Here's the (100% accurate, I think) grid...
...and I'll see you tomorrow.