My all-time favorite constructor, Mike Nothnagel, has teamed up with David Quarfoot for this Friday's killer puzzle. I was so exhausted after solving it that I needed a power nap before I could tackle the blog.
I would never have finished this without a lot of help from Dogpile...for answers such as:
45A: Boulogne-sur-__, France (Mer). That looks like French for bologna of the sea...
4D: Poet who won a Pulitzer for "The Dust Which Is God" (Benét).
8D: Kinkajou's kin: Var. (racoons). Variation or not, that just looks wrong. But is that not the sweetest little face?
9D: 1883 Maupassant novel (Une Vie)..."A Woman's Life."
32D: "Underboss" author Peter (Maas).
33D: Smythe of hockey (Conn).
47D: Papa Bear of the N.F.L. (Halas).
With only a handful of gimmes, I was definitely not on the combined wavelength tonight.
41A: Some are manicured (lawns).
46A: Response of feigned innocence (who me).
55A: __-Mints (Rolands rival) (Alka).
56A: Singer of the 1967 hit "California Nights" (Lesley Gore). She was best known for "It's My Party," but "You Don't Own Me" was my favorite of her songs. My sister's senior portrait looked a lot like this shot of Lesley Gore...it was probably the flip more than anything else. [Update: This is too eerie. Before she had even downloaded this puzzle, Wendy blogged about Lesley Gore AND "You Don't Own Me." Have you ever thought that Wendy and Mike Nothnagel might be same person? And that Linda G is another alter ego?]
3D: Where I-25 and I-70 meet (Denver). If I hadn't made that trip at least 100 times, I wouldn't have known it.
6D: Shortening in the kitchen? (tbsp)...although I thought about lard briefly.
37D: It's out for a pout (lower lip)...not exactly a gimme, but I got it with only the W in place from lawns.
There were some exceptionally good multiword answers...not Google-able but fairly easy to flesh out.
1A: Awfully accurate? (sad but true).
15A: Salade niçoise ingredients (green beans). I could only think of potatoes and tuna, so that one took a little longer to fall into place.
17A: Providers of exceptional service? (tennis aces).
34A: Where to find pop art? (soda can).
38A: Start of some how-to titles (The Art). All I could think of were all of the books for dummies...but those share the same ending.
40A: Childish comeback (are so). We haven't had a playground retort in a while, so I didn't mind seeing one tonight.
59A: Subject of the 2004 book "Dancing Revelations" (Alvin Ailey).
61A: Outdoor toy that attaches to a garden hose (Slip N Slide).
7D: Level (tear down).
12D: Bit of kitchen wear (oven mitt). My hand won't work in one of those...maybe it's just too small. It's two potholders for me.
13D: Execute exactly (do to a tee).
14D: Over, with "of" (in excess). It took me forever to understand the clue, then even longer to get the answer. The cross at 21A: Presidential middle name (Knox) made good use of the X. I'll bet someone out there can tell us which President.
34D: Cause of colonial unrest (Stamp Act).
35D: "You don't say!" (oh really).
As tough as this puzzle was, there were so many things I loved about it. In addition to the plethora of multiword answers, there was an abundance of some of my favorite letters...K, V and X.
And I just noticed that it's almost 11:30, so I'd better call it a night. Here's the grid...
...and I'll see you tomorrow.