Ken Bessette...another name I don't recognize. You can be sure that JimH will tell us if this is a crossword debut. I haven't a clue how Jim organizes all the data, but I'm glad that someone can...and does. It always makes for interesting reading. Check out his blog if you haven't already. He claims to be too lazy to blog the puzzle, but I'll bet he spends as much time as the rest of us doing what he does. By the way, Jim made it to the puzzle again...for the second time in the last few days. Today he's at 59D, clued as [Huck's raftmate].
The theme is revealed at 59A: Want ad heading...or a hint to the starts of 17-, 25-, 38- and 49-Across (job opening). In typical Monday fashion, the first word of each theme answer can precede the word job.
17A: Snoop (nose around).
25A: Felix and Oscar, with "the" (odd couple).
38A: Carouse (paint the town red). I never thought of those two as synonomous...I just looked up paint the town red in my dictionary, and it says carouse. That's what I get for thinking.
49A: Symbol of purity (Snow White). I'm not sure if they mean the character, or if snow white is just a description. I'm going with the character because I like this picture.
Although I never time myself, I didn't breeze through this as quickly as I normally do on a Monday puzzle. I was trying to get dinner together as I worked it...maybe that's why.
It's not a good sign when I struggle with 1A...and I did tonight. [Black-bordered news item] meant absolutely nothing to me, so I checked at 1D: To have and to hold. I wrote in wed, which really gave me nothing for 1A...because it was wrong. Own, not wed...making the news item an obit. Geez.
That was minor compared to what happened in the southeast corner.
My first error was at 47A: Judicial assertion. I had decree, rather than the correct dictum. When I got to 36D: __-Lay (snack company) (Frito), I knew something was amiss.
54A: Figure of speech (trope) was a new one on me. I began to second-guess 40D: Squirm (writhe), thinking that the T was wrong...but I grew up on Wild Kingdom, so I was 100% sure about 56A: Mutual of __ (Omaha).
If I've seen March Madness in the puzzle once, I've seen it a dozen times. Then why did I go blank when I encountered 66A: March Madness org. (NCAA). Why does it always conjure up the image of a giant White Sale in March?
69A: Safecracker (yegg) has shown up before...and it tripped me up yet again.
I ended up getting all of it, though, because I finally guessed at 48D: Crevice (cranny). I wanted chasm...even if it meant giving it a second S.
Clues and answers I liked:
5A: Anne of "Wag the Dog" (Heche).
15A: Fanfare (eclat).
22A: Wet mascara worry (smear).
28A: Bathroom powder (talcum).
32A: 1980s video game with a maze (Pac-Man).
43A: Boxed stringed instrument (zither), crossing at its Z with 29D: Passover bread (matzoh).
12D: "__ Love," 1957 #1 hit by 13-Down (April)...by Pat Boone. My sister went out with his cousin one year when we were vacationing in North Carolina. He may not really have been his cousin, but there was definitely a similarity. Jeff (I think that was his name) was a more rugged-looking version of Pat Boone...well worth swooning over.
18D: Brusque (abrupt).
21D: The Blue Jays, on a scoreboard (Tor.). I'm including this as a favorite because I knew it. I met Barry Bonnell when he played for the Seattle Mariners, but he had played for the Blue Jays before that. He had gone to high school with a friend of ours. We went to a couple of his games, but I never even thought to get his autograph. Silly me.
24D: Pitcher of milk? (Elsie). Too funny...I just saw that clue for the first time.
That's it for tonight. Here's the grid...
...and I'll see you tomorrow.