It's always nice to see Lynn Lempel's name on a byline. Her puzzles are always fun, with a better-than-average share of fresh fill. In addition to today's puzzle, Lynn also has the syndicated puzzle for today.
The theme is political positions...all far from the right...and the theme answers are:
17A: Free health and dental care, and then some (liberal benefits).
25A: Math symbol for extraction of a root (radical sign).
45A: In limbo (left hanging).
57A: Eyeglass option for different distances (progressive lens).
The nontheme multiword answers are 1A: Bounce to the surface (bob up), 34A: Entree in a bowl with beef or lamb, say (meat stew), 39A: "Hey, come back a bit" (not so far), 42A: Enter en masse (pour in), 42D: Home viewing for a price (pay TV) and 43D: Subscription period, often (one year)...I liked them all.
I guess I should have watched more of the Star Wars movies. I didn't know 23A: Luke's twin sister in "Star Wars" (Leia)...the letters were playing out that way, and Elaine confirmed it. I can't help but wonder why no one told me once it was discovered...that was big news, even for (especially for?) those of us who only saw the first movie. Look how much in love they were!
I'm still in shock, but I have to get on with this post.
16A: Present opener? (omni)...a gimme.
44A: Peppermint __ of "Peanuts" (Patty). I always liked her...and the candy that bears her name is also a favorite. This was Peppermint Patty's debut in the comic strip.
1D: Pitcher's faux pitch (balk).
3D: One often needing a change (baby).
6D: Pertaining to a son or daughter (filial). I realize it comes from the Latin filialis (of a son or daughter), but it almost sounds as though it should pertain to a young female horse.
46D: Loathing (hating). I like the word, although it reminds me of "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas." I tried to read it and got physically sick in the first couple of pages...felt like I was on a really bad trip. I had never had that experience with a book before...or since.
Favorite answers in the grid include 6A: Botch (flub), 14A: Belittle (abase), 22A: Limerick or sonnet (verse), 33A: Warnings (alerts), 47A: Wood-shaping tool (adz), crossing with a fun three-letter word at 41D: Turk's topper (fez), 60A: Early state in the presidential campaign (Iowa), 10D: Errand runner (gofer), 27D: God or goddess (deity), 31D: His tomb is in Red Square (Lenin), 32D: Banjo sound (twang) amd 47D: Aquatic plant life (algae).
The next three days will be crazy at work with our annual fundraiser. I hope I still have a brain tomorrow night.
Here's the grid...
...and I'll see you tomorrow.