Last night I posted an "Out Sick" notice. This morning...since I'm staying home...I decided to do the puzzle. And I LOVED it!
Pamela Amick Klawitter isn't a name I recognize, but Google tells me that she's Dr. Pamela Amick Klawitter, she's written books, and she's had other crossword puzzles published...none that I recall having seen.
The theme was revealed at 57A: Poker cry...or an apt title for this puzzle (I'm in). The four theme answers are in-the-language phrases, each with IM added somewhere in it, then clued in clever...and at least two very amusing...ways.
20A: "American Idol" judge who wastes money? (Prodigal Simon). While I've never seen the show, even I know that Simon Crowell is one of the judges...so that part was easy to fill in.
27A: Nodding picture? (Image of consent). This kept bringing to mind "The Picture of Dorian Gray" by Oscar Wilde. I think that means I should read it again. If you haven't, you can read a bit about it here.
43A: Geologist? (sedimentary job). This was one so good...it was such an accurate description of the job. I have several friends who are geologists, and I hope I remember to share this with them.
51A: Moment after a bad pun? (grimace period). Don't we all have those on a regular basis while doing crossword puzzles? This was definitely my favorite.
I didn't find this all that difficult for a Thursday puzzle, but there were a few unfamiliar words. Fortunately, they were gettable from crosses.
6A: Country addresses, for short (RFDs)...as in Mayberry. The F was the last square to fall for me. I had RRDs, thinking rural route deliveries. I don't have a clue what the F stands for...I'm sure someone knows and will share.
17A: Twig broom (besom). That's one of those words that I've never heard...and a minute later I think I have. Weird.
44D: Heath plants (Ericas). It didn't help that I read the clue as health plants.
I was proud to get 6D: Late-inning pitching, maybe (relief)...a sports clue, and you all know that's one of my weak areas.
Wasn't sure about 41D: Home of Galileo Galilei International Airport (Pisa) until I got 52D: Farewell in 41-Down (ciao). I'd had enough of those letters to guess that...then the P (from 41-A Prefix with norma [para]) made it easy to guess the rest of it.
I liked the connected cluing at 30D: Primary figure (one) and 50A: Spanish 30-Down (uno).
And I loved the cross of two very classic (and classy) actresses...18A: Turner of "Somewhere I'll Find You," 1942 (Lana) and 8D: Actress Merrill of "Desk Set" (Dina). Bonus points if you can identify all four actresses in this photo from "Desk Set" without Googling. I confess that I don't know the one on the far left.
Favorite clues and/or answers include 33A: Obligation (onus), 35A: George who once led the C.I.A. (Tenet), 48A: D'__ (according to: Fr.) (apres), 49A: Jon Stewart asset (wit), 63A: Fraternity letter (Theta), 66A: "Lazy" one (Susan), 4D: Cause for opening a window (odor), 11D: Sci-fi figures (apemen), 12D: Didn't play (sat out)...the only multiword nontheme answer, 23D: Reprehensible (vile), 29D: First name in late-night (Conan), 35D: Mary Tyler Moore headwear (tam), 40D: Animal that howls (lobo)...Dooley and Barnabas also like to howl, 46D: "Jackson" (twenty) and 48D: What nouns and verbs must do (agree)...best clue.
I also like 38D: Deems in court (adjudges)...the double double consonants make it a good word.
Of course I'd be remiss if I didn't point out 55D: Home of Pearl City (Oahu)...but I don't have any new pictures of Oahu to show you. Just this same old one...at the top of Diamond Head. It's one of only a few pictures we took on Oahu. Mostly we slept off the time difference.
Here's the grid...
...and I'll see you tomorrow.