Before I forget...again...I'd like to introduce two new additions to the sidebar. Some of you have already met Ryan and Brian...two very funny guys writing about their struggles and successes with the New York Times and other crossword puzzles. They've recently done a podcast...be sure to check that out.
The other blog...under Crossword Fans But Not Crossword Blogs...is The View From My Window. Reader and frequent commenter Annielee offers "Random musings in words, pictures, and color. Just for fun." I hope you'll visit her often and encourage her to continue with Annie's 365.
After a week of butt-kicking puzzles, it was nice to see Monday again. There was one clue that totally stumped me, and the cross wasn't much help. More about that after the theme...revealed at 40A: Takes care of all possibilities (covers every base). The other four theme answers are:
17A: Bess Truman or Barbara Bush (First Lady).
25A: Question after the fact (second-guess).
52A: Grilling (third degree). Elaine recently brought a young man home for dinner. Poor Jesse got a bit of the third degree, but he took it quite well. I've made it clear to Elaine that there will be no talk of marriage for a very, very, very long time.
65A: 1990 Macaulay Culkin film (Home Alone). I wonder if anyone had skipped the long answer...so had this one starting with fourth before even reading the clue.
On to my area of struggle...I've never heard of 8D: Brother comic Shawn or Marlon (Wayans), and I didn't understand the clue for 21A: Enclosure with a MS. (SASE). Okay, I get SASE, but I'm clueless about the MS. part of the clue. I finally figured out that 22D: Star Wars program, for short was SDI...Strategic Defense Initiative...and then guessed that SASE was the correct answer. The Applet accepted my solution, but that doesn't help me get it.
Favorite answers in the puzzle include 5A: Stick in one's __ (craw), 9A: Frank of the Mothers of Invention (Zappa)...I'll spare you the toilet shot, 32A: "God's Little __" (Erskine Caldwell best seller)(Acre)...I remember my mother reading it years ago, 44A: Pan-cooked brunch treat (crepe), 61A: French city famous for its mustard (Dijon), 3D: Put aside for later (in reserve), 9D: "Riders of the Purple Sage" author (Zane Grey), 37D: Play by George Bernard Shaw (Saint Joan), 41D: Relatively low-temperature star (red dwarf), 42D: German river in a 1943 R.A.F. raid (Eder), 49D: Opposite of "At ease!" (Ten hut), and 54D: Ballroom dancer Castle (Irene)...here she is with her husband and dance partner, Vernon Castle.
Favorite clues...29A: Car bomb? (Edsel)...poor Edsel gets no respect, 59A: Crew's control? (oar), 70A: Compete in the America's Cup (sail), 28D: Fit to be tried? (usable), 52D: "Animal House" party costumes (togas) and 62D: She requested "As Time Goes By" (Ilsa)...a different clue for a change.
The Applet wouldn't take my solution for the longest time...I finally found the error. I had misread the clue for 69A...thought it said B.Y.U., rather than B.T.U. Needed Unit rather than Univ. Since Eva is also a word, I didn't pay attention to the fact that it didn't work with the clue for 67D [When a plane is due in: Abbr.] (ETA).
That's it for tonight. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for Tuesday...I don't think I could handle another week of puzzles like that.
Here's the grid...
...and I'll see you tomorrow.