A quick run through my mini-database shows that this is Brad Wilber's fifth puzzle since I started blogging...and every one of them has been a Saturday puzzle.
Last night should have been date night, but Don and I were both exhausted. I managed to solve the puzzle...with a little help from Google...before crashing at ten. This morning I'm celebrating my longtime friend's 50th birthday with a day at the spa...we'll both get a manicure, pedicure and facial. It's tough, I know...but I'd do just about anything for TOL (The Other Linda).
I thought it was a good sign that I had a nine-letter gimme on the first clue I read...1D: Techie's drawing (schematic). I expect fellow blogger/techie JimH to get that easily, but I was delighted that I did.
Unfortunately, it didn't turn out to be much of a sign. Brad's now-famous stacks in the corners were pretty challenging...I managed to get a few of them with only a few letters in place, but most of them were a struggle.
Along with schematic, in the northwest...2D: Cell's lack (phone line) and 3D: Indicators of intelligence? (code names). Both were problematic...I was thinking of a plant cell and wanted something beginning with photo.
The northeast...5A: Play for which Julie Harris won the 1952 Tony for Best Actress (I am a Camera), 16A: Title housewife in an Oscar-winning film (Mrs. Miniver)...I got that with only the S in place, and 18A: Something damned with faint praise, in British lingo (curate's egg). I hope someone can explain that...I think I've parsed it correctly.
The southwest...51A: Like King Kong in New York City (on a rampage)...like the clue, 56A: Its currency unit is the ariary (Madagascar), and 58A: O. Henry specialty (plot twists). I had the O and foolishly thought it was something as simple as short story.
And in the southeast...31D: Some airplane runners (tailskids), 32D: Douglas is its capital (Isle of Man)...it helps that I know all the US capitals and could rule that out immediately. I managed to get that with the I and A. The best clue in the puzzle is at 33D: High-occupancy vehicles? (clown cars).
Two very nice expressions in the center of the puzzle...30A: Rhapsodize (wax poetic) was easy to get because of 24D: Replacer of the Humble brand in the early 1970s (Exxon), and 37A: Song title followed by the lyric "Lovers say that in France" (C'est si bon). I have no clue what that means, but I'm sure someone out there does and will share.
40A: Gunsmith Remington (Philo).
43A: Cousin of the sandpiper (curlew).
44A: Titular author of two books of the Bible (St. Peter). I used to be fooled by answers that began with a title...no more. Well, not today.
47A: Swedish soprano noted for her Wagnerian roles (Nilsson).
11D: "Lose" at the office (misfile)...love the clue.
12D: Winner of six U.S. Opens (Evert)...tennis this time, not golf.
30D: Max who wrote "Politics as a Vocation" (Weber)...a few things from Sociology have stuck with me.
46D: Home of "The Garden of Earthly Delights" (Prado).
KFC appeared as an answer again today...at 50A, clued as [Crispy Twister sandwich offerer]. I loved yesterday's clue...[Its logo is a goateed man in an apron].
47A: Time of Ta'anit Esther (Adar)...if it's a four-letter Hebrew month they want, I'm guessing Adar every time.
The award for today's [Married woman abroad] goes to Germany...frau appears at 21A.
There were a few unfamiliar answers...or I've heard the word but didn't recall its meaning. 17A: Burdens on some shoulders (hods), 27A: Old-style call to arms (alarum), 6D: Green dragon and skunk cabbage (arums) and 40D: Whimper (pule). That's skunk cabbage at Mount Rainier...prettier than it sounds.
Better wrap this up...time's getting short.
Here's the grid...
...and I'll see you tomorrow.