OOPS! is right. I don't know about the rest of you, but I had a tough time spelling all of the theme answers incorrectly. And I'm willing to bet this will be a tough post to write. I may end up spelling them correctly...that is, wrong.
Oliver Hill is one of the young crossword wonders...and also Will's neighbor. This is his third New York Times puzzle...and I believe his second Sunday. This young man definitely has a future in this business...probably another one as well.
The theme is revealed at 65A: Like the answers to the 10 asterisked clues, more often than any other English words, according to a 1999 study (improperly spelled).
26A: * Long, long time (millenium).
32A: * Stick with a needle, maybe (innoculate).
34A: * Absence at a nudist colony? (embarassment).
44A: * Bugs (harrasses).
51A: * Wee (miniscule). This one looks the most right...in fact, I had to look it up to see that it's minuscule. That looks as wrong.
82A: * Conspicuous (noticable).
87A: * Supplant (supercede).
94A: * Doggedness (perseverence).
97A: * Oblige (accomodate).
107A: * Event (occurence).
Just as I suspected...I wanted to spell them correctly.
Steppe reappears in the grid...just four days after its last appearance. Today it's at 122A, clued as [Plain]. On Wednesday, it was [Part of the Kazakhstan landscape].
Favorite answers in the puzzle include:
14A: Casual attire (Levis). I had jeans at first...because I wanted the cross at 16D [It's bowed] to be arrow, rather than the correct viola. That answer always makes me think of Ultra Vi, a frequent past visitor...at Madness and other crossword blogs. It really stinks when real life has to take precedence over reading blogs.
23A: Turn away (alienate). I was hung up in that corner and had to walk away for an hour before I began to see the light. 1D: Symbol of happiness (clam) finally revealed itself, and that began to open things up.
42A: Stuck (in a jam).
50A: Jazzy Jones (Norah).
55A: X-ray __ (Spex). That was the last answer to fall...that is, the S was the last letter I filled in. Don confirmed it...but denied having ordered a pair. While Googling for a picture, I discovered a group by the same name...haven't a clue who they are or what they've done.
58A: Whatchamacallit (gizmo). Love the clue...love the answer.
71A: __ choy (Chinese vegetable) (bok). After our morning at the spa, TOL and I went to the new Mongolian grill in town...it was the best! I have finally learned how to fill the bowl to overflowing so that it cooks down to a reasonable amount of food. Bok choy was only one of the many vegetables I piled in. I'll be going back there soon...and often.
77A: Spicy cuisine (Thai). They also have a separate Thai menu...that will have to wait for another time.
113A: Root used in perfumery (orris). I had no idea that was an iris. That's odd...because when I pick irises and bring them into the house, they smell kind of rotten.
117A: Attempts (has a go at). I love it because it's four words...and because I kept seeing it as has a goat.
120A: Like some pens (erasable). Doesn't that look like it should be a misspelled answer?
2D: Long-haired sheepdog (Puli). I can't believe this is really what they look like. I'm in no way advocating cruelty to animals, but this guy looks like a moving dustmop. Some of the pictures I found were of stuffed animals, but I think this one is real. At least, the tongue looks real.
14D: 1950s Braves All-Star pitcher Burdette (Lew). This is the other corner that caused a few problems...mostly because of the aforementioned jeans/Levis dilemma, but also because I didn't know this guy.
18D: Cubic meter (stere). This word was a complete unknown to me. I just checked in the dictionary...that's the definition...verbatim.
34D: Karl Marx's one (eins). How clever is that!
37D: Product with TV's first advertising jingle, 1948 (Ajax)...in the United States anyway. According to Wikipedia it was "You'll stop paying the elbow tax, when you start cleaning with Ajax." I guess that was considered pretty catchy at the time.
51D: Orator's no-no (monotone).
85D: __ profundo (basso).
88D: Rare imports, maybe (exotica).
112D: Somme times (etes). I have finally caught on to this one.
Last night's date night was rescheduled...and will now be Sunday brunch. There's a fairly new (three years or less) golf course in town, and I just heard they have the best Sunday brunch, so we're going to try it out. The food sounded good...but what sold me was that they don't just include champagne with brunch. I do love a good Bloody Mary, and I haven't had one in years.
That's it for this one. Here's the grid...
...and I'll see you tomorrow.