I haven't struggled this much with a Sunday puzzle in months. It figures...the puzzles this week have been brutal.
It took me forever to understand the theme...and until just this minute to figure out the meaning of two of them.
23A: Tax break for Gumby? (clay man exemption)...claim an exemption. That's one that I just now understood.
35A: Blessing for a shipboard romance? (sea love approval)...seal of approval.
56A: Perhaps doesn't believe witty Rogers? (may doubt a Will)...made out a will. That's the other one.
76A: End-game maneuvers? (key pawn moving)...keep on moving.
92A: Excavate in the white cliffs? (mine Dover matter)...mind over matter.
110A: Drab Oriental fabric? (gray toile of China)...Great Wall of China.
16D: Sketch sewing-kit stores? (draw pin centers). Is that supposed to be drop in centers?
46D: Clown's parade memoir? (my laughter mile)...mile after mile. The last theme answer that I filled in.
I didn't have nearly the gimmes that I usually have on a Sunday...20A: Eastern seaboard rte. (U.S. One), and the related 112D: 20-Across terminus: Abbr. (Fla.), 26A: Publication read by drs. (JAMA), 119A: Plant swelling (edema)...I remembered this from a puzzle many months ago, 15D: Say "hallelujah!" (rejoice), 74D: Breath: Prefix (pneumo), 76D: 1990-'91 war site (Kuwait), 96D: "L'chaim!" (to life), 98D: Little stinger (red ant) and 100D: Steakhouse shunner (vegan)...actually, a vegan shuns more than just meat, but I knew where they were going.
Favorite answers in the grid include 10A: "A __, petal and a thorn" (Emily Dickinson poem) (sepal), 18A: 1969 self-titled jazz album (Ella), 43A: Architect those epitaph says "Reader, if you seek his monument, look around you" (Wren)...another answer I know from doing crossword puzzles, 47A: World's longest wooden roller coaster, at Kings Island (The Beast)...I don't do roller coasters, 65A: Tribe originally from the Deep South (Choctaw), 83A: Zero interest (no desire), 104A: 1910s-'20s Dutch art movement (Destijl)...have never heard of it, but what a great word, 3D: Minor league baseball category (Class A), 8D: What people are saying, briefly (vox pop), 32D: Personification (avatar), 45D: Crooked (illegit), 86D: "The House of the Spirits" author, 1982 (Allende) and 106D: Leap on a stage (jeté)...I don't do that either.
I had a tough time with 99A: "A Little Bitty Tear" singer, 1962...I had the first letter (B), as well as the V from vegan. That led me to think that perhaps Bobby Vee had done it. Wrong...Burl Ives. No real similarities between those two.
Don just got home, so I'm going to wrap this up. I'm sure I'm not the only one who struggled with this one, and I'd love to hear what you loved...or didn't.
[Update: Thanks, Bill, for pointing out a wrong answer that led to a wrong crossing. 21A: Greek discord goddess (Eris)...why do I always put in Eros, when I know that's not right...crossing with 17D: British fruitcake (simnel). Who knew?]
Here's the (incorrect) grid...
...and I'll see you tomorrow.