According to cruciverb.com, Stephen Edward Anderson had his first New York Times puzzle published on Thursday, March 20, 2008. He didn't come up in a search of my blog., though...I guess that was during my short-lived sabbatical.
I found this pretty tough for a Wednesday...maybe it's just that I'm tired. It will be interesting to hear what others have to say.
A quick diversion before I go on with the puzzle. Since I posted an email address in the sidebar earlier in the week, several readers have chosen that option over posting a comment. It's always nice to hear from you...however it happens...but other readers can only interact with you via the comments section. You can be as anonymous as you'd like to be with your comments...no one knows who you are, including me. If you'd like to be a little less anonymous, you can post anonymously but include your first name.
On to the puzzle...
Nice work on Stephen's part. Good long answers and several multiword, along with some not-often-seen fill.
The long answers...17A: Mercury (quick silver), 60A: Easily set off, as a temper (hair trigger), 11D: #1 on the Hot 100 (chart topper) and 25D: Discoverer of stars? (talent scout). [Update: Oh, hello! Those are also theme answers. Look at the last word of each...a famous TV western horse is lurking.]
Multiword answers include 21A: Where to spend time with moguls? (ski run), 23A: What French fries are fried in (hot oil), 29A: All riled up (in a stir)...I had in a snit for a while, 31A: Working the desk, say (on duty), 38A: Ate, but not much (had a bit), 5D: Try to get by through bluffing (fake it), 9D: Strands after a blizzard (ices in), 46D: Nice enough fellow (okay guy)...who would want to be described that way...and 50D: "I ain't buyin it!" (no dice).
If I'm not mistaken, the two-part answer [30D: With 27-Down, western cry] (ride 'em / cowboy) was in a puzzle not that long ago.
I'll bet that many of you got sidetracked by one of my favorite answers...1A: Low pitch symbol (F clef). I know I did. I was tickled to remember 2D: Premier __ (wine designation) (cru) from a recent puzzle...and I was sure that 1D: Help page rubric was FAQ...so I was pretty sure I had a wrong answer. What could possibly start with FCL?
Other favorites include 47A: Part of the Kazakhstan landscape (steppe), 49A: Neil Simon's "Lost in __" (Yonkers), 55A: And so on and so forth (etc etc), 66A: "I'm so bored" feeling (ennui), 12D: Prognostication (augury) and 51D: It has a test of brightness (Mensa).
How many of you recognized 44D: "La Belle et la __" (Bête ) as Beauty and the Beast? Here it is in French.
Favorite clues...6A: Prepare for a physical exam (strip), 8D: Gun in the garage? (rev)...and the very best...47D: Soap alternative (sitcom).
It looks as though Obama is still in the running. Here it is...almost the end of April...and we don't yet know who the Democratic candidate will be. Has this happened in my lifetime? I'm thinkin' it hasn't.
Here's the grid...
...and I'll see you tomorrow.