It's always a treat to see Karen Tracey's name on the byline. I know it will be a challenging puzzle...but a supremely enjoyable one. Her long answers (and most of the fill, for that matter) are exceptional...her cluing often on the edge.
I'm willing to bet that some of my favorite answers are making their debut in a New York Times puzzle.
14A: Suspensions (moratoria). My first strike was putting in an S for the plural.
17A: Antarctic environmental concern (ozone hole).
22A: It's hit with a pinky (enter key)...I especially love the clue.
36A: Preferred seating, for many (exit row)...not my choice.
39A: Decongestant brand (Sinex). Always good to have X in the puzzle...twice in this one. That makes me 36D: More than happy (exultant).
43A: Source of some big waves (seaquakes). I don't recall having heard the term, but it was easy enough to guess. The Q helped me get 40D: It's just north of Nauru (equator).
48A: Gulf states (Emirates).
53A: Kept charging shots, say (ran a tab).
55A: Back together, for now (on again). The clue is almost comical...I wonder if it struck anyone else that way. We've all known those relationships...either our own or someone else's.
57A: Indie rock band whose name is Spanish for "I have it" (Yo La Tengo). I have no knowledge of the band, but I knew enough Spanish to guess Yo Lo Tengo. When I got 37D: Stock (ordinary)...one of her edgier clues...I changed it to La.
60A: Bump in the road? (rear ender). I know that's appeared as an answer before, but the clue was so good...delightfully deceptive.
63A: Spare in a boot (tyre). Again, this has appeared in a puzzle before...the only reason I got it. I just love British expressions and spellings.
4D: Citrus tree (tangelo).
5D: 16th-century founder of Scottish Presbyterianism (John Knox). I always enjoy seeing both first and last names in an answer.
9D: Bit of securing hardware (set screw).
11D: 1980s TV s how or 2006 film (Miami Vice).
12D: In the raw (bare naked)...like the Ladies.
23D: Classic game with 13 categories (Yahtzee). I can't for the life of me remember that it had categories. All I recall is rolling dice from a cup. But what a great word...I didn't appreciate it enough at the time I was playing the game.
30D: Work on it began in Rome in 1817 (Erie Canal). Again, one of the edgy clues...was that Karen or Will? Raise your hand if you immediately thought of Italy rather than New York.
31D: Hebrew or Phoenician (Canaanite). Of course, I thought I had something wrong when I saw AA. I was sure about 47A: Stop up, in a way (caulk), so I hung in there. Funny (although not at the time) caulk story...Don loves the stuff, and any space lurking in our house is in danger when he has a caulk gun in hand. Leslie took note of this. On a sunny day, maybe in early April, I went to get my spring clothes out of the closet in the garage...but I couldn't get the door to open. It didn't have a doorknob at the time...just a hole...so I knew it wasn't locked. When things like that happened in the house, we immediately thought of Leslie...the ever curious child. She calmly told me she had caulked it. We all laugh now about some of the things she did...and we're all thankful that her curiosity only involved inanimate objects.
There were a few names in the puzzle...some of them unknown...but I was able to get them from crosses.
5A: Painter Fouquet (Jean).
19A: Family in 1980s news (Reagans).
25A: Nixon adviser Nofziger (Lyn). I counted three Republican clues/answers in this puzzle...the third at 32A: Nixon creation of 1970: Abbr. (OSHA).
34A: "The Cosby Show" actress Alexander (Erika).
35A: Rudy's coach in the 1993 football film "Rudy" (Ara)...Parseghian, I'm sure. Didn't see the movie.
45A: John __ (Doe). We all know him...and his wife, Jane.
56A: "The Red Tent" author Diamant (Anita). I bought the book years ago and it still sits unread on the shelf. Maybe some day.
54D: Longtime West Virginia senator (Byrd).
Other good clues...26A: Blessing (approval), 42A: Oenological category (reds), 59A: Finger (rat on), 61A: Not nodding (alert), 1D: Venetian balladeer's topic (amore), 3D: Dalmatian, e.g. (Croat), 10D: One whose idea may be taking off (aviator), 21D: "Israfel" writer's monogram (EAP)...Edgar Allen Poe, 33D: Really warped (sick), 44D: Booking letters (a/k/a), 49D: Meat grinder (molar) and 51D: Peak southeast of Bern (Eiger).
There's probably more to say about this one, but I'll leave that to the rest of you...via the Comments section.
I stayed home from work yesterday so I could keep taking my wonderful cough syrup with codeine. I managed to do the puzzle last night on a half dose, but I didn't think I could pull off posting...so took the other half and went to bed. It's so nice to sleep at night...something I hadn't done for more than a week. I have a few errands to run today, so that means no more cough syrup until bedtime.
Elaine came for a short visit yesterday and brought me a dozen white roses. They are just beautiful...and she was just beaming when she gave them to me. If all goes well, Leslie and Candy will be here tomorrow. Either way, Don will cook dinner or take me out. Any bets?
Here's the grid...
...and I'll see you tomorrow.