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Jun 30, 2016

Thursday, June 30th 2016 Julian Lim

Theme:

17A. Imbibing no more : ON THE WAGON. Not me - see below.

23A. Tropical quencher : COCONUT WATER. "Coconut" came quickly. "Water" took forever. My quenchers in the tropics tend to have something a tad stronger than water in them.

38A. "The Deer Hunter" ordeal : RUSSIAN ROULETTE. Great movie. I remember clearly when I first saw it in the theater in London. Here's the theme "Cavatina" played on a spanish guitar by the immensely talented John Williams.

50A. Restaurant mascot with an electric guitar : CHUCK E. CHEESE. Thank heavens I never have to go to these places anymore. The child decibel level is quite staggering. No wonder Mr. Cheese needs amplification.

And the unifier:

61A. Based on the ends of 17-, 23-, 38- and 50-Across, unwanted thing that this puzzle lacks : FIFTH WHEEL. Four kinds of wheels, and we don't get a fifth variety. Neat reveal.

"Come with us, they said - it's going to be fun!"
Happy Thursday everyone.

Late Edit: It's C.C.'s birthday, so a BIG shout-out to her!

Slick puzzle from Julian - smooth themers, a couple of 9's and 10's in the downs intersecting two theme entries each and some nice fill.

It's been a funny old week from an English perspective - this time a week ago when I last blogged, the UK was committed to Europe, David Cameron was the Prime Minister, the opposition party had a shadow cabinet, England were still in the Euro soccer championships and the English team had a coach.

None of the above is now true. What's that got to do with the crossword? Nothing, but it's a sobering thought. Let's move right along.

Across:

1. Work with dough : KNEAD

6. Like long shots : SLIM. Like Iceland beating England last week. Slim to none. I called it, I really should have called the bookie before the game.

10. Commando weapons : UZIS

14. "Bates Motel" airer : A AND E

15. Third follower : HOME. I'm finally starting to recognize these. Baseball diamond, third base to home.

16. Stereotypical spoiler : NANA. Tricky one this, I was a long way down the "spoiler alert" plot-line path and getting nowhere when the crosses helped me out. Grandmothers stereotypically spoil the little brats, often by taking them to Chuck. E. Cheese and smile dotingly when they scream the place down.

19. Expression of pre-weekend gratitude : TGIF. Friday can't come soon enough, sometimes.

20. Okay : SO SO

21. Disturbance : ADO

22. Identify the source of : TRACE

27. Text digitization meth. : O.C.R. Optical Character Recognition, the way a computer scans and converts text.

30. Cut some blades : MOW. Mower blades, grass blades, very nice.

31. Singer Liz : PHAIR. I had "UNTO" for 25D at first which gave me the rather odd name NHAIR. At least it looked totally wrong so made me think about fixing it.

32. Pop quiz reaction, perhaps : GROAN. I had ___AN and decided "OH, MAN" was totally correct. And it mostly wasn't.

34. Geneva-based commerce gp. : W.T.O. World Trade Organization. As with most of these quangos and institutions, headquartered in lovely places.

35. Poet who wrote about shrimp, "At times, translucence / Is rather a nuisance" : NASH

"A shrimp who sought his lady shrimp
Could catch no glimpse
Not even a glimp.
At times, translucence
Is rather a nuisance".  

Ogden Nash.

42. Parts of an old item? : EXES. Great clue. I don't have any exes who live in Texas, at least I don't think I do.

43. Lively : GAY

44. For two, in Paris : A DEUX

45. Stocky dog : BOXER

47. "Delicious!" : MMM. YUM went in, and stuck it out tenaciously until almost the very end.

49. __ sequencing : DNA.

54. Actress O'Donnell : ROSIE.

55. Noun half? : ENS. Four letters in "noun", 50% of 'em are "n"s

56. "Red" hindrance : TAPE

60. Hazmat-monitoring org. : OSHA

64. Square __ : FEET. FOOT first, soon changed.

65. 37-Down plus two : OCTO- Those who are irritated by prefixes and cross-referential clues get a twofer annoyance here. Perfectly fine with me.

66. Buenos __ : AIRES. On my bucket list. I've not made it to Argentina yet.

67. Subdue, in a way : TASE. Quite a few missteps today - I had TAME first. I wasn't sure what a BUSHEM, horticulture is not my forté, obviously.

68. Dudes : GUYS

69. Check (out) : SCOPE       

Down:

1. "Get Smart" crime org. : KAOS. Weird logo.



2. Prefix with bot : NANO-. The scaremongers will tell you that these little buggers will soon take over the world. They're more likely to be embedded in your socks to tell your washing machine to go easy on the over-agitation or cleaning your blood.


3. Sinus docs : ENTS Ear, Nose and Throat specialists.

4. Formed for a particular purpose : AD HOC. Usually committees.

5. "E.T." actress Wallace : DEE. Thank you, crosses.

6. It grows toward evening : SHADOW.

"Reclining in my armchair,
My eyes wandered to the horizon far
And saw darkness invading the Earth
Lost, so lost in the marauding loneliness
I watched the shadows of evening
Thickening around me and spreading a pall"

Lengthening Shadows by Valsa George.

7. Prepare to surf : LOGON. Because "open browser and go to www.google.com" didn't fit.

8. Texting qualifier : IMO. IMHO, I've only ever seen the "humble" version. In my option.

9. Dudes : MEN

10. Lacking experience : UNTRAINED

11. Appraised like many big-city eateries : ZAGAT RATED. Pretty much any restaurant can put a "Zagat Rated" sticker in their window. They don't have to tell you that Zagat rated it one of the worst places in town.

12. How seafood is shipped : IN ICE. Wanted ON ICE. Wasn't allowed to have it.

13. Less dicey : SAFER

18. Texas I-35 city : WACO

22. Grounded flier since 2001 : TWA. SST went in, and eventually game out. I don't really think of TWA as grounded, more acquired as a bankrupt concern by American Airlines.

24. Present preceder? : OMNI-

25. Till : UP TO

26. You, once : THOU

27. Brute : OGRE

28. Main point : CRUX

29. Plants with stickers : ROSE BUSHES. Is a thorn a sticker? I suppose it is, never thought of it that way before.

33. Colleague : ASSOCIATE

34. Droll : WRY

36. Leave flabbergasted : STUN

37. 65-Across minus two : HEXA-

39. "The Morning Watch" novelist : AGEE

40. One may stop traffic : NARC. Very nice. Some clever cluing today.

41. Makes oneself scarce : LAMS. Aother I've never thought about - I'd never considered "lam" as a verb, more an "on the lam" noun. Perfectly good usage though.

46. Jaguar classic : XKE. Ah, the classic and now very expensive E-Type. Here's a convertible version in iconic British Racing Green. My old XJS was the same color.


47. Certs alternative : MENTOS. Thank you, crosses. I don't eat a lot of candy. I eat plenty of everything else!

48. Fit well : MESH

50. "Tomb Raider" heroine Lara : CROFT

51. Book after Daniel : HOSEA

52. Hard to hoist : HEFTY

53. Code of conduct : ETHIC

57. Flight-related prefix : AERO- I thought there might be a tad too many prefixes today, but I just went back and counted four total. Not so bad.

58. Fledgling's sound : PEEP

59. Ultimatum word : ELSE. Or else! Empty ultimatum thread sometimes. Can be disarmed with the "Or else what?" question response.

61. Magic show effect : FOG

62. Post-op place : I.C.U. Intensive Care Unit.

63. "It __ a Very Good Year" : WAS. Originally recorded by Bob Shane with The Kingston Trio. Too late in the blog for a music link though.

I think that should do it for me. Here's the grid!

Steve


Jun 29, 2016

Wednesday, June, 29, 2016 Tony Caruso and C.C. Burnikel

Title: YOU'VE GOT A FRIEND

Today we have the pleasure of seeing our Grand Dame C.C. collaborate with yet another member of our puzzling community - Tony Caruso, better known here as Anon-T. The result is a very enjoyable Wednesday exercise. This puzzle is the fourth puzzle in a row that I have blogged where showing the grid first better reveals the clever gimmick - (PTA MEETING, WACKY WORDY and WHITE CAP). Tony and C.C. employed an equally clever device, as you can see, where they have inserted the word STEP in a upward orientation in four vertical phrases which yields the REVEAL

66. Rise to the challenge ... and a hint to a hidden word in 5-, 10-, 25- and 28-Down : STEP UP


Two years ago an EF-4 tornado decimated the small town of Pilger, Nebraska and took the life of a golfing buddy of mine. Fifty Husker athletes from all sports did STEP UP, boarded a bus and helped get the town on the road to recovery. Here you see them carrying veteran's flags they recovered from the collapsed city hall building to the delight of the entire town.



Theme Fills:

5. Armstrong improvisation : TRUMPET SOLO



10. Stop on a redecorating spree : CARPET STORE - a rather famous CARPET



25. King novel set in a graveyard : PET SEMATARY - Kids in the novel misspelled the name



28. Nominally sovereign country : PUPPET STATE - The Russians came and stayed for decades



After having risen to the challenge of Tony and C.C.'s puzzle, let's examine the rest of the fill:

Across


1. Sharp as a tack : SMART


6. Fave texting pals : BFFS - So ubiquitous now, it needs no explanation 

10. "2 Broke Girls" network : CBS - I tried it for 15 minutes and couldn't discern one scintilla of wit over and above their string of double entendres, sex jokes and sarcasm

13. Chain known for fresh-baked bread : PANERA - Their Frontega Chicken Panini!



15. Count (on) : RELY - They, of course, will STEP UP for you

16. "Blessed __ the meek ... " : ARE - Blessed but sometimes taken advantage of

17. Imaginative : ARTFUL

18. Lacking scents : ODOR FREE - Now about your breath...



20. "My parents are gonna kill me!" : I' M TOAST

22. Page with views : OP-ED


23. Cough syrup meas. : TSP

26. Cowpoke's pal : PARD

27. Like the Flash : SPEEDY



29. Tennis period since 1968 : OPEN ERA - For both pros and amatuers 

31. Legendary soul seller : FAUST - We baseball/broadway fans well remember the show where Joe Boyd sold his soul to 36. Buyer of 31-Across' soul : SATAN for one great season as a Washington Senator ballplayer

32. Tag line? : NOT IT - NOT IT! Are so! Am not! Are so!...

33. Woodworking device : CLAMP

35. Fryolator sound : SSS

38. Central parts : GISTS

39. High ball : LOB - Roger Federer returns a LOB with a between-the-leg shot that smacks his opponent in the back.



40. Piece of a pansy : PETAL

42. Pub pint : ALE

43. More than a little plump : OBESE

45. Put a little extra into the part : EMOTE - Exhibit A



46. MapMyWalk statistic : MILES

48. Dilapidated place : RAT TRAP in the 12. Far from posh : SEEDY part of town

50. Vegetable container : PEAPOD - Lots of work to hand-shell a bowl full 

52. See 31-Down : EGGS and 31. With 52-Across, jeweled creations made for Russian czars : FABERGE

53. Tolkien creature : ENT

54. Viola's clef : ALTO

55. Italian relative of grits : POLENTA - Spicy rainbow chard with bacon and POLENTA



58. Hard-to-pass drivers : ROAD HOGS

60. Catwoman portrayer Kitt : EARTHA - Pretty easy to pick out of this litter



64. Seafarer : TAR

65. Tropical getaway : ISLE

67. "__ takers?" : ANY

68. Some Fr. martyrs : STES

69. Relaxes : EASES

Down

1. Place for losers? : SPA

2. Scratch or dent : MAR

3. Little six-footer : ANT - 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. Yup, six of 'em!
4. Lower-APR deal : REFI

6. Far-reaching : BROAD

7. Govt. agents : FEDS

8. Bobbing wreckage : FLOTSAM - Sometimes that FLOTSAM is the result of a horrible event



9. Country W of Iraq : SYR

11. Make more toys? : BREED - Toy poodles for example

14. Wedding site : ALTAR

19. Ones on either side of a "v." : FOES - As in Brown v. The Board of Education

21. Conduits for gods' wisdom : ORACLES

23. South Pacific monarchy : TONGA

24. Ruin : SPOIL 

30. Minor peeve : NIT

34. Rock's __ Lobos : LOS - One hit wonders with La Bamba

37. Sacked out : SLEPT

41. CPR provider : EMT - Breathe, Fluffy, breathe!




44. Canopy support : BEDPOST - Does your chewing gum lose its flavor on the BEDPOST overnight?

47. Apple MP3 player : IPOD

49. Anne Brontë's "__ Grey" : AGNES

50. Medicare card specification : PART A

51. Big name in online financial services : E-LOAN

52. "It's somebody __ problem" : ELSE'S - If you're not willing to, well, you know... 

56. Check out rudely : OGLE

57. Geometric figure : AREA

59. Towel word : HIS

61. Pulls a yard prank on, briefly : TPS - Industrial strength on Ellen with leaf blowers



62. Color nuance : HUE

63. College-level H.S. classes : APS

Now it's your turn to STEP UP to the keyboard and comment on Tony and C.C.'s just-right Wednesday puzzle:

Husker Gary



Notes from C.C.:

1) Fantastic Answer Grid, Gary! You're getting better and better.

1) As Gary mentioned earlier, this is Anon T's debut. Huge congratulations, Tony! So much fun working with him. Tony has one more puzzle in Rich's queue & one puzzle accepted by the WSJ.

  Anon T, Giza, Feb 2014

2) Happy Birthday to dear Barry G,  who joined this blog in 2008 and rarely misses a day of posting. Barry is one of my trusted test solvers and his feedback is essential in my development as a constructor. Barry, you need to send me a new picture. I've been using this one since Joshua was five. How time flies!


Jun 28, 2016

Tuesday, June 28, 2016 Jeffrey Wechsler and Jason M. Chapnick

Theme: Birthday Boy - Tribute to a one of a kind.

17A. *1977 Hitchcock parody : "HIGH ANXIETY"



60A. *1976 parody of pre-talkies : "SILENT MOVIE"



3D. *With "The," 1968 parody of dishonest Broadway financiers : "PRODUCERS"



23D. *With 25-Down, 1974 Western parody : "BLAZING" 25D. See 23-Down : "SADDLES"



35D. Born 6/28/1926, director of the answers to starred clues : MEL BROOKS. Director, Producer, Writer, Actor, Composer, Singer(?) and certified NUT.

Argyle here with a new diabolical duo. We can be sure to hear from at least one half of the constructors. An interesting pinwheel grid. This could be difficult for those who are not a fan of this movie genre.

Across:

1. Official on a baseline : UMP.

4. "Cheers" mixologist : WOODY. 13. "Cheers" location : BAR

9. Warehouse club with 652 locations : SAM'S. Sam's bar : "Cheers".

14. Place for a queen : THRONE. There is often a place for a queen in a Mel Brooks movie.

15. Request : PLEA

16. Alter __ : EGO

19. Turn in for cash : REDEEM

21. Smooth transitions : SEGUEs

22. Laptop port letters : USB. (Universal Serial Bus)

23. Air gun shot : BBs

26. "Wrong!" : "NOT SO!". Your classier play ground retort.

27. Muslim holy city : MECCA

29. Go for eagerly, as a chance : LEAP AT. Not JUMP AT.

31. "All bets __ off" : ARE

32. Tanzania neighbor : RWANDA

34. Self-satisfied : SMUG

38. Broadcast : AIR

39. As if in shock : DAZEDLY

41. Ambient music pioneer Brian : ENO

42. Suburb of Phoenix : MESA

44. Remington 700s, e.g. : RIFLES

45. British "Inc." : LTD.. Incorporated/Limited.

46. Journalist Chung : CONNIE

48. Boxcar stowaways : HOBOs

50. Amassed, as debts : RAN UP

53. Fast sports cars : GTs

54. Incoming flight info: Abbr. : ARRival

55. Hams it up : EMOTEs. Great clue for today.

57. Green Giant's "Little Green" buddy : SPROUT



64. Tip jar bill : ONE

65. Slanted type: Abbr. : ITALic

66. Insult : OFFEND

67. Kipling's young spy : KIM. It was first published as a serial.

68. The Big Apple, in addresses : NY, NY

69. Rides the breeze : WAFTS

70. Gas additive brand : STP

Down:

1. Transportation network app : UBER. Modern alternative clue.

2. Ancient sorcerer : MAGE

4. Caprice : WHIM

5. Email suffix : .ORG

6. "Awesome!" : "OOH!". Warming up for the Fourth.

7. Paternity suit evidence, briefly : DNA

8. Longings : YENS

9. Cask outlets : SPIGOTS

10. Alaskan native : ALEUT

11. Allots, with "out" : METES

12. Authority : SAY SO

14. Shakespearean nickname : THE BARD

18. TV princess played by Lucy Lawless : XENA

20. PC "oops" key : ESC

24. Dental coverage, e.g. : BENEFIT

27. Address to a lady : MA'AM

28. Buffalo's county and lake : ERIE
30. Washed-out : PALE

33. Alert : WARN

36. Golden rule word : UNTO

37. Saturn and Mars : GODS

40. Like a fork in the road : Y-SHAPED

43. With keen perception : ACUTELY

47. Welcoming store window sign : OPEN

49. Hockey great Bobby : ORR

50. Pine secretion : RESIN

51. Island in "Jaws" : AMITY

52. Strikeout king Ryan : NOLAN

56. Put in a hold : STOW

57. Transgressions : SINS

58. Mile or minute : UNIT

59. Weather Channel stat : TEMP. stat and TEMP are both shortened words.

61. Juilliard deg. : MFA. Master of Fine Arts

62. Inaccurate : OFF

63. Boxer fixer : VET. A boxer dog.

 Argyle



Note from C.C.:

This is the first collaboration between our own Lemonade and Jeffrey Wechsler. In fact, this is Jeffrey's very first collaboration. Congratulations, guys!


Lemonade and his lovely wife Oo, Dec 21, 2014

David Liben-Nowell, Cathy Long (David's friend), Tom Pepper, Jeffrey Wechsler, David Hanson & C.C. 
June 12, 2016

Jun 27, 2016

Monday, June 27, 2016 Jeff Stillman

Theme: 8 Days Late - patriarch party

16. Madonna hit with the lyrics "I'm keeping my baby" : "PAPA DON'T PREACH"(4:31)



26. Like some family-owned businesses : FATHER AND SON(3:06)



41. 2003 Eddie Murphy movie about an entrepreneurial stay-at-home parent : DADDY DAY CARE(2:12)



52. Propose marriage : POP THE QUESTION(3:14)



Argyle here. It feels like Jeff phoned this one in and so I'm phoning my review in, too. Neat look to the grid. Bonus song.(3:04)



Across:

1. Little fight : SPAT

5. Scurries, old-style : HIEs

9. Prefix with chute : PARA. My MOS in the service was 0451 PARACHUTE RIGGER.

13. Other than that : ELSE

14. __ buco: veal dish : OSSO

15. Hieroglyphics bird : IBIS. 3D. Hieroglyphics snakes : ASPS

19. Lacking : SANS. Sans Souci, "without concerns".

20. Choose (to) : OPT

21. Roast host : EMCEE

22. Add up to, in arithmetic : ARE. I tried to make it harder than it is.

23. Skinny swimmer : EEL

24. Live-in nannies : AU PAIRs

29. Kindle buy : e-BOOK

30. Hops-drying oven : OAST

31. Woolf's "__ Dalloway" : MRS. Mrs Dalloway is a novel by Virginia Woolf that details a day in the life of Clarissa Dalloway, a fictional high-society woman in post–First World War England. It is one of Woolf's best-known novels. Wikipedia

34. Narrow cut : SLIT

35. Bake, as eggs : SHIRR

37. Veggie that can be pickled : BEET

38. Title time traveler with Bill : TED. "Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure"

39. Fellas : GUYS. Like the two totally excellent dudes above.

40. Hardship : RIGOR

44. Cast maligning remarks at : ASPERSE. verb

47. Watch closely : EYE

48. Sleuths, for short : PIs. (Private Investigator)

49. Meager : SCANT

50. Tavern brew : ALE

51. Ladies : SHEs

56. Olympian's blade : ÉPÉE

57. Baseball tactic to advance a runner : BUNT

58. Desire : WANT

59. Stereotypical techie : NERD

60. Make less intense, as one's breath : BATE. Look it up.

61. Iowa State city : AMES

Down:

1. Unlike bosom buddies : SEPARABLE. Bill and Ted are inseparable.

2. Smallish celestial body : PLANETOID. Another term for asteroids.

4. Beverage leaves : TEA

5. Showy publicity : HOOPLA

6. "This __ working" : ISN'T

7. D.C. winter clock setting : EST

8. Soak (up), as sauce : SOP

9. Merchant whom Simple Simon met : PIEMAN

Simple Simon met a pieman,
Going to the fair;
Said Simple Simon to the pieman,
"Let me taste your ware."

Said the pieman unto Simon,
"Show me first your penny."
Said Simple Simon to the pieman,
"Indeed (Sir), I have not any."

10. Beaded calculators : ABACI

11. Potato cutter : RICER

12. Lenten symbol : ASHES

17. Couch potato's opposite : DOER

18. Move to a new container, as a houseplant : REPOT

19. Least dangerous : SAFEST

23. Startled cry : EEK

24. Hebrew winter month : ADAR

25. Cold War country: Abbr. : USSR

27. Selling really well : HOT

28. Clangorous : NOISY

31. Cheerleader's sound booster : MEGAPHONE

32. Adjusts the position of : REORIENTS

33. Emphasize : STRESS

35. Soap bubbles : SUDS. Did you see the bubbles in the "Daddy Day Care" clip?

36. Jekyll's murderous other self : HYDE

37. Ballpoint brand : BIC

39. Brooks of country music : GARTH



40. Pastrami sandwich bread : RYE

41. A little banged up, fenderwise : DENTED

42. Backspace over : DELETE

43. Yes votes : AYEs

44. Colorado ski resort : ASPEN

45. Range : SCOPE. Tried STOVE first.

46. Origami medium : PAPER

50. Em, to Dorothy : AUNT. (Wizard of Oz)

51. Former name of Thailand : SIAM

53. Flow back : EBB

54. Sine __ non: essential : QUA

55. Pan Am rival : TWA

Argyle

Jun 26, 2016

Sunday, June 26, 2016 Mike Peluso

Theme: "Vice Versa" - Long I sound is changed into ER sound.
 
27A. Optimal payment arrangements? : THE BEST OF TERMS. The best of times. Two more tiny THE's in 111A. It has finals in June : THE NBA. 4D. "Terror has no shape" sci-fi creature : THE BLOB

42A. Mideast cry of despair? : ARABIAN NERTS. Arabian Nights. Ali Baba.

67A. Gems kept in inventory? : STOCK PEARLS. Stockpiles.
 
96A. Like one brandishing a Super Soaker? : NERF WIELDING. Knife-wielding. I googled and found out that Super Soaker is a Nerf water gun brand.

114A. White stallion at school? : SILVER LEARNING. Silver lining.


15D. Reason for cowboy unemployment? : NOTHING TO HERD. Nothing to hide.

55D. Coquette education? : FLIRT TRAINING. Made me smile. Thought of dear Splynter, who's actually very shy. Flight training.

Two sound changes occur in the front. Five at the back. Two multi-word answers. Five two-word entries. No odd man out. Consistency!

Mike also started his first theme entry in Row 4 rather than the conventional Row 3.  I'm going to experience this design myself. 

I'm completely in awe of puzzle title, so aptly describing the theme gimmick. Genius! 
   
Across:  

1. Offed, biblically : SMOTE. Funny how SMITTEN is the only form we still use today.

6. Matter : COUNT

11. Big D school : SMU

14. Exchanges from centers : SNAPS. Football. I had to ask Boomer.
  
19. Dash dials : TACHs

20. Canadian skater Brian : ORSER. Quite a few names in this grid.

21. Mother __ : HEN

22. Forum garments : TOGAE. More often TOGAS.

23. Butt ends : ASHES

24. New car option : LEASE

25. Like some exercises : ISOMETRIC. See here for definition. New to me. I do know plank & Russian Twist though.

30. "Sugar Lips" trumpeter : AL HIRT

31. Lord Grantham of Downton Abbey, e.g. : EARL.Gimme for a few blog regulars.

32. Some hosp. areas : ORs

33. Fifth-century pope : LEO I

34. "Spare me the specifics" : TMI

35. Black-and-white predator : ORCA

37. Eight-time Coty Award winner : BEENE (Geoffrey). Fashion award. Got via crosses as well.

38. Bigwig : HONCHO
 
47. Response to a sinking feeling? : SOS. I thought this might be sinking a putt. Nope.

49. Radiate : GLOW. And 115. Radiate : EMIT

50. Finalize, with "up" : SEW

51. Lining fabric : FLEECE

52. Yorktown __, N.Y. : HTs

53. Scrabble 8-pointer : J-TILE. Easy J crossing with JOT (53D. Write (down).

54. In the sky : ALOFT

56. Lorre's "Casablanca" role : UGARTE.  No memory of this guy. I did like the movie though.



59. Yelled excitedly : WHOOPED. Never used the word as a verb.

61. Election figure : POLLSTER

64. Tic-tac-toe loser : OOX

65. Writer: Abbr. : AUTH

66. Govt. benefit : SSI
 
71. Attention : EAR

74. Bring up, or something to bring up : REAR. Bring up the rear. Great clue.

76. Want ad letters : EOE

77. "Apollo 13" co-star : ED HARRIS

80. Trustbusting period : TAFT ERA

83. Berra famously jumped into his arms during the 1956 World Series : LARSEN (Don). The only perfect game in World Series.



86. Defiant retort : I DO SO

87. Egglike : OVATE

88. Morse code bit : DIT. Not DAH.

90. Senses, as trouble : SMELLS

93. Diarist Anaïs : NIN

94. Former prime minister who grew up in Milwaukee : MEIR

95. __ culpa : MEA

99. Area for growth? : BOTANY. Nice clue also.

101. Heavy hammers : MAULS. New to me.

103. Santa Monica landmark : PIER

104. It's charged : ION

105. Inactive : IDLE

106. Jump shot shape : ARC

107. Former VOA overseer : USIA (United States Information Agency). Tiny US dupe with 8. "Wild Blue Yonder" mil. branch : USAF

118. "In Rainbows" Grammy-winning rockers : RADIOHEAD. Via crosses as well.

120. One-celled critter : AMEBA. Amoeba is more common.

121. City west of Youngstown : AKRON

122. __ in itself : AN END. Easier when the partial is clued at the back: [Put ___ to (finish)].

123. Madre's hermana : TIA

124. Like forks : TINED

125. New Hampshire college town : KEENE. We had this a couple months ago.

126. Unkempt : MANGY. And 12. Most unkempt : MESSIEST

127. Spots : ADs

128. Stiff collars : ETONs

129. Maritime birds : ERNEs

Down:

1. Assert : STATE

2. One of Chekhov's "Three Sisters" : MASHA. IRINA also has 5 letters.
3. Brownish shade : OCHER

5. Latin 101 verb : ESSE

6. Monk associate : COLTRANE (John). Thelonious Monk. I was picturing a real monk.

7. Double Stuf treats : OREOs

9. Tweeting site : NEST. Always a fun clue.

10. Sapling : TREELET. Thanks for identifying my two Agnes plants, TTP. Now I'm eager to see how that English Ivy spreads. Maybe I should put the polka dot plant back to a pot. They look prettier this way.

11. Peres of Israel : SHIMON

13. Digit in diez : UNO. diez = ten.

14. Mariner's patron : ST. ELMO

16. Farming prefix : AGRI

17. Au __ : PAIR

18. Shakers, but not movers : SECT. Great clue.

26. Compulsory British subject : MATHS. I still can't believe what happened.

28. L.A.'s environs : SoCal

29. Roger of "Cheers" : REES

36. Breakups : RIFTS

37. City near Anaheim : BREA

39. Pace : CLIP

40. With 109-Down, uncommon eagle : HOLE. 109. See 40-Down : IN ONE. On a par 3 hole. Mike often posts stunning golf course pictures on his Facebook. He must play lots of golf.

41. Due : OWED

42. "Stat!" relative : ASAP

43. HR dept. concerns : RELOs

44. Base runners : AWOLs

45. Introduction to science? : NEURO, Neuroscience.

46. Heart test: Abbr. : ECG

48. Warren Commission subject : OSWALD. Oh, Lee Harvey Oswald.

52. Numerical prefix : HEXA. Six.

57. Rodeo competitor : ROPER

58. Ring site : TOE

60. Sudden silence : HUSH

62. Peter or Paul : TSAR. Not SAINT. Fantastic clue.

63. It retired its spokesbaby in 2014 : E*TRADE

68. Breton or Gael : CELT

69. Ukulele wood : KOA. Learning moment for me.

70. Take more People : RENEW. Magazine.

72. Quaker Oats product suffix : A-RONI

73. "Mr. Mojo __": repeated words in The Doors' "L.A. Woman" : RISIN'

75. Rare shoe width : EEE

78. United choice : AISLE. Another great clue.

79. Lennon work : SONG

80. Pyramid, to Tut : TOMB. Big "D'oh!"

81. Economical Chevy : AVEO

82. __ accompli : FAIT

84. Latvia and Estonia, once: Abbr. : SSRs

85. "Unbelievable" band : EMF

89. Diamond hit : I AM I SAID. Unfamiliar with the song.

91. Watches one's mouth? : LIPREADS. To me, "one's" always refers to oneself. But you read other's mouth to lipread, right?

92. Canon competitor : LEICA

95. Chatty bird : MYNAH

96. Empty : NULL

97. Improve, as one's game : ELEVATE. This "one's" works perfectly.

98. More smashed : DRUNKER. Sounds weird in ER/EST form.

100. Opposite of a star : NOBODY

102. Avia competitor : ADIDAS

106. Truman veep Barkley : ALBEN. I googled, then found out I had googled him before.


108. Sound during a chase : SIREN

110. Actress Moorehead : AGNES. Hello, Irish Miss!

111. Rail vehicle : TRAM

112. Maui's scenic __ Highway : HANA. So pretty.

113. Paradise : EDEN

116. Ashcroft's predecessor : RENO

117. One leaning against a garden fence : RAKE. Not a person.

119. Greek vowel : ETA


Happy 51st Anniversary to dear Spitzboov (Al) and his wife Betty!