Theme: WEIRD TALES - The first word of each two-word theme answer is an anagram of TALES. Weird is used to indicate that the letters of TALES have been morphed into some strange new form - a typical trick often used in crossword clues where a verb is used to indicate that the letters have been mixed, altered, or otherwise tampered with.
17A. Get closer to home? : STEAL THIRD. Our first WEIRD TALE, and a bit of baseball, too.
25A. Electrical device named for its inventor : TESLA COIL. This plaything, invented by Nikola TESLA looks like it belongs on The Forbidden Planet. Tesla was a brilliant engineer and inventor, and might have been a bit Weird, even without the COIL.
36A. Chestnut : STALE JOKE. I googled "world's oldest joke" and actually came up with it.
51A. Dress pants shade : SLATE GRAY. Perfect with a classic navy blue blazer
And the unifier, 62 A. Classic horror magazine, and a literal hint to the beginning of 17-, 25-, 36-, and 51-Across : WEIRD TALES.
Hi gang, JzB here. Just home from rehearsal and ready to see what sort of adventure Gareth will lead us on today.
1. Fictional circumnavigator Phileas : FOGG. "Around the World in 80 Days."
5. Like weather that makes hair frizz : MUGGY. Hot and damp.
10. European auto : SAAB. AUDI and MERC fit.
14. Beach bird : GULL. Here in the Great Lakes region, we see them in grocery store parking lots.
15. Cool place to live? : IGLOO. An ice house
16. Et __ : ALIA. And others, in Latin. But Kazie et alia knew that.
19. Kitten's plaything : YARN. I'm not a cat lover, but I've heard such TALES.
20. Fortuneteller's card : TAROT. Perhaps a tool for divination, or to focus your psychic energies.
21. Near-failing grades : DEES.
23. Lo mein additive : MSG. MonoSodium Glutamate, used a flavor enhancer, and abundant in Chinese cooking - at least in North America. Back in China, probaly not. C.C. ? (From C.C.: Widely used in China too. Never gave me headache.)
24. Less valid, excusewise : LAMER. Less LAME. Awkward looking and sounding word.
27. "South Park" baby brother : IKE. Never watched it, but I still know that Kenny dies.
28. __-wop : DOO. Easier to show than tell.
30. With 38-Down, "People's Court" rival : JUDGE. And 38 D. See 30-Across : JUDY. Never watched either of them.
31. Sacred Hindu work : VEDA. These revealed texts are the oldest Hindu scriptures and the oldest known Sanskrit literature.
33. Space station for about 15 years : MIR. Soviet and later Russian long term research station.
35. Approaches evening : LATENS. Perfectly valid but WEIRD looking word.
39. Spreading Indian tree : BANYAN.
42. Puddle gunk : MUD
43. Teen safety org. : SADD. Students Against Destructive Decisions.
47. Great Lakes natives : ERIES. Native Americans and eponyms for a Great Lake.
48. Brief swim : DIP
50. Scand. land : NOR. Time for a rhyme. Neither SWE NOR FIN worked. Note Abr. in Cl & Ans.
55. Like Oreos dropped in milk : SOGGY.
57. Eldest March sister, in a 19th-century novel : MEG. "Little Women" by Louisa May Alcott
58. Wonka's creator : DAHL. Roald. This British writer and fighter pilot was born in Wales to parents from NOR.
59. Big cheese : NABOB. Originally a provincial governor of the Mogul empire in India. Later a person of wealth or prominence. Later still, members of the press corps out of favor with Spiro T Agnew, erstwhile V.P. and convicted criminal. The phrase was used by Agnew but coined by William Safire.
60. Big cheese in Holland : EDAM. Why do we never get Stilton NOR Limburger? At least we got a clecho!
65. Taj Mahal city : AGRA. Why do we never get Hyderabad NOR Bangalore?
66. Cousin of "ish" : KINDA. Sorta, more or less.
67. Artist Chagall : MARC.
68. Use a sickle : REAP.
69. One going behind your back : SNEAK. A bold or careless SNEAK might go in front of your back.
70. Naysayer : ANTI. AKA: Nattering nabob of negativism.
1. NFL three-pointers : FGS. National (American) Football League, and Field Goals. Points earned by kicking the ball through the uprights.
2. DVD extra : OUT TAKE. Scenes cut from the movie.
3. Shone brightly : GLEAMED. Like this.
4. Blinding light : GLARE. Like this.
5. Item in a dugout : MITT. Fielder's glove - more baseball!
6. "Disgusting!" : UGH. Tigers lost tonight. Down three in the ninth inning, one out, two on, Miggy hit into a double play.
7. Soar effortlessly : GLIDE. Like a goose on the wing.
8. Gets with a tusk : GORES. Pierces or stabs with a horn or tusk. Not something we need to see.
9. High-range song, in more ways than one : YODEL. High register notes from the Swiss Alps.
10. "Incidentally ..." : SAY. Oh, BTW . . .
11. Pie order : A LA MODE. Served with a scoop of ice cream.
12. Libra, for one : AIR SIGN. From the Zodiac. There are three each of air, earth, fire and water signs.
13. "Manic Monday" band : BANGLES. Very 80's.
18. Fauntleroy's title : LORD. From the children's novel by English author Frances Hodgson Burnett. It was originally published as a serial in the St. Nicholas Magazine between November 1885 and October 1886.
22. White co-worker : SAJAK. Vanna and Pat
24. Actress Tyler : LIV. Arwen.
25. Work up a sweat : TOIL. Double, double toil and trouble; Fire burn, and caldron bubble.
26. Affected preciousness, with "the" : CUTES. I can see this, but I've never heard it.
29. Muscat's sultanate : OMAN. Neighbor of Yemen and Saudi Arabia.
32. Hitherto : AS YET. Up to now.
34. Sleep stage letters : REM. Rapid Eye Movement, the dreaming stage.
35. Wine city near Sacramento : LODI. Can anyone in the coven give us the LODI lowdown?
37. Used a stun gun on : TASED. But, really, bro - don't.
39. Sully : BESMEAR. As one's reputation.
40. TV news exec Roone : ARLEDGE. For good or for ill, he gave us Monday Night Football.
41. Horseshoe Falls river : NIAGARA. On the Canadian side.
44. Luanda native : ANGOLAN. Luanda is Angola's chief seaport and administrative center.
45. Bespectacled cartoon canine who was once a CEO : DOGBERT. From Dilbert.
46. Oenophile's "sec" : DRY. Related to the Latin, Spanish an Portuguese words for DRY.
49. Test for jrs. : PSAT. Pre-SAT. College admission exam with close to zero correlation with success. Scam? You decide. Originally it meant "Scholastic Aptitude Test, " later, "Scholastic Assessment Test." Later still it was announced, quite appropriately, that it stands for nothing.
52. Rubbernecks : GAWKS. Here, it is a verb, not a plural noun.
53. Deutschland river : RHEIN.
54. Flared dress : A-LINE.
56. "The Audacity of Hope" author : OBAMA. He went on to a more frustrating career.
59. Third-least populous U.S. state : N. DAK. Neighbor of Saskatchewan and Alberta.
61. "Do I have to draw you a __?" : MAP. Really, they're side by side, just to the north.
63. Old vitamin bottle no. : RDA. Recommended Daily Allowance.
64. Poli __ : SCI. Political Science.
Quite a journey. We circumnavigated the globe, had some sports, saw some sights and visited some exotic places. Hope you enjoyed the journey.
Notes from C.C.:
Jazzbumpa (Ron) and his wife Gloria drove down to Florida and visited his stepson Tom and family last month. Below are some pictures. Tom is with the Air Force. Longtime regulars probably remember the tough time for Ron's family when Tom was deployed in Afghanistan.
Lauren - Here we are with her in costume before her dance recital.
Lauren Dancing - This is her lyrical dance.
Officer Josh - Gloria's dad was a policeman. We took his hat to Josh, who was quite delighted to have it.
Please click here for more pictures.