Theme: Cross beams!
20A: Chocolate-and-crisped-rice candy: NESTLE CRUNCH
42A: “It floats” sloganeer: IVORY SOAP
37A: Solid investment?: GOLD INGOT
and the unifier:
57A Gymnast’s event, or what 20-, 37- and 42-Across literally are in this grid: PARALLEL BARS
Hi everyone - Steve here with the Wednesday offering to wrap up July. Susan Gelfand's name doesn't pop up in the blog labels as being seen before, but the last time I congratulated a debutant it turned out that he'd had a slew of puzzles published in the past, so I'll defer to C.C. and the rest of the crew before offering figurative back-slaps. (From C.C.: Susan has 9 puzzle published by the NY Times, but I believe this is her LAT debut.)
It did take me a little while to figure out the theme when I'd finished the puzzle, it was the "literally" in the unifier that finally got the penny to drop - the three theme entries are all kinds of bars, and they all literally run parallel to each other in the grid.
There was some nice fill too and it all added up to a pretty smooth Wednesday. I had a couple of missteps along the way, but nothing too serious. I needed quite a few crosses to help with a number of unknowns, and I had a borderline personal Natick with AD REM/AMOS OZ, but that's what good cluing is all about.
1 Rooters with beers, maybe: FANS. Nice opening.
5 Pampering places: SPAS
9 Spunk: MOXIE
14 Stargazer’s focus?: IDOL. Another nice little misdirection. I definitely had the night sky in my mental sights for a while here.
15 Basil or Ginger, e.g.: NAME. I thought this clue was very elegant in that it disqualifies the potential "HERB" answer by cluing a spice and a herb. It would have been easy (and possibly mean) to misdirect with "Basil or Rosemary, e,g."
16 Attention-getters: AHEMS
17 “__ put it another way ...”: OR TO
18 Switch ender: EROO. Switcheroo.
19 Pinkish wines: ROSÉS. The French and Spanish rosés are wonderfully dry, unlike the Californian white zins which give pink wines a bad name.
23 “Jews and Words” co-author: AMOS OZ. The M was my last letter to fill. I'm calling it a semi-WAG.
24 Heavenly lion: LEO
25 Ballpark fig.: EST. I thought at first this was some kind of baseball stat that I'd never heard of, but then ohhhh! An estimate!
28 Official symbol: SEAL. This is one very nice example:
31 Puzzling problem: ENIGMA. Winston Churchill memorably described Russia as "a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma"
33 Like a Chihuahua’s ears: ERECT
39 Many an auctioned auto: REPO
40 P-like Greek letter: RHO
41 Sprinted: TORE
45 Lost cause: GONER
46 Bird in a clock: CUCKOO. I don't know how people can put up with one of these things in the house, unless they get so used to them they can filter out the racket, which rather defeats the purpose.
47 Pianist Peter: NERO. Needed crosses here. I'm not really up on my pianists.
49 Chuckle sound: HEH
50 Looker’s leg: GAM. This seems such an inelegant word for what is meant to be a very attractive leg. It does, however, give me a great excuse to post a picture of the incomparable gams of Cyd Charisse!
52 Beehive, e.g.: HAIRDO
60 Crosswise, nautically: ABEAM. Quibble. I think "athwart" answers the definition here. ABEAM describes the position of an object 90 degrees off the side of a vessel. Thoughts?
63 Refusals: NOES
64 Scoreboard figure, at times: STAT
65 Coup group: JUNTA. You always hear news reports of a "military junta". Can you have a non-military junta?
66 Vegan staple: TOFU
67 German article: EINE
68 Inner turmoil: ANGST. I was on the digestive tract (mis)track for a while with this one.
69 Six-legged marchers: ANTS
70 American-born Jordanian queen: NOOR
1 Pop singer Apple: FIONA. Great live version of her hit "Shadowboxer" here
2 Relevant, in law: AD REM. From the Latin "to matter".
3 Untrue: NOT SO
4 Casino lineup: SLOTS
5 React to sunlight, maybe: SNEEZE. Gesundheit!
6 Paris’s Bois de Vincennes, par exemple: PARC. Clue in French, answer in French.
7 Son of Venus: AMOR
8 1988 Summer Olympics city: SEOUL. These Olympics produced the most stunning men's 100 meters sprint final when Ben Johnson shattered the world record with a time of 9.79 seconds. The next day he tested positive for steroids and was stripped of the gold medal. Oops!
9 Pioneer in wireless telegraphy: MARCONI
10 “Oopsie!”: OH-OH
11 Survey marks: XES
12 “__ Mine”: Beatles song: I ME
13 Double curve: ESS
21 2000s TV drama that ended in a church: LOST. I think I'm one of the few people in the country that never watched a minute of single episode of this show.
22 Have to have: NEED
25 Encourage: EGG ON. I think of this in the "encourage to do something totally dumb" context, almost certainly involving a skateboard or a bicycle, a set of steps with a handrail and the inevitable result of much pain and suffering.
26 Camper’s dessert: S'MORE
27 Spud: TATER
29 Prefix with business: AGRO. I had "AGRI" first which had me wondering what SIAP was.
30 Lindsay of “Mean Girls”: LOHAN. That's putting it nicely. I can think of many more unflattering ways to clue this one!
32 Gung-ho about: INTO
33 Psychoanalyst Fromm: ERICH. Crosses. I'm as up on my psychoanalysts as I am my pianists.
34 Variety show: REVUE
35 Noteworthy period: EPOCH
36 Eco-friendly tile material: CORK. The Cork Forest Conservation Alliance has answers to any question you could ever think to pose about this abundant natural resource, including scotching the screw-top wine bottle myth that there is a cork shortage. Who knew?
38 Run easily: LOPE
43 Place for meditation, for some: YOGA MAT. Not me. When I'm on my yoga mat I'm being bullied into doing outrageous Pilates maneuvers that my body was not designed for. I'm crying, rather than meditating.
44 Fly high: SOAR
45 Hockey score: GOAL
48 Animal for which a blood factor is named: RHESUS. Rhesus macaques have assisted in a number of scientific projects and have been into orbit on many occasions.
51 Tropical ray: MANTA
53 Hedda Gabler’s creator: IBSEN.
54 Proportion: RATIO
55 Backup-beating brand: DRANO. I enjoyed this - I was on the computer-file backup track for a while.
56 Maker of the MyBlend blender: OSTER. I can't see this brand name now without wincing - last year I was pulling my Oster blender out of the cupboard above my oven and I dropped the (heavy!) glass mixing bowl. Instinctively I wanted to save it from shattering on my tiles so I intelligently stuck my bare foot between it and the floor. I broke two bones in my foot and the darn thing still shattered.
58 Bird on Canada’s dollar coin: LOON
59 Hit the road: LEFT
60 1977 Steely Dan album: AJA. Their best-selling album.
61 Burger holder: BUN
62 Tower of London loc. ENG. I wonder if there's a tower in London, Ontario as well as London, England?
And there we have it. That's it from me today - have a great Wednesday and see you next time.