20A. King who supported Molière : LOUIS XIV. The Sun King didn't support him enough to intervene when the comedy "Tartouffe" was banned for five years for being overly critical of the Catholic church. Even French kings didn't mess with the cardinals if they had a hankering for some measure of longevity.
31A. Colorful mnemonic : ROY G. BIV. I always thought that this wasn't exactly the most memorable mnemonic, which kind of defeats the purpose.
49A. City name meaning "spring mound" : TEL AVIV. A learning moment for me.
|Somewhere underneath this lot there's a mound|
and tying the four theme entries together:
38A. Northeastern educational octet ... or, in a way, what the ends of 20-, 31-, 49- and 61-Across comprise : IVY LEAGUE. Phonetically I-V. If you want a mnemonic for the eight schools: BC-CD HAPPY. Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, Penn, Princeton and Yale.
Steve here, checking in for the last puzzle of the year. I think this is Alex's LAT debut. If that's the case, congratulations! It's fun to see that we're at the end of the year MMXIV, where the "year end" so happens to be today's theme. I don't know if Rich intended this when he slotted this puzzle in for New Year's Eve, but it certainly wouldn't surprise me if he did.
This wasn't totally plain sailing for me today, there were some unknowns, some self-inflicted stumbles, a groan or two and a WAG but everything came together in the end. All good fun. The 8-letter downs were all great. Thanks, Alex!
1. See the sites? : SURF
5. Parker who played Davy Crockett : FESS. I stayed at Fess's hotel in Los Olivos a few years ago before he passed away. The evening was spent in the lounge singing around the piano with him, his wife and the other guests. She had a great voice - she was a nightclub singer when they first met.
9. Vagabond : TRAMP
14. Dept. with a sun on its seal : ENER. Makes sense, I guess. Crosses for me.
15. Future D.A.'s hurdle : LSAT
16. Putting green features : HOLES. Hopefully the ones made for the purpose, not random gopher creations.
17. Tiny pond plant : ALGA. There can be some big ones - the sea-dwelling giant kelp can grow up to 50 feet long. There are kelp beds off the coast here in California.
18. Holiday lights site : EAVE. I jumped in feet-first with TREE here. That slowed things up for a while.
19. Slate of VIPs : A-LIST
22. Highfalutin sorts : SNOBS
23. Hoi __ : POLLOI
24. Egg-white omelet's lack : YOLK
26. Blotter letters : AKA. There's no better way to get a feel for a strange town than from reading the local police blotter.
28. Ryder Cup team : USA. Cluing this as "Losing Ryder Cup team" would have been too easy. The Europeans are on something of a winning streak.
29. "Mystery!" network : PBS
33. Line to tear along: Abbr. : PERF.
35. "Constant Craving" singer : LANG. Canadian singer/songwriter K.D.
37. Pontificate : ORATE
41. Big mess : SNAFU. Now here's an acronym I'm familiar with - Situation Normal - All "Fouled" Up!
44. Isle of Mull neighbor : IONA. Home of the wonderfully-named "Bay at the Back of the Ocean".
45. Beauties : GEMS
51. Naval off. : ADM. I had the "D" and tried CDR first, but I didn't like it much. I didn't like this any better, to be honest.
53. Welcoming accessory : MAT
54. Carpentry tool : AWL
55. Some, in Seville : UNAS
57. Two-gamete cell : ZYGOTE. Great Scrabble word too!
59. Blow away : AMAZE
63. Limber : AGILE
64. Snack in a stack : OREO
65. Singles bar conversation starter : LINE
66. Easily corrupted : VENAL
67. Badly need a bath : REEK
68. Squared up : EVEN
69. Anaheim's Honda Center, e.g. : ARENA. It was the Arrowhead Pond before Honda paid for the naming rights. I do miss the days when sporting venues were given a name and kept it.
70. Kings and queens : BEDS. Nice clue!
71. They may be tacked on : FEES
1. Blubbery baby? : SEAL PUP
2. Free : UNLOOSE. Personally, this one fits in my "well, it's a word, but not one you'd actually use" pigeonhole.
3. Like some verbs and gas : REGULAR
4. Hardly hardy : FRAIL
5. With some wiggle room : FLEXIBLY
6. Hollywood's Morales : ESAI
7. Shrewd : SAVVY
8. Canonized mlle. : STE. A French mademoiselle may become une sainte if she behaves herself.
9. Gift recipient's sentiment : THANK YOU
10. Lampshade-shaped chocolate : ROLO
11. Woodcutter who knew the magic words : ALI BABA
12. Camper's dining gear : MESS KIT. Painted myself into a corner with MESS TIN as my first effort.
13. West Coast hrs. : PST
21. Food for dunking : SOP
22. __-mo replay : SLO
25. Princess Leia's last name : ORGANA. Crosses to the rescue. I didn't know Ms. Earmuffs' family moniker.
27. City thoroughfare: Abbr. : AVE
30. Whistle wetter : SALIVA
32. First name of TV's Dr. House : GREG
34. World Cup org. : F.I.F.A. The Fédération Internationale de Football Association. Not a stranger to allegations of corruption.
36. Classical lead-in : NEO
39. Horn banned from the 2014 World Cup : VUVUZELA. And praise be that they were banned. I watched most of the 2010 World Cup with the sound muted. I don't know how the players managed to stay sane.
40. "Zounds!" : GADZOOKS. Wonderful Word of the Day!
41. RR stop : STA
42. Many an Enya fan : NEW AGER.
43. Hoarder's cry : ALL MINE
46. Showing strong feeling : EMOTIVE. I fell into the gerund clue trap and had "EMOTING" at first.
47. Day play : MATINEE
48. Justice replaced by Kagan : STEVENS
50. Having four sharps : IN E
52. One-named R&B singer : MYA. I'm going out on a blaze of glory with the wonderful "Lady Marmalade" cover from "Moulin Rouge". Cover the eyes of any minors, work through the 15-second ad and enjoy this.
56. Bender : SPREE
58. Treble staff symbol : G-CLEF. Here's the clef and the key signature for E Major from 50A
60. Logician Turing : ALAN. A heroic character.
62. Clarinet insert : REED
63. Actress Gardner : AVA
64. Ball : ORB
And there we are. The highlights of 2014 are here every day at the Corner. Unlike most other media today, it's impossible to pick out any "Top 10" moments from the 365 days of this year. Each and every one of us, commenters, solvers, anons, snarky anons, constructors, bloggers all keep this place alive and a go-to part of our days. Here's to everyone who visits and everyone who contributes - but one - special exception - a shout-out to C.C. who created this place and made us all welcome.
A Happy New Year to all of you.
Notes from C.C.:
1) I echo what Steve said earlier: "The highlights of 2014 are here every day at the Corner". Thanks for your daily visits & contributions. I'm very grateful for your loyal support.
2) In yesterday's blog, Rainman asked how to make a link at the blog Comments section. I know several newbies want to know the steps also. Please click here for the instructions. Feel free to ask regulars for help if you encounter any problem. It's tricky at first and may take a few practice.