Theme: "Ms." - All theme entries are women with M* S* initials.
22A. "Silkwood" star : MERYL STREEP. She's a natural.
28A. "Frankenstein" author : MARY SHELLEY
37A. Counselor Troi portrayer on "Star Trek: T.N.G." : MARINA SIRTIS. Deanna TROI, who appears in our crossword often. I did not know her full name though.
52A. Tennis star with five Grand Slam titles : MARIA SHARAPOVA. Contending for French Open right now.
61A. Host of a spin-off of "The Apprentice" : MARTHA STEWART. She's aging so beautifully.
77A. Toon with a pacifier : MAGGIE SIMPSON
84A. Early advocate of birth control : MARGARET SANGER
98A. 1995-2001 "SNL" regular : MOLLY SHANNON
111A. "Mighty Aphrodite" Oscar winner : MIRA SORVINO. She speaks Chinese.
120A. Jean Brodie creator : MURIEL SPARK. Learning moment for me.
I don't see Jason Mueller's name in our blog record. Must be his debut. Congratulations!
Simple but fresh theme. And Jason gave us 10 theme entries. A total 122 squares. The highest I blogged this year. It's an incredible achievement for a rookie constructor.
1. Straw __ : POLL. The Iowa Straw Poll has lost relevance.
5. Immunization letters : DPT. Wiki says it stands for "Diphtheria, Pertussis (whooping cough), and Tetanus."
8. Duped in a good way? : CC'ED. Indeed.
12. __ Zero : COKE
16. They have Red Velvet and Watermelon varieties : OREOS. I knew this! All constructors search hard for fresh clues.
18. Many a surfer : AOLER
20. Norse trickster : LOKI
21. Chennai's continent : ASIA. India, to be exact.
24. Zira and Cornelius, in a 1968 film : APES. Planet of the Apes.
25. Auction units : LOTS
26. ATM necessity : PIN
27. Women's World Golf Rankings sponsor : ROLEX. I love my Timex.
31. Polish-German border river : ODER
33. Hunters' outfits, briefly : CAMOS
35. Seaman : TAR
36. Different : ELSE
40. Conditional words : IF SO
42. Pin surface : MAT. Wresting.
45. Costa del __ : SOL
46. Film franchise with a mammoth named Manny : ICE AGE. This stumped me last time.
48. Place : SITE
49. Nonlethal weapon : TASER
56. Chemical ending : INE
57. Oregon __ : TRAIL. Our Montana was there a few years ago.
60. Flashing light : STROBE
66. Flashiest : LOUDEST
70. Arab VIP : EMIR. EMIR & OREO have such convenient letter combo.
71. Point to pick : NIT
72. __ mater : PIA. Brain membrane. New to me.
73. "To Kill a Mockingbird" sibling : JEM
74. West Point inits. : USMA
75. Bygone : DEFUNCT
80. Nod : DROWSE
82. "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" author : KESEY (Ken). I did not like the movie. Too much.
83. Hosp. test : EKG
90. Pasadena parade posies : ROSES
92. "Permit Me Voyage" poet : AGEE. Did not know James Agee was a poet as well.
93. Hercules bicycle model : ROADEO. New to me also.
94. Billings-to-Helena dir. : WNW
95. Brown in Calif., e.g. : GOV. Jerry Brown. Our governor is Mark Dayton. His great-grandfather founded Dayton's (now Target).
96. Get ready : PREP
105. Engrave : ETCH
107. Asian sash : OBI
109. Colonial diplomat Silas : DEANE
110. McGwire rival : SOSA. Sad. All our boxes of Sosa/McGwire/Bonds cards. Worthless.
115. Discontinued P&G toothpaste : GLEEM
117. Back talk : LIP. And 128. Back talk : SASS
118. "Crossword Clues 'M,' __" : ALEX (Trebek). I just did not think of "Jeopardy!".
119. Plan for losing : DIET. This got me again.
123. Port, for one : WINE. And 127. 123-Across category : REDS
124. To be, in Paris : ETRE. I miss the food. And the lovely Etam shops.
125. Utter : SHEER
126. Bottled spirits : GENII
129. Moroccan city of one million : FES. Thought it's spelled as FEZ.
130. NCAA part: Abbr. : ASSN
1. Cheerleader's accessory : POMPOM
2. Frozen food brand : ORE-IDA. Boomer loves their tater tots.
3. Loewe's lyricist : LERNER
4. See 79-Down : LOY. And 79. With 4-Down, "The Thin Man" co-star : MYRNA
5. "The Sound of Music" song : DO-RE-MI
6. Hammer used to test reflexes : PLEXOR. New word to me.
7. Summer top : TEE
8. Santa __ : CLARA
9. Legal protection : COPYRIGHT. Clothing industry does not have much protection. You can't use others' labels, but OK to copy the design.
10. __ out a living : EKES
11. Menu listings : DISHES. Not computer menus.
12. Judgments : CALLS
13. Italian source of the melody for "It's Now or Never" : O SOLE MIO. "My Sunshine".
14. Toy with a tail : KITE
15. Like pie? : EASY. I never got into pies.
17. 35mm camera type : SLR
18. Map site : ATLAS
19. Turntable stat : RPM
23. Trojans' region, familiarly : SOCAL. USC Trojans.
29. Confused : AT SEA
30. "Strange Magic" gp. : ELO
32. Ascend : RISE
34. Agitate : STIR. I tried Marc Maron's WTF podcast because he had a longer version of his interview with Terry Gross. I like him better now. Fresh Air also ran the interview, but it's heavily edited.
38. Irangate figure : NORTH (Oliver)
39. Here, to Henri : ICI
41. Bold : FEARLESS
43. Four-wheeler, for short : ATV
44. Leaves in a bag : TEA. My favorite. Loose leaf Jasmine Tea.
47. __ D.A. : ASST
48. Went faster : SPED UP
49. Like some tests : TIMED
50. "I Got __": Jim Croce hit : A NAME
51. Font flourish : SERIF
52. Diamond need : MITT. Paul Molitor makes me believing again!
53. Pale ___ : ALE
54. Certain sharer : ROOMIE
55. __ Dhabi : ABU
58. Acrimony : RANCOR
59. So to speak : AS IT WERE. Nice 8-letter fill.
62. Slog : TRUDGE
63. New Deal org. : WPA. Works Progress/Projects Administration
64. 2008 bailout beneficiary : AIG. They're big in Guangzhou, which is not my hometown, Gary. I grew up in Xi'an.
65. Cleaning aid : RAG
67. Massachusetts quartet : ESSES
68. Fire sign : SMOKE
69. Sharp tastes : TANGS
73. Taunt : JEER
76. Charlton Heston once led it: Abbr. : NRA. I knew this trivia also.
77. Phoenix suburb : MESA
78. He bested Adlai : IKE
81. Breaks on the road : STOP-OVERS
84. E-__ : MAG. Not fond of this clue.
85. Earlier : AGO
86. Spooner, for one : REVEREND
87. Mgmt. : ADMIN
88. Opposite of paleo- : NEO. I hope you're not into Paleo Diet. What's the lifespan for cavemen?!
89. Winner's prize : GOLD
91. Has title to : OWNS
94. Cheese shape : WHEEL
96. Mac alternatives : PCs
97. Scholarship founder : RHODES
99. Fictional symbol of brutality : LEGREE (Simon). "Uncle Tom's Cabin".
100. Elis : YALIES
101. Show of scorn : SNEER
102. Ryan and Bushnell : NOLANS. Nolan Bushnell founded Atari. Nolan Ryan never had a perfect game.
103. God wed to his sister : OSIRIS
104. Place setting item : NAPKIN
106. Strains : TAXES. Verb.
108. Nibbles : BITES
111. Bryn __ College : MAWR
112. Netman Nastase : ILIE
113. Moreno with Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony awards : RITA
114. Meditation syllables : OMS. My landlord in Shanghai meditated every evening, with his incense and chants. Then he started to drink. He probably found more peace in these strong drinks.
116. Flavor enhancer : MSG
121. TV dial letters : UHF
122. Princess' bane : PEA
The fourth Minnesota Crossword Tournament will be held on June 14th, 2015 Saturday. Please click here for more details.