Theme: Where do babies come from? The Stork Exchange!
Our Friday phenom Jeffrey Wechsler stops by with his first 2016 effort which is a simple letter substitution that leads to new fill clued whimsically, made special by having the letter C which is removed from the first word of a phrase ending in CK and is replaced with the letter R. The elegance comes in with the changed words being a vowel progression AEIOU. Lots of interesting and hard to pin down fill such as ASTORIA, CODEINE, GRAYISH, HOBNOBS, ILL READ, IRON ORE, SERPICO, VERDURE. Okay then...
17A. Response from a dog on a horse? : BARK IN THE SADDLE (15). Back in the saddle gets a doggie boost. I grew up with this SONG. (3:03)
20A. Barista's schedule? : PERKING ORDER (12). The pecking order brewed us some coffee.
35A. Pet peeve? : IRK FACTOR (9). ICK Factor perhaps made famous by Friends has 289,000 google hits, while there are 367,000 hits on google and a BLOG for Irk Factor. Unusual for the pun to be more famous.
54A. Jerk in a cove? : DORK OF THE BAY (12). We have to have this SONG. (2:54)
57A. Satisfying sight to an Istanbul clothing designer? : TURK IN YOUR SHIRT (15). Ah, you are wearing one of my designs, but please tuck it in.
1. Kid : JEST. Not a youth. Some Friday style cluing already as these words are related but I do not see them as synonyms.
5. Sufficient : DUE. Dire due parole about this clue as well.
8. Girl who calls Peppermint Patty "sir" : MARCIE. Finally, one I got immediately.
14. __ map : AREA. Okay this is fair,
15. "High Hopes" critter : ANT. They look about my age.
21. A-one : PRIMO. So many choices, cuz. Right Lucina?
23. Diving birds : LOONS. The Minnesota state bird.
24. Iraq War weapon: Abbr. : IED. Improvised Explosive Device.
26. Emphasize : ACCENT. Ah, a grave clue.
28. Little biter : GNAT.
29. Way of the East : TAO. The word means 'the way' in Chinese , right C.C.? (From C.C.: Just "way". Chinese and many Asian languages do not have definite article.)
30. Oklahoma native : OSAGE. Another visit with an easier clue.
34. Takes to heart : HEEDS.
37. Skirt : EVADE. An issue, not one for Splynter.
41. Esteemed one : GEM. A peach.
44. Chilean currency : PESO. I did not know this. I have been in many places in South America but not Chile.
45. Native : INBRED. Inbred has such negative connotations.
47. Etchings, for example : ART. Come up to my room....
48. "The West Wing" actor : SMITS. Loved him in LA LAW and DEXTER
60. Colorful songbird : ORIOLE. Beautiful.
Palestine Liberation Organization.
62. Very short time: Abbr. : MSEC. Nsec n'sync Backstreet Boy arrested!
63. Inconsequential : MEASLY. My salary is what?
64. Carrier offering Carlsberg beer : SAS. Originally Scandinavian Airline System.
65. Ersatz : SHAM. I like the word ersatz which is a German word we have taken as our own.
1. Hook alternative : JAB. Boxing, not a slice HG and Big Easy.
2. Jazz __ : ERA.
3. Peter Maas biography subtitled "The Cop Who Defied the System" : SERPICO. Pacino at his best.
5. Like many caves : DANK.
6. "... I thought, / __ my head was dizzy": "Endymion" : UNTIL. Not the most famous line of this POEM which begins, "A thing of beauty is a joy forever"
7. Graphic introduction? : ETHNO. Anthropology?
8. Trowel wielder : MASON. My uncle was a master mason who taught at a trade school.
9. Microbiologist's gels : AGARS.
10. Demond's co-star in a '70s sitcom : REDD. Most people did not know his real name was Jon Elroy Sanford.
12. Like one who goes by the books? : ILL READ. OOOOO.
13. Ending with stamp : EDE. Meh. 50D. Suffix with beaut : IFY.
18. Smelter input : IRON ORE. Out comes steel.
19. It may require delicate handling : EGO.
21. Touch lightly : PAT.
22. Miley Cyrus label : RCA. Really? DKDC.
25. Sot's woe : DTS. Delirium Tremens.
27. Sound of disdain : TSK.
28. An official lang. of Luxembourg : GERman.
31. Edwards, e.g.: Abbr. : AFB. Air Force Base.
32. __ pal : GAL. Not pc.
33. Old French coin : ECU.
34. Works the room : HOBNOBS. This word in its schmoozing meaning was popular in my 'ute.
35. Common court response : I DO. Do you solemnly swear to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth?
36. Prefix with centennial : TRI. Are there any other three letter ones?
37. Org. monitoring brownfields : EPA. Live and LEARN.
38. Greenery : VERDURE. If you know Latin or French or Spanish, this is easy.
39. Oregon port named for a 19th-century multi-millionaire : ASTORIA. JOHN JAKOB.
41. Somewhat ashen : GRAYISH.
42. Long swimmer : EEL.
43. EKG readers : MDS.
46. Composer who championed Dvorák : BRAHMS. Great STORY?
48. Proficiency : SKILL.
49. What chips may represent : MONEY. How many of you play poker? There are pokers rooms everywhere here.
51. 'Vette roof options : T-TOPS.
52. Only NFL coach with a perfect season : SHULA. Once again the '72 Dolphins watched the ranks of the undefeated disappear.Don and Dan
56. God with a quiver : EROS.
57. Alley prowler : TOM. Okay CED, this is all you.
58. Actor Stephen : REA. Still most famous for the Crying Game.
59. Channel that shows Bogart films : TCM. Turner Classic Movies. Oo loves this and AMC.
So we had a rocky start but here we are halfway through January and three entertaining Fridays in the books. Be well all, stay warm and dry. Thanks JW, loved your NYT yesterday. Lemonade out.