John Lampkin, a true renaissance man and friend of the Corner brings us his first 2016 effort, a sound change makes merry puzzle. Three phrases with three words containing a central "OR" sound are changed to an "UR" sound leaving an amusing new fill clued with skill. While many Fridays are loaded with theme fill, the three chosen are consistent and fun and leave room for much sparkly fill.
CAPULET, POP SONG, SCEPTER, SEA LEGS, HONDURAS, INTERNET, NANNY CAM, TAX HAVEN, THAT’S A GO, WE’RE RICH are all in this gem. No insect learning moment, so do not get antsy, we will now solve.
20A. Cuisine to swear by? : THREE CURSE MEAL (14). Three course meal is a standard fare.
35A. Site of a mortician's monopoly? : ONE HEARSE TOWN (13). The one horse towns of old are going the way the kerosene lamp.
55A. Ode to a Nightingale? : OLD NURSE POETRY (14). The clue references a real POEM but I am sure Florence appreciates the reworking. Old Norse poetry is a CSO to our Norwegian contingent.
1. Short one at the bar? : ATTorney. I only really see 'atty' abbreviation but I have been in many bars.
4. Flabbergasts : AWES.
8. One taking up slack? : IDLER. Nice clue reversal.
13. Landlocked African country : CHAD. There are 15 such countries in Africa, all perps. I used o go to the office building in NYC with my brother which held his literary agent and the Chad consulate. I thought the name was fake. Who names a country after an actor.
16. Running bowline, e.g. : NOOSE. The beginning of an undercurrent of boating/fishing terms. LINK.
17. Prepare to take off : TAXI. Anybody know the etymology of this usage meaning to go from a terminal to the runway.
18. Mediterranean landmark : ETNA.
19. Dessert that just sounds wrong : TORTE. A Tort in law is a civil wrong.
23. __ orange : OSAGE. I know them as horse apples. Our botany LESSON.
24. Trail follower : HIKER.
25. Downed a link, say : ATE. Sausage, not a golf course. 49A. Link for Ludwig : UND. Beethoven.
66A. Linking device : YOKE. Not on the internet but on your oxen. John Loves clechos.
28. Caught porgy and bass : ANGLED. Cute Porgy and Bess fish pun.
30. Ice __ : AGE. Can you believe it is 13 years?
40. Swift output : POP SONG. Showing my age, my first thought was Jonathan Swift not the ubiquitous TAYLOR.
41. Café freebie : EAU. Water in French.
43. Charmingly retro : QUAINT. Last week it was Tisn't...
46. Rejects : SPURNS.
50. Believes : DEEMS. Another common word in the law.
54. Actress Graff : ILENE. She was a regular on Mr. Belvedere and more recently Hart of Dixie
58. Shock source : TASER. Don't tase me bro!
59. Bit of concert memorabilia : STUB.
60. Quinoa alternative : RICE. We do have rice at my house.
62. Latin stars : ASTRA. Whence Astronomy, astrology etc.
63. New Yorker cartoonist Peter : ARNO. He had a very recognizable style, but has been gone for almost 50 years.
The caption says, "He is not ours, try the River House."64. Rent-__ : A-CAR.
65. Drives off : SHOOS.
67. Med. care option : HMO. Health Maintenance Organization.
1. Fake it : ACT. Don't get nervous boys.
2. "We're on!" : THAT"S A GO. A nice phrase.
3. Green shelter? : TAX HAVEN. Not ecology but economy.
4. "Hard __!": captain's command : A LEE. Boats.
5. Baker's neighbor in "Into the Woods" : WITCH. The MOVIE with Meryl Streep as the witch.
6. Jaded state : ENNUI. Always a nice fill.
7. Barren : STARK. Will Catelyn be back?
8. Shopper's mecca : INTERNET.
9. Dire destiny : DOOM. Oddly this is in conflict with 14D. Gloomy air : DIRGE as they are from the same Latin source.
10. Cosmetics giant : L'OREAL.
11. What you will : ESTATE. More hidden law.
12. Landed, with "in" : REELED. A big fish?
21. Shocking swimmer : EEL. Fish?
22. Sailor's ability : SEA LEGS. See what I mean; when I got off from a long cruise, it often seemed like the land was moving.
23. __ roll : ON A. Give me some butter, because...
27. Sovereign symbol : SCEPTER.
29. Bygone muscle car : GTO. My brother had one and it was too fast.
33. Ace : PRO. My meh of the day.
34. Org. with subs : USN. Cool misdirection- United States Navy. Ships.
36. Prefix for a lifesaving "Pen" : EPI, I have two in my house-bees.
37. Mosquito Coast country : HONDURAS. It is not Star Wars
39. Concerned parent's installation : NANNY CAM.
42. Employment : USE.
43. Mandated amounts : QUOTAS.
44. Remove, as bindings : UNLASH.
45. Expands, as a deck : ADDS TO. A deck of cards? The deck Splynter built? The one marti and I sat together at her house on?
47. Sales meeting metaphor : PIE.
48. Conservative leader? : ULTRA.
51. Outlet for one's thoughts : ESSAY. Put them on paper.
52. Densely populated area, briefly : METRO.
53. Spirit : SPUNK. A trait of mixed benefit.
56. Emperor famous for playing an instrument that hadn't been invented yet : NERO. Did he FIDDLE around?
57. Wind in the reeds : OBOE. A simple musical clue from our very musical friend. To me it brought to mind this POETRY. Yes Yeats along with earlier Keats.
61. Ranch closing? : ERO. Huevos rancheros while I finish writing?
Always a pleasure to see a JL byline, though we are missing anything to bug us, unless you do not like puns. Thanks John. Lemonade out.