Theme: "Mixed Doubles" - Both words in each made-up phrase can follow "Double".
24. Dinner and a movie? : DATE STANDARD. Double date. Double standard.
31. Rotten luck in Rotterdam? : DUTCH WHAMMY. Double Dutch. Double whammy. Great clue.
47. Ceremony for the Jetsons? : SPACE WEDDING. Double space. Double wedding.
70. Citations from an underwriter? : INDEMNITY QUOTES. Double indemnity. Double quotes.
94. Earthquake? : FAULT TROUBLE. Double fault. Double trouble.
110. Lenscrafters employee? : VISION AGENT. Double vision. Double agent.
120. Answering in the form of a question? : JEOPARDY DUTY. Double jeopardy. Double duty.
Very manageable grid. Seven entries with 85 theme squares. The minimum for a 21*21 grid is 84 squares (35 for a 15*15).
The more I construct, the more I realize how hard it is to come up with perfect clues for this type of theme. You need the phrases to have basic surface sense, and you need them to be funny.
1. Holiday dinner choices : BRISKETS. Meaty start. Stacked 8's at upper left/lower right corners.
9. Happen : BEFALL
15. Bond villain with a "great football of a head" : MR BIG. I only know Mr Big from "Sex and the City".
20. "1984" superstate : EAST ASIA. All crosses. Never read "1984".
21. Bibliography catchall : ET ALIA
22. Pop singer __ Marie : TEENA
23. Georgia native : ATLANTAN. Not the country Georgia.
26. Equine shade : ROAN
27. World's first independent credit card company, initially : DCI. Diners Club International. Normally it's clued as a Roman numeral. Avoided the angle today due to the crossing CML (28. Roman 950).
29. Compound with a fruity aroma : ESTER
30. Shades : HUES
36. Cast out : EXILE
38. Cyclist's obstacle : STEEP HILL. I presume all's flat in your area, D-Otto?
39. Genesis setting : EDEN
42. Patty Hearst alias : TANIA
46. Abbr. under a dotted line : SIG (Signature)
50. Org. concerned with whistleblower laws : OSHA. I associate them with workplace safety only.
54. SeaWorld splasher : SHAMU. And 87. 54-Across, e.g. : ORCA
57. 20 Mule Team brand : BORAX
58. Within: Pref. : ENTO
59. Couch potato's acquisition, perhaps : PAUNCH. It's perfectly fine to have some belly fat. The paunch protects our stomach and other organs.
61. Many hits : SONGS. Was thinking of Google hits.
63. Masters : HAS DOWN
65. In a way, casually : SORTA
66. Unisex designer fragrance : CK ONE. Tried it once. Did not like the smell.
67. Floor : SHOCK
69. Kind of milk : SOY. When I lived in Shanghai, my standard breakfast was a mug of hot soy milk and a big rice ball (Fantuan). Changed to two fried rice balls after I moved to Guangzhou.
74. CBS-owned cable sta. : SHO. All crosses.
74. CBS-owned cable sta. : SHO. All crosses.
77. Heraldic shield borders : ORLES. This used to stump me.
78. Grammar topic : NOUNS. Wanted USAGE. Clues without a clear "plural" hint always get me.
79. Ultimately become : END UP
83. Harbor : CONCEAL. Can you give me an example on how these two equate?
85. Canadian author and environmentalist Farley __ : MOWAT. Total stranger.
86. Piece of poetry : STANZA
88. TV golf analyst Nick : FALDO. Sir Nick Faldo. Biting at times. Just like Johnny Miller.
91. "No big deal" : IT'S OK
93. Sandcastle maker's aid : PAIL
97. Street cred, say : REP. Reputation.
99. Tests, with "out" : FEELS
100. Mozart's "__ fan tutte" : COSI
101. Food coloring and such : ADDITIVES
107. Real stinker : SKUNK
112. Alaskan island closer to Russia than to the Alaskan mainland : ATTU
115. Doesn't let go of : KEEPS
118. Massage site : SPA
119. Chocolate craving, e.g. : URGE
123. Millard Fillmore's birthplace : LOG CABIN. I only know Lincoln was born in a cabin.
127. Cage or Penn : ACTOR
128. Honey : DEARIE
129. Mini follower : IPOD NANO. Gary and I exchanged our favorite podcasts two weeks ago. My top 5 is not in his top 5.
130. River through Lake Geneva : RHONE
131. Approval : ASSENT
132. Figure that includes returns : NET SALES
1. Features common to Yosemite Sam and Uncle Sam : BEARDS
2. Squeal on : RAT OUT
3. Runs behind : IS LATE. So, can I put IS EARLY in a grid also? How about IS RUDE?
4. Position : STANCE
5. National Teachers Hall of Fame state: Abbr. : KAN. 15. Any of Colorado's fourteeners: Abbr. : MTN. Both unknown trivia to me.
6. Educ. guess : EST
7. Spanish relative : TIA
8. Summer footwear : SANDAL. So cold here.
9. Make murky : BEDIM. Not a word I use.
10. Touchdown letters : ETA
11. The way it goes : FATE. Simple in retrospect. That's how it goes in crossword solving.
12. Pale orders : ALES
13. Talk radio fan : LISTENER
14. Swim cap material : LATEX
16. Like Anne of Green Gables : RED-HEADED
17. Suitor : BEAU
18. About, in memos : IN RE
19. Traipses : GADS
25. Former press secretary Fleischer : ARI. Tiger's adviser for a very short time.
32. Some printers : HPS. Ours is HP Envy.
33. Sibilant sound : WHISH. Not SWISH.
34. Word with seas and spirits : HIGH
35. "You betcha!" : YEP!
37. Inc. kin : LTD
40. Small applications : DABS
41. Friendly opening? : ECO. Eco-friendly.
43. Benito's boys : NINOS
44. Parted : IN TWO
45. Intense feeling : AGONY
47. Branch of Islam : SUNNI
48. Fast tropical swimmers : WAHOOS. Can you pluralize CARP also?
49. More than demand : EXACT
50. Special __ : OPS
51. Common word on Brazilian maps : SAO
52. "Ben-__" : HUR
53. Opponent : ANTI
55. Information desk sign : ASK ME
56. Titania and Oberon, e.g. : MOONS
60. Craft pointed in two directions? : CANOE. I liked the clue once I grokked the "point".
62. "I can't __ ...": Stones lyric : GET NO
64. Sport invented by hunters : SKEET. Oh, good to know. Slight dupe HUNTS (68. Searches).
66. Wine holder : CELLAR
67. Thickset : SQUAT
71. Breeze : DRAFT. And 73. Breeze : SNAP
72. "That hurts!" : YOWIE
74. Thumb one's nose (at) : SCOFF
75. Greek goddesses of the seasons : HORAE. This trio. Learning moment for me.
76. When to enter : ON CUE
80. Type of profiling : DNA
81. Arm of Israel : UZI
82. __ around with : PAL
84. Requires : CALLS UPON
85. Crowds around : MOBS
86. V-formation group : SKEIN. When they're not flying, it's a GAGGLE.
89. Connect across the room : LOCK EYES. Great entry.
90. Thelma and Louise, e.g. : DUO
92. Novus __ seclorum: dollar bill phrase : ORDO
95. "How disappointing!" : TSK
96. Two-time Oscar nominee Ullmann : LIV
98. School gp. : PTA
101. Curtains for Cleopatra? : ASP. Three -letter answer for Cleopatra has to be ASP.
102. Access via phone : DIAL IN
103. Tropical lizard : IGUANA
104. Spoken : VERBAL
105. It purrs when it's cared for : ENGINE. Loved this clue also.
106. Gregg users : STENOS
108. Largest country entirely in Eur. : UKR
109. Silvio's lover in "Pagliacci" : NEDDA. Complete stranger to me as well.
111. "The best __ to be": Browning : IS YET
112. Not quite shut : AJAR And 124. Not shut, poetically : OPE. Quite a few clue echoes today.
113. Apple worker : TECH
114. Baum canine : TOTO
116. Smartphone ancestors : PDAs
117. Unwavering : SURE
121. "__ we okay?" : ARE. Remind me of Marc Maron.
122. Altoids holder : TIN. Some of you were led astray by Tinbeni's comment yesterday. He turned 64 on August 23, 2016, so his "2,000,000,000 seconds old" mile-stone" is misleading but true.
125. Figured out : GOT
126. Fixed-term investments: Abbr. : CDs