Don's and C.C.'s wonderful Sunday collaboration was a treat for me to do. I'd like to think I would have gotten the theme without the title but my mental density is quite high! This great crossword team has used seven phrases/names where the first word is, well, the first word in a familiar sequence. Way cool! Let's explore what Don "Hard G" and C.C. have given us today.
First of all the theme fills.
21. Willie Mays won 12 in 12 consecutive years : GOLD GLOVE AWARDS - Annual award to best fielder at their position in MLB and the Olympic medal awarded to athlete who is FIRST in their event
68. Certain group leader : ALPHA MALE - My idea of an ALPHA MALE and the capital letters of the Greek Alphabet with ALPHA being the FIRST and 13. Fraternity O's : OMICRON(S) being the 15th
94. Early '60s group that included John Glenn : MERCURY SEVEN - The first group of NASA astronauts and the planet that is FIRST in order from the Sun
116. 1990 movie with a muscular teacher : KINDERGARTEN COP - A "meh" Ahnold movie and the FIRST class most kids have in school.
14. "Rip Van Winkle" author : WASHINGTON IRVING - The early 19th century (corrected from earlier mistyped 18th) American author and the man who was the FIRST U.S. president
36. Component of hair bleach : HYDROGEN PEROXIDE - I am familiar with the phrase "Peroxide Blonde" and Hydrogen is the FIRST element in the periodic table
Now let's examine the balance of Don's and C.C.'s fill from the FIRST to the LAST
5. Crossing sign? : PLUS or multiply
9. Some old notebooks : IBMS - Their first notebooks took a pretty substantial lap
13. Came up short : OWED
17. USNA part: Abbr. : ACAD
18. Snuck : CREPT - Wow, September certainly CREPT up on me
19. Eponymous store founder : MACY - We don't shop there but here is the image it engenders to us
20. Gulf State native : OMANI
24. Brake components : DISCS - They are clearly visible on my wheels
25. "More!" : ENCORE
26. Left hanging : IN LIMBO - In the movies and TV they call them Cliff Hangers
27. John Wayne types : MACHOS
28. In the offing : NEAR - Seeing Halloween decorations for sale means the time to see Christmas items on the shelves is NEAR
30. "99 Luftballons" singer : NENA - A song about the insanity of war
31. Org. created in a 1949 sports merger : NBA - The Basketball Association of America merged with the National Basketball League. The Chicago Studebakers of the NBL broke the pro sports color line with six black players six years before Jackie Robinson broke in in 1949
33. Lyft offer : RIDE - We are huge Uber fans and will never rent a car in a big city again.
34. German exclamation : ACH - ACH Du Lieber! ACH is a German exclamation, Du is "my" and Lieber is "my beloved" Gott (God) is sometimes added as well.
37. Pitt of "The Big Short" : BRAD
42. Glasgow's river : CLYDE - This beautiful bridge is one of twenty-one that cross the River Clyde near Glasgow.
44. Vineyard grape : PINOT
46. Decorative metalwork : PLATING
47. "And there you have it!" : TADA - A satisfying refrain for us crossword solvers
48. "No worries" : IT'S OK
49. Kept out of sight : HID
50. Brewery named for a Dutch river : AMSTEL
53. Stonehenge worshiper : DRUID - What they will be doing eighteen days from now
55. Brahms' "Variations on a __ of Paganini" : THEME - Not on my playlist
57. Putin's former org. : KGB - Komitet gosudarstvennoy bezopasnosti
58. Wish Tree artist : ONO - Gee, I wonder why she's famous
59. Canada's most populous province : ONTARIO
61. Pot growth from overwatering : ALGAE - Our yard has mushrooms growing in it during this wet summer
64. Sonata finale, perhaps : RONDO - A more familiar use of RONDO to this cultural philistine
66. "I __ differ" : BEG TO
70. Hunter with a belt : ORION - The best constellation in the winter sky!
71. Von Trapp girl who sings "Sixteen Going on Seventeen" with Rolf : LIESL - Later in the movie, Rolf has to choose between LIESL and the Fuhrer and we all know how that came out.
72. Eye twinkle : GLEAM
73. Enable : EMPOWER
75. Subject for Keats : URN
76. "__ Kapital" : DAS - Karl Marx's seminal work
78. Capri or Elba, locally : ISOLA - L'ISOLA di Capri è incredibilmente bella (The island of Capri is incredibly beautiful)
80. Jack in the deck : KNAVE
82. Settles, as a debt : REPAYS
84. GI bill? : DOL - A DOLlar is a bill that is Issued by the U.S. Gov't. Hmmm...
86. Stout quantities : PINTS
88. Enter the pool, in a way : DIVE
90. Exotic vacation, maybe : ECOTOUR -Probably no skyscrapers or theme parks on this tour
92. Praline nut : PECAN - Pronunciation?
93. Ed with Emmys : ASNER - Look up the word "Irascible", it has wonderful Ed's picture
97. Cherry-pick : CULL - Another use - I've seen many teachers who deserved to be CULLED from the profession. Tenure is a two-way street
99. Sound near a "Beware of Dog" sign : GRR
100. Dog attractor : ODOR
101. East, to Goethe : OST - Berlin ist 177 Meilen östlich von Hannover (Berlin is 177 miles EAST of Hanover)
102. Shelter chorus : ARFS - Sights and sounds at these places tug at my heartstrings
104. Kite trailer : TAIL
106. Philly cagers : SIXERS - They are 109 - 301 in the last 5 years.
108. Hotel convenience : BAR SOAP
111. Heir and heiress : SCIONS
115. Way to step : ASIDE - Tennessee Ernie warned 'em!
118. Like acid in some disinfectants : IODIC - Dictionary.com - "Containing iodine"
119. Fascinated by : INTO
120. Citrus hybrids : UGLIS
121. James of jazz : ETTA
122. Tech gadget review site : CNET - Popular with geeks and non-geeks alike
123. Trade org. : ASSN - A better abbr. than DOL 😁
124. Island in a computer game : MYST
125. Roulette bet : NOIR - Je vais mettre 100 euros sur onze NOIR (I will put 100 euros on eleven black)
1. Printer output : PAGE - I renewed my Substitute Teacher's Certificate online last week and was able to print it out the PAGE home two days later. Oh yeah, they wanted $55 too.
2. Tapped image : ICON
3. It's 1 on the Mohs scale : TALC - It's been in the news quite a bit lately
4. Accessory : ADD ON - Does your car really need $5,000 rims?
5. Expert : PRO
6. Big name in denim : LEVI - A Reno, NV tailor Jacob Davis invented canvas pants reenforced with copper rivets but LEVI Strauss got the patent and made millions
7. Home to the first collegiate business sch. : U PENN - Also the home of the Quakers in Ivy League Athletics
8. Groan elicitor : STALE JOKE
9. 1967 Spencer Davis Group hit : I'M A MAN
10. Stinging rebuke : BARB
11. Pioneering fast food name : MCDONALD - Dick and Mac MCDONALD went to a tennis court in San Bernardino, CA and drew an outline to develop their "speedy service" model. Ray Kroc then came in and took it world-wide whether the brothers liked it or not
12. Part of TBS: Abbr. : SYS
15. Protect from hackers, hopefully : ENCODE
16. Insults : DISSES
18. Golf-friendly forecast : CLEAR - Our eclipse forecast left in some wispy clouds but the event still qualified for that most overused of adjectives - AWESOME!
20. __ Mae: Whoopi's "Ghost" role : ODA
22. Diving bird : GREBE
23. Succeed in : WIN AT
27. Whirlpool brand : MAYTAG - These MAYTAG, Whirlpool and Kenmore washers are all made in the same factory in Clyde, Ohio
29. Totally absorbed : RAPT
32. Push-up top : BRA
34. Take the stage : ACT
35. Garbed : CLAD
38. Purify, as whiskey : DISTILL - This famous DISTILLERY is in "dry" Moore county and so you can tour the facility but you can't buy any of their whiskey there.
40. Reuters rival : UPI
41. Fullback on the NFL's 1960s
All-Decade Team : JIM BROWN - He was like a man among boys
43. Unnerves : DAUNTS
45. Pessimist's words : NO HOPE - Only Faith and Charity showed up and so there was...
48. Wyo. neighbor : IDA - I am not repeating that joke about why no girl wants to be Miss IDAHO
49. Captain's post : HELM
51. Inner: Pref. : ENDO
52. Minnesota's state bird : LOON - Fabulous Katharine Hepburn as Ethel Thayer conversing with the LOONS in On Golden Pond
54. "See?!" : I TOLD YOU - "We should never have tried to drive through that water over the road!"
56. Polite addresses : MAAMS - It took my daughter a while to adjust to being called this when she started teaching
57. Stay fresh : KEEP
60. Cleaning cloths : RAGS
62. Language that gave us "galore" : GAELIC
63. Annual fact book : ALMANAC
65. Daphnis and Echo, e.g. : OREADS - Ancient Greek nymphs who seemed to have everything in the wash
66. Fuzzy image : BLUR
67. Its legislature is the Oireachtas : EIRE - Irish legislature
69. Hard rain? : HAIL
74. Signs off on : OK'S
77. Colt .45s, since 1965 : ASTROS
79. Venue for free discussion : OPEN FORUM - Many of these venues today seem to be confrontational
81. Constantly : EVER
83. Sanction, as a college : ACCREDIT
84. London trash cans : DUSTBINS
85. Prospector's target : ORE
87. Letter-shaped bolt holder : T-NUT
89. __ on the side of caution : ERR
91. Cries of dismay : OYS
92. As such : PER SE - In and of itself. Many people in Texas are not first responders PER SE, but they are acting like ones when necessary.
93. Tea party attendee : ALICE
94. Inlaid design : MOSAIC
95. Rival of Tesla : EDISON - Tesla once worked for EDISON but quit when he felt he was cheated
96. __ Trophy: annual PGA honor for lowest scoring average : VARDON - In this lovely movie, 20-year-old Francis Ouimet defeated golf legend Harry Vardon in the 1900 U.S. Open. For some reasons the actors' names are over the wrong character.
98. Doesn't fade : LASTS
103. Yielding to gravity : SAGGY
105. Tablecloth material : LINEN
107. DVR button : REC
109. Farm swarm : ANTS - Our classroom had an ANT FARM when I was in sixth grade
110. Besties : PALS
112. Numerical prefix : OCTO - I am nine years away from becoming an OCTOgenarian
113. "Moi?" : NOT I - But everyone wanted to eat the bread
114. Go toe-to-toe : SPAR
116. Korean carmaker : KIA
117. Slowing, to an orch. : RIT - Look carefully and you will find it here:
LAST things LAST - Time for comments: