It has been a few years since I had the pleasure of writing up an Ed Sessa puzzle. This one made me miss Barry G., as the revealing circles do not exist on this Friday effort, eliminating the competitive disadvantage we have heard about. After filling the first three theme answers, I had no clue where we were going. It did not take long to decipher the reveal, but finding the "stones" which were hidden was a challenge. Once RUBY was was revealed, it made me look for GEM stones, and poof. Thank you my role model and mentor. With two 15 letter themers and two 12s, we have a full theme. We also have some very interesting fill - JELLICLE, CEREBRAL, ISLAMABAD and FRAGRANCE are each nice challenges.
17A. Last line of Dale Evans Rogers' "Happy Trails" : TILL WE MEET AGAIN (15). This was one of the first TV shows I saw in the mid 50's. I sing it in my head, but never aloud.
27A. Got laughs, hopefully : CRACKED A JOKE (12). I was trying to make something out of rearranging JOKE.
43A. Alternative for beef avoiders : TURKEY BURGER (12). Then this happened and I was lost, until the RUB met the Y.
57A. What's left by an ace investigator ... and in each of the four longest puzzle answers : NO ENOTS UNTURNED (15). NO STONE UNTURNED is the phrase that turns STONE to ENOTS, ETAGA to AGATE; EDAJ to JADE and YBUR to RUBY. It is also what a good detective would do. Since solvers are in part detectives, I say- the game is afoot Watson!
1. Device used with a planchette : OUIJA. Really cool, hard first clue, which luckily comes from French. (little plank)
9. 2000s Israeli prime minister Sharon : ARIEL. His END was a strange story.
14. Rip out stitchwork in : UNSEW. Legitimate word, but why do we need it.
15. "The Louisville __": nickname for Ali : LIP. Mostly when he was still Cassius Clay.
16. "Five Weeks in a Balloon" novelist : VERNE. This was his last publication. LIST.
20. Puget Sound swimmer : SEAL. These GUYS.
21. Bull pen locale : RODEO. Nice deception for the baseball people.
22. Sci. subject : ANATomy.
23. Recipe directive : MIX IN.
25. Cat of many colors : CALICO.
31. Stately : NOBLE.
32. Tomato type : ROMA. I mentioned this before, but they are not from Italy. "It was developed by the USDA's Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists in Beltsville, Maryland in the 1950s as a fusarium wilt-resistant cultivar." Wiki.
33. Bird __ : FLU.
36. Scottish countryside sight : BRAE.
37. Northern Kentucky county : BOONE. Not far from Cincinnati.
39. Complain : CRAB. An odd dupe with this Simpson's star...56D. Krabappel of "The Simpsons" : EDNA. When actress Marcia Wallace died so did this CHARACTER.
40. Dancer Charisse : CYD. Making her second appearance this week. She was born Tula Ellice Finklea and her baby brother called her "sid" trying to say sis. She was an amazing dancer, and her turn was a great part of Dancing in the Rain.
41. Stew veggies : PEAS. I never use them, but it does rhyme with....
42. Kid around with : TEASE.
46. Prepare for cooking, as sole : DEBONE. Fillet anyone?
49. One getting under your skin : VEXER. Okay Ed, you win. I know this is real, from the French VEXER, but with CRAB, DEBONE etc. it is a bit much.
50. From the top : ANEW.
51. Time server, usually : FELON.
54. Block in a barn : BALE. Hay, now many barns have you been to lately?
60. Mischievous : ELFIN. Because they were small they were not thought to be as dangerous.
61. Gloucester's cape : ANN. Not a garment but a New England site to see.
62. "The Heart of Georgia" : MACON. It is literally close to the center by the Ocmulgee River,
63. MS. enclosures : SASES. Self addressed stamped envelopes.
64. Strings for Israel Kamakawiwo'ole : UKE. The name was obviously Hawaiian so the fill was easy. I was not familiar with this bigger than life performer.
65. Legislative assemblies : PLENA. While I know the Latin, I do not understand this usage. I know it is the plural of PLENUM....anyway a tough beginning and end to the acrosses.
1. See 59-Down : OUTS. OOOO.
2. Combined, in Cannes : UNIE. Etats unis.
3. Capital NW of New Delhi : ISLAMABAD. Maybe for your next VACATION some time in Pakistan.
4. Type of cat in "Cats" : JELLICLE.
5. "How cute!" : AWW. I am sure CED went to see Cats many times..
6. Marzipan staple : ALMOND. I am a FAN.
7. Competed : VIED.
8. Parrier's tool : EPEE. To ward off a sword.
9. Clark's "Mogambo" co-star : AVA.
10. Entertain lavishly : REGALE.
11. Tabriz native : IRANI. More mid-east geography.
12. "Giant Brain" unveiled in 1946 : ENIAC.
13. Slowly, to Salieri : LENTO. The Italian composer depicted in Amadeus as Mozart's rival.
18. Point Pelee's lake : ERIE. Back to our heartland.
19. In the future : TO COME.
24. Jag model : XKE. I wanted one badly back in 1972 but could not afford the $2,500.00 she wanted.
26. Dossier shorthand : AKA. Also known as.
27. "Squawk Box" airer : CNBC.
28. 2016 FedExCup winner McIlroy : RORY.
29. Came up : AROSE.
30. "The Daily Show" host before Trevor : JON. Stewart.
33. Chanel offering : FRAGRANCE. Or more officially- smell good.
34. Whack a mole? : LASE. All perps- no idea what this game has to do with lasers.
35. Lyft competitor : UBER.
37. Deprived (of) : BEREFT.
38. Whiskey barrel wood : OAK. Now breweries are buying them to use for their beer.
39. Highbrow : CEREBRAL.
41. "The lowest form of humor—when you don't think of it first": Oscar Levant : PUN. My kind of guy; he would tell all the starlets if they played their cards right they could take home an Oscar.
42. Prom rental : TUX.
43. Many an off-campus local : TOWNIE. As a product of private schools, I had many varied experiences with townies.
44. '60s Batgirl portrayer Craig : YVONNE. She was on the TV show. I remember best for this DANCE.
45. At an angle : BENT.
46. Some North Sea fishermen : DANES.
47. Name on a historic B-29 : ENOLA. The first A-bomb.
48. Squawks : BEEFS.
52. Genesis brother : ESAU. Who was sadly for him and his children...a....
53. Blockhead : LUNK.
55. "Coming Home" singer Bridges : LEON.
58. Add-__ : ONS.
59. Caller of 1-Down : UMP. End where we began the downs.
Well, I am back this week with a challenge from Ed. I look forward to your thoughts as my mind is all over the place. Thank you all, and thank you Ed. Lemonade out.