My 2018 begins with a C.C. special in which initial-isms are unwound to create whimsical new clues and fill. I think this is my 4th or 5th Friday from C.C. solo, though she has done some Friday collaborations. It is interesting to watch her growth as a constructor, and the layers of subtlety she now includes in every effort. She makes clues difficult without making them either unfair or the fill obscure. I also think her exposure to other editors and styles of puzzles has helped that growth. Let me know what you think.
ALFREDO, ATE DIRT, KARAOKE, PANACEA, RADIATE, SEDATED and NICE GOING are all fun fill, but TEARSTAIN is wonderful.
17A. Attire with a spreadsheet design? : EXCEL SHIRT (10). XL SHIRT gets repurposed.
24A. Disreputable court proceeding? : SEEDY CASE (9) C.D. CASE gets repurposed.
50A. Extracts from Wrigley Field's walls? : IVY FLUIDS (9). I.V. FLUIDS gets repurposed.
61A. Transports for fertilizer? : PEATY BOATS (10). P.T. BOATS gets repurposed.
1. Fey of "Whiskey Tango Foxtrot": TINA. A spectacularly hidden hint to the type of puzzle.
5. Ready to rock: EAGER. The "E" was my last fill. Sometimes we make the easy hard.
10. Mug shot subject: PERP. C.C. slipped in a Corner word.
14. "I got this!" : ON IT.
15. Wheels since 1986: ACURA. This car was in Monday's first puzzle of the year.
16. Adidas rival: AVIA. I think Nike is a bigger rival.
19. Minor points: NITS. The lifeblood of much puzzle discussion and another C.C.inside joke.
20. Under: SEDATED. Good Friday deception; I can hear the doctor asking, "Is he under yet?"
21. More than tickles: ELATES. I think this is one of C.C.'s favorite words.
23. Liquor in a Singapore sling: GIN. I have had this before - I will always remember Albany.
26. Unskilled in: POOR AT.
29. Hebrides tongue: ERSE. Scottish Gaelic spoken HERE.
30. Arrived, in a way: ALIT.
31. Hardly an original: APER.
34. Office administrations: OATHS. I love this clue/fill; perfect deception. At every level government officials are sworn in; after a while, many are sworn at.
38. Superstation that broadcasts some Cubs games: WGN. TV independent owned by the people who syndicate the LAT.
39. Old Testament prophet: EZEKIEL. I spent way too much time trying to squeeze this into being a theme fill, but "KIEL" just did not fit the pattern of the others.
41. Creature for whose shape Anguilla was named: EEL. Named by COLUMBUS?
42. "Broca's Brain" author: SAGAN. The entire BOOK. Or WIKI.
44. Speed away, with "out": PEEL.
45. Syrup brand since 1902: KARO.
46. Cuts (off): LOPS.
48. Sacred crawler: SCARAB. Do you remember this SCENE?
55. Monopoly quartet: Abbr. : RRS.
56. __ network: NEURAL. Good solid Friday clue/fill and a mini-theme with 42A.
57. Emit: RADIATE.
60. Greased auto part: AXLE. I am so not an auto mechanic type.
64. Scholarship consideration: NEED. Sounds counter-intuitive doesn't it?
65. Umbilical variety: INNIE. I was an innie, but now I have an umbilical hernia.
66. Lover's greeting: KISS.
67. Old U.S. pump sign: ESSO.
68. Bluto and Pluto: TOONS. I like the rhyme but it took me a while to see what a sailor from Popeye and a Disney dog had in common.
69. "Echoes in Rain" singer : ENYA.
2. Sydney band originally called The Farriss Brothers: INXS. If you want to listen- do so HERE.
3. "Good work!" : NICE GOING.
4. Swallowed one's pride: ATE DIRT. Hmm.
5. Needle point? : EAST. Simple, but this took so long as I to get away from sewing.
6. Soreness: ACHES.
7. Museum offering: GUIDE. Another good example of Friday deception in clue/fill.
8. Miss on "Jeopardy!," e.g.: ERR. Pretty much amiss anywhere.
9. Involving nudity, maybe: RATED-R. The rating can be earned by hard language, or tough violence, or nudity within sensual scenes, or drug abuse or other elements, or a combination of some of the above. MPAA.
10. Cure-all: PANACEA. I have always loved this word. Panacea comes from a Greek word meaning "all-healing", and Panacea was the goddess of healing.
11. 1980 Tony winner for Best Musical: EVITA.
12. Bat mitzvahs, e.g.: RITES.
13. So yesterday: PASSE.
18. Superboy's girlfriend: LANA. Pretty girl. LINK.
22. Disinfectant brand: LYSOL.
25. Like many "Buffy" settings: EERIE.
26. Kittens play with them: PAWS. Again, a small head fake- not toys.
27. Lingerie brand: OLGA. HISTORY.
28. Whirling toon: TAZ.
32. Drink with a Zero Sugar variety: PEPSI.
33. __ out a meager existence: EKE.
35. Mark on a Dear John letter, perhaps: TEAR STAIN. Fabulous clue/fill.
36. Zeus' jealous wife: HERA. She is back.
37. One who doesn't pick up much: SLOB. Not a dolt, but a messy one.
39. __ Gay: ENOLA. I am tired of this reminder.
40. "The Complete Short Game" author: ELS. How many three-letter named golfers are there?
43. Fettuccine sauce: ALFREDO. I add tuna and peas for a complete meal.
45. Bar attraction: KARAOKE. Kara 空 "empty" and ōkesutora オーケストラ "orchestra"); the same kara as in karate (empty hands).
47. Ministry: PULPIT. Is this a stretch?
49. Bed with enclosed sides: CRIB. I hope no other answer came to mind. They are getting fancy.
50. Absurd: INANE.
51. Annoys: VEXES.
52. Celebrated seasons: YULES.
53. Pipe cleaner: DRANO. Not the one you fill with tobacco.
54. Chemise fabric: SATIN.
58. Salon assortment: DYES. Beauty salon, not parlor.
59. Site for handicrafts: ETSY. Another HISTORY.
62. "Reflection" musician: ENO. Last week it was emo.
63. Issuer of five million-plus IDs annually: SSA. Social Security Administration.
This puzzle was so clean, I really do not have much to say, or maybe I am just tired. Thank you C.C. and my official Happy New Year to you all.