24A. Subject of an 1857 Elizabeth Gaskell biography: CHARLOTTE BRONTE.
40A. Organization that really counts: CENSUS BUREAU.
57A. Tribute group: COVER BAND.
78A. Microbrewery choice: CRAFT BEER.
96A. Bletchley Park analysts: CODE BREAKERS. Enigma machines.
109A. Ghee, e.g.: CLARIFIED BUTTER.
3D. Team that hasn't won a Super Bowl in its 50-year existence: CINCINNATI BENGALS.
13D. It's seen on carousels: CHECKED BAGGAGE.
37D. Amateur sport since 1893: COLLEGE BASKETBALL.
51D. Perp processing area: CENTRAL BOOKING.
Simple theme. But holy smokes, just look at this answer grid. Fantastic intersection, Pawel!
As I mentioned before, it takes luck and skills to make this happen. You've got to have an ample supply of C* B* phrases, and you've got the chops to design the grid. Let me pull a low-degree Husker Gary trick and put the Answer Grid in front.
1. Scrabble accessories: RACKS.
6. Long-grained rice: BASMATI. Hindi for "fragrant". Picard's favorite rice. Oo likes Jasmine rice. I like short-grained white rice.
13. Cajun crustacean: CRAWDAD. Never had it.
20. Target reader of a series of guides, facetiously: IDIOT. Complete Idiot's Guides.
21. Odysseus, e.g.: ITHACAN.
22. Struck a chord: HIT HOME. Great fill.
23. Kids' eager query: CAN WE?
26. Seal predator: ORCA.
27. Really enjoy, with "in": BASK.
28. '80s police show partner: LACEY. "Cagney & Lacey".
29. Better, to a rapper: ILLER.
31. Proprietors' places: INNS.
35. Generous limit?: SKY.The sky's the limit.
36. "I'm __": "Dragnet" line: A COP.
43. Meet with privately: SEE ALONE.
45. Tearjerker need: HANKIE. Been ages since I last used a handkerchief.
46. Enriched: FATTENED.
48. Nautical time units: BELLS. Hi there Spitzboov!
49. Actor Morales: ESAI. Always remember him as Tony.
50. Tourism prefix: ECO.
52. Mojito flavoring: LIME.
53. Like some portrait photos: BACK-LIT.
55. Unyielding: SET. Santa was sure stubborn at times.
56. Having four sharps: IN E.
59. Phoenix-to-Albuquerque dir.: ENE.
60. Gill openings: SLITS.
62. Like the Valkyries: NORSE.
64. "No Limit Top __": 1999 rap album: DOGG.
65. Stress, they say: AGER.
66. Shows obvious anger: BRISTLES.
68. Teddies, e.g.: LINGERIE.
70. Seehorn of "Better Call Saul": RHEA.
72. Diamond stats: ERAS.
73. R&B singer __ Marie: TEENA.
74. __ Dumbledore, Hogwarts headmaster: ALBUS. Forgot. We had him before.
77. Poetic time: EEN.
80. Play date: GIG.
82. RSA ruling party: ANC. African National Congress.
83. "Yeah, so?": BIG DEAL.
85. Logician's "E": ERAT.
86. Either of baseball's Griffeys: KEN. Untarnished by any steroid scandal. Cool and clean.
87. Food stamp?: USDA. Nailed it.
88. How the euphoric walk: ON AIR.
89. "The Godfather" catchphrase: BADA BING. Remember him?
92. Lost intentionally: TANKED.
94. Rockefeller, e.g.: OIL BARON.
98. Trueheart of comics: TESS.
99. Bass ending: OON.
100. Business bigwig: EXEC.
101. Worshiping figure: ORANT. Regular in our old Star Tribune Daily days.
102. One of a deck's pair: JOKER.
104. "Star Trek" villain: KHAN.
106. Scottish resort town known for its whisky: OBAN. Looks charming.
116. Low area: SWALE.
117. Settled accounts, so to speak: GOT EVEN. Another solid fill.
118. Big wardrobe: ARMOIRE. Great also.
119. Almost off: ON LOW.
120. Salad choice: ICEBERG. In Guangzhou, iceberg is often cooked, with oyster sauce.
121. Low-quality material, idiomatically: SOW'S EAR.
122. Castaway's place: ISLET.
1. Bad guy in the song "Copacabana": RICO. Learning moment for me.
2. Month before Nisan: ADAR.
4. Brando's "A Streetcar Named Desire" role: KOWALSKI. Stanley.
5. Chateau __ Michelle winery: STE. No idea. It's in Washington.
6. Antacid option: BICARB.
7. Olympians, e.g.: Abbr.: ATHS. Athletes.
8. One-named Colombian singer: SHAKIRA.
9. Scuff, e.g.: MAR.
10. Often-injured knee part, briefly: ACL.
11. Confucian path: TAO.
12. IOC part: Abbr.: INTL.
14. Marbled cut: RIB EYE.
15. "Give it __": A TRY.
16. One of many Seuss village residents: WHO.
17. Put on: DON.
18. Product, say: Abbr.: AMT. Got via crosses.
19. Capital of Denmark?: DEE. Denmark.
25. Nice cup?: TASSE. Just French for cup. Also 30. Him, to Henri: LUI. 54. Sylvie's seraph: ANGE. Angel in French. And 90. Year abroad: ANNEE. For Splynter.
27. Consult with the doctor: BE SEEN. Not fond of this answer or BE LATE last time. Command phrases are fine: BE CAREFUL, BE SEATED, BE BRIEF etc.
32. Figure in red: NET LOSS.
33. Indigenous: NATIVE.
34. Defiant challenge: SUE ME.
36. Fashion model Wek: ALEK. Look at her long legs.
38. Connected, in a way: ON LINE.
39. Annoy: PESTER.
40. Mating game: CHESS.
41. Flip chart holder: EASEL.
42. Roswell sighting: UFO.
44. Sequence sung like "Twinkle twinkle": A B C D.
47. Less cool: NERDIER.
56. "It __": formal self-identification: IS I.
57. Reached an apex: CRESTED.
58. Cold War capital: BONN. West Germany's capital.
61. Singing syllable: TRA.
63. "Frozen" snowman: OLAF.
65. Catch a bug: AIL.
67. Evening on Etna: SERA.
68. Small fishing boat concern: LEE TIDE. Also 76. Boatloads: SCADS.
69. Taunt: RAG.
70. Recover from a crash: REBOOT. Computer crash.
71. Bum: HEINIE.
73. Place to keep leaves: TEA BOX. My friend Carmen just introduced this Dates, Longan, Goji berry tea to me. A few months ago, Carmen was in the same island (Sanya, Hainan) D-Otto visited in the 1980s. Very very few foreigners ventured into Hainan then. My friends were all in awe that D-Otto even stayed at the resort hotel Chairman Man favored.
75. Over-__: sports wager: UNDER.
78. Michael of "Arrested Development": CERA.
79. Prepare for impact: BRACE.
81. Summer hire, perhaps: INTERN.
84. Claim to call: DIBS.
86. Erstwhile CIA rival: KGB. What's their current rival?
87. Algebra staples: UNKNOWNS.
91. Casual Friday casualty?: NECKTIE.
93. Bond rating: AAA.
95. One whose business is mostly overhead?: ROOFER. Nice clue.
97. Lion or tiger: ROARER.
102. Banter: JIVE.
103. Nutritional stds.: RDAS.
105. Mother of Ares: HERA.
107. Ointment additive: ALOE. My aloe vera is still alive. Indoor plant now. I can't risk the unexpected rain again.
108. Mature eft: NEWT.
109. Pixar Studios' specialty, for short: CGI. Computer-Generated Imagery.
110. __ cit.: footnote abbr.: LOC.
111. Bore, as a cost: ATE.
112. Yank's opponent: REB.
113. "Dude!": BRO.
114. Underground org.?: UMW. United Mine Workers.
115. How-__: instruction books: TOS. TTP is a natural, a walking encyclopedia.
116. "__ lied": SO I.