Another 2018 debut puzzle, the first solo on a Friday this year, though Priscilla Clark did a collaboration here with Jeff Chen. We have had a spate of going in the wrong direction, and this time it was a simple turn the first word around, with a simple reveal if you needed it. For a newbie, the non-theme fill had some real sparkle. We are given ANEMONE, CAKE MIX, ISOTOPE, ITALIANO, OH DEAR ME, SLED RIDE and VINEYARD- fun!
17A. *Pay back: PRATTLE ON(9). PAY <----><----> <---->YAP. The clue backward is YAP, hence the fill. ---->---->---->
28A. *Step back: DOMESTIC ANIMALS (15). STEP <---->----> <---->----> <---->PETS.---->
48A. *Snap back: GIVESABADREVIEW(15). SNAP <----><----> <---->PANS.---->---->---->
64A. One way to drive ... and what the last word of each starred clue really means: IN REVERSE (9).
1. Place for a guard: SHIN. I thought this was a clever way to begin.
5. American sports org.: USOC. United States Olympic Committee.
9. Walk or wind preceder: CROSS. Walk, wind and word!
14. Suffix for the wealthy: AIRE. As in Billion-
15. Actor who's played a doctor and senator on TV: ALDA. Alan- he played Benjamin Franklin "Hawkeye" Pierce in M*A*S*H and Senator Vinick in The West Wing. They were not similar characters. LINK.
16. What captions can capture: AUDIO. I love the alliteration, even though it is not accurate.
19. Pay homage, in a way: KNEEL. A very im[portant way.
20. Basil sauce: PESTO. Don't use Thai basil.
2 cups fresh basil leaves, packed (can sub half the basil leaves with baby spinach)
1/2 cup freshly grated Romano or Parmesan-Reggiano cheese (about 2 ounces)
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/3 cup pine nuts (can sub chopped walnuts)
3 garlic cloves, minced (about 3 teaspoons)
1/4 teaspoon salt, more to taste
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, more to taste
21. Teed off: DROVE. Not angry, well-done misdirection.
23. __ Fridays: TGI.
24. Hideout: LAIR.
26. Like some sale quantities: LIMITED.
32. She played Mia in "Pulp Fiction": UMA.
33. "I did it!": TADA. A solvers' best friend.
34. Prefix with thermal: EXO.
35. "Puss in Boots" baddie: OGRE. Am not much of a fan of the story or the movie, but OGRE is always a good answer.
37. Brown in a Croce title: LEROY.
"And it's bad, bad Leroy Brown
The baddest man in the whole damned town
Badder than old King Kong
And meaner than a junkyard dog"
39. Houston suburb named for initials from the Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad: KATY. We have a CSO to D-O; I did not know the name was derived from the MKT Railroad Company and was commonly referred to as "the K-T," which was also its stock exchange symbol.
43. 2018 Super Bowl designation: LII.
45. Compared with: THAN.
47. Tilling tool: HOE.
53. Buttercup family member: ANEMONE. Gardening TIPS.
54. Beat at the buzzer: EDGE.
55. Benching units: Abbr.: LBS. Bench pressing.
56. Big name in little trucks: TONKA.
58. Many a UAE resident: EXPAT. Is this true?
62. Chain with a dog-and-cat logo: PETCO.
66. Really dug: ATE UP.
67. Command to Rover: COME. Sit, Roll Over!
68. Mindless repetition: ROTE.
69. Gumbo server: LADLE.
70. Govt. branch: EXEC.
71. PR firm's forte: SPIN.
1. '90s-'00s NFL Pro Bowler Warren: SAPP. His STATS.
2. Take on: HIRE.
3. Accts. funded annually, perhaps: IRAS.
4. Prickly plant: NETTLE.
5. Chi.-based flier: UAL.
6. Downhill excursion: SLEDRIDE. It is one of the only things I ever missed from childhood.
7. Bleach feature: ODOR.
8. Rapeseed oil: CANOLA. Oh, that explains it all.
9. Baking convenience: CAKE MIX.
10. Winning streak: RUN.
11. 2003 self-titled folk album: ODETTA. The VOICE of the Civil Rights movement.
12. Superman co-creator Jerry: SIEGEL.
13. Cones and cubes: SOLIDS.
18. Doomed, slangily: TOAST.
22. Resort near Cape Cod, with "the": VINEYARD. Reason to visit New England include these ISLANDS.
25. Napoli native: ITALIANO.
27. "It's just a scratch": I'M OK.
28. Outkast, for one: DUO.
29. Texter's "Shocking!": OMG.
30. Damage: MAR.
31. Magna __: CARTA. Magna Carta Libertatum was so much more than most REMEMBER.
36. I, O or U: ELEM. Iodine (53) - Oxygen (8) - Uranium (92). Nice misdirection.
38. "My goodness!": OH DEAR ME.
40. Rarely served fish?: AHI. Ahi tuna is usually served uncooked.
41. Low digit: TOE.
42. Archery wood: YEW.
44. Uranium-238, e.g.: ISOTOPE. Defined as each of two or more forms of the same element that contain equal numbers of protons but different numbers of neutrons in their nuclei, and hence differ in relative atomic mass but not in chemical properties; in particular, a radioactive form of an element.
46. Beersheba's locale: NEGEV. Beersheba, also spelled Beer-Sheva, is the largest city in the Negev desert of southern Israel
48. Female bud: GALPAL.
49. Still being tested, as software: IN BETA. You can learn it all makes SENSE.
50. __ interest: VESTED.
52. Irritations: VEXERS.
57. Polk's middle name: KNOX. James Knox Polk was an American politician who served as the 11th President of the United States. He previously was Speaker of the House of Representatives and Governor of Tennessee.
59. Support, with "up": PROP.
60. Product of white Muscat grapes: ASTI. Asti (also known as Asti Spumante) is a sparkling white Italian wine that is produced throughout southeastern Piedmont but is particularly focused in the towns of Asti and Alba. Made from the Moscato Bianco grape, it is sweet and low in alcohol and often served with dessert.
61. New driver, usually: TEEN.
63. __-de-sac: CUL.
65. Continental trade gp.: EEC. The European Economic Community was created in 1957 by the Treaty of Rome, which was signed by Belgium, France, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, and West Germany.
Well, there is much to talk about; welcome Mt. McHugh. Please stop by and tell us your story and you will hear some of ours. Thank you Corner, and thank you for the incredibly beautiful spring. Lemonade out.