TITLE: Time To Move Your Vowels!
Throw in a generous dash of proper nouns, mythological creatures, Spanish and some muppets and you have the ingredients for a lovely Wednesday exercise. I caught on early and wondered what the fill for MUSS would be. Not to worry!
Let's first look at the theme fills from Kurt and Jan-Michele:
20. Sustained nuclear chain reaction requirement : CRITICAL MASS - This is an illustration of the reaching of critical mass in 1942 in an underground squash court at the University of Chicago as part of The Manhattan Project
27. Really botch things : MAKE A MESS - After spending $20B for 2,000 new trains, the French found out they are too wide for 1,300 platforms which will cost millions more to retrofit
35. Haphazard : HIT OR MISS - Ask Ford Motor Company
45. Edible seaweed : IRISH MOSS - Got any catsup?
51. A breeze to use, in adspeak : NO FUSS NO MUSS - Looks easy to me and more palatable than Irish Moss.
Kurt and Jan-Michele definitely did not aMASS a MESS and gathered no MOSS or MISS a trick in this MUSSless puzzle:
1. Feathered Nile wader : IBIS
5. Tropical hardwoods : TEAKS
10. Title of respect : MAAM
14. Have a flat? : RENT
15. Barbera's partner in cartoons : HANNA - They had quite a stable
16. Sea eagle : ERNE
17. Designer Schiaparelli : ELSA crossing 2. __ Paese: Italian cheese : BEL (Beautiful country) got my Natick right up front and I got it, uh, right
18. Moving : ASTIR
19. Journalist Jacob : RIIS - His muckraking was very discomforting for Tammany Hall
23. Room where you may have to stoop : ATTIC - Anne Frank's hiding place
26. One working with dough : KNEADER - or with a puppy
31. Port and claret : WINES
32. __-Magnon : CRO
33. The Cowboys of the NCAA's Big 12 : OSU - Their sugar daddy Boone Pickens is an "awl man"
34. __ one's time: waited : BIDED
38. Tires (out) : POOPS
40. Give in to the munchies : EAT
41. __ green : PEA
44. Emmy nominee Fischer of "The Office" : JENNA - She played sensible Pam against Steve Carrell's eccentric Michael
48. 1992 Disney film featuring a magic lamp : ALADDIN
50. Wild West brothers : EARPS - Most famous residents of Pella, IA in their boyhood
55. Moscow news acronym : ITAR - Informatsionnye Telegrafnoye Agentstvto of Rossi (Information Telegraph Agency of Russia)
56. Retired racehorses, often : SIRES - Studs works too
57. Thames museum : TATE
61. 35-Down house : CASA and 35. Tegucigalpa's country : HONDURAS - Aquí están algunas CASAS en Tegucigalpa (Here are some homes in Tegucigalpa)
29. That, in Tegucigalpa : ESO - Es por ESO que podría ser agradable vivir allí (That is why it might be nice to live there)
62. "I give!" : UNCLE
63. Ticklish Muppet : ELMO - Oh, that's how it works!
64. Inexact figs. : ESTS
65. "My heavens!" : EGADS - Your EST was $400 and the bill is $1,200! EGADS!
66. Prince's "Purple __" : RAIN
1. Intense anger : IRE
3. GEICO product: Abbr. : INS
4. One of Barbie's siblings : STACIE - I totally, for sure didn't know if it was spelled STACEY
5. Pad __ : THAI
6. Right direction? : EAST - A country boy is just as likely to say "Turn EAST" at the stop sign rather than "Turn Right".
7. Opposed : ANTI
8. Madison Square Garden hoopsters : KNICKS - Hopeless hoopsters recently
9. Clear wrap : SARAN
10. Mythological swimmers : MERMAIDS - How long do you have to be at sea to mistake one for the other?
11. Daughter of King Minos : ARIADNE - Associated with mazes and labyrinths
12. Liqueur flavoring : ANISEED - Also called ANISE. It's flavor is in many things but I love it in my black jellybeans!
13. Mr. and Mr. : MESSRS
21. HDTV maker : RCA
22. Explorer with Clark : LEWIS - They had it much tougher than Armstrong and Aldrin and were darn lucky to have Sacajawea!
23. "Preacher" network : AMC
24. Black goo : TAR
25. Ref's ruling : TKO - One of these quieted Rhonda Rousey
28. Zingers : MOTS - One of the kings:
30. More definite : SURER
34. Information units : BITS
36. Tablets that can't be swallowed : IPADS - What's a crayon?
37. __ tai : MAI
38. Jai alai balls : PELOTAS - Number 40 catches the PELOTA in his cesta and returns it. I wonder if one sips a Man Tai while watching Jai Alai?
39. Observing Ramadan, say : ON A FAST - My colleague in a multinational school in Brooklyn said Muslim kids didn't have much energy during Ramadan
41. __ favor : POR
42. Sixth sense letters : ESP - If you've seen Ghostbusters, you know he never had a chance
43. Stubborn beast : ASS
44. Muppet who plays lead guitar in The Electric Mayhem : JANICE
45. Baseball division : INNING - 33 of 'em!
46. Blokes : HE'S
47. Become an expert in : MASTER
49. Point of contention : ISSUE
52. Killer whale : ORCA
53. Blend : MELD
54. Doesn't allow to rust : USES - What moms might be saying this time of year
58. Mobile's st. : ALA
59. "Enough gory details, thanks" : TMI - ...and then the doctor had to...
60. Ages and ages : EON - Either a generic term for a long time or scientifically, a billion years
What say you?