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Oct 24, 2009

Saturday October 24, 2009 Thomas Heilman

Theme: None

Total words: 70

Total blocks: 30

Today's grid reminds me of a Saturday themeless by Bruce Venzke and Stella Daily, with grid-spanning triple stacks at the top and bottom. Noticed it has CAUTIONARY TALES also?

Here are six 15-letter fill:

1A. Obsolete item: A THING OF THE PAST. Antiquity is too short. Multi-words continue to pose problems for me.

16A. "The Sorcerer's Apprentice" and others: CAUTIONARY TALES. Not familiar with Goethe's poem "The Sorcerer's Apprentice" at all.

17A. Pet that's larger than a toy: MINIATURE POODLE

60A. Tax service, familiarly: INTERNAL REVENUE

65A. It may be awakened after a period of inattention: RENEWED INTEREST. Very nice clue/fill.

66A. Retail security staff: STORE DETECTIVES. Another name for security guards?

Definitely a challenging puzzle for me. I think our eased-up phase is officially over.

Across:

18. Group originally named the Jolly Corks: ELKS. Unknown trivia to me. The name derived from a bar trick introduced by the group's organizer.

19. Zaire's Mobutu Sese __: SEKO. In office 1965-1997. I can never remember this guy's name.

20. No longer serving: Abbr.: RET (Retired)

21. Bk. before Job: ESTH (Esther). After Nehemiah. I peeked at my Bible book list.

24. Themes: TOPICS

27. Try to bean, in baseball: THROW AT. Another baseball reference is RBIS (37A. Diamond stats). Throwing at a player's head is really dangerous.

30. Easing of tension: DETENTE. I used to confuse it with international agreement ENTENTE.

31. Roadside grazer: DOE

32. False show: PRETENSE

36. Verdi aria that translates to "It was you": ERI TU. Nailed it. Eri = Were. Tu = You.

41. Hearty entrée: RIB ROAST. And ROE (44A. Caviar, say). And PAO (12D. Kung __ chicken). Hungry?

45. Quantities possessing only magnitude: SCALARS. Escaped me again. Vectors possess magnitude and direction.

50. Seat of Washington's Pierce County: TACOMA. Not familiar with the county name at all. Bing Crosby was born in Tacoma (grew up in Spokane).

51. 1956 Mideast crisis site: SUEZ. The crisis was resulted from Egypt's nationalization of the Suez Canal.

52. Part of a loop: ARC

57. McAn of shoes: THOM. The brand was named after a Scottish golfer Thomas McCann.

Down:

1. Tiptop: ACME

2. Shadow: TAIL. Verb.

3. Hid out, with "down": HUNKERED

4. "Yea, verily": IT IS SO

5. Actress Vardalos: NIA. She wrote and starred in "My Big Fat Greek Wedding".

6. Contracted, as an illness: GOT

7. Burden: ONUS

8. Cab hailer: FARE. Oh, I did not know FARE can refer to a person.

9. Serious trip: TREK

10. Some triangle sides: HYPOTENUSES. Stumped. The side of a right triangle opposite the right angle.

11. WWII zone: ETO (European Theater of Operations)

13. Second man on the moon: ALDRIN (Buzz)

14. Choose: SELECT. Penned in OPT FOR.

15. Safari menace: TSETSE. Waiting for JD to tell us whether she saw TSETSE during her safari exploration.

22. Local govt. unit: TWP (Township). I failed again.

23. Half-baked: HAREBRAINED. Is this rooted in "The Tortoise and The Hare" fable?

25. They may end with 27-Down: OTS. And TDS (27D. Passes may result in them: Abbr.)

26. Equal: PEER. Noun.

29. Alaska and La., once: TERRS

30. Remove pitch stains from: DETAR. Always want UNTAR.

33. Spanish uncle: TIO. Oncle in French.

35. Alice's chronicler: ARLO. D'oh, "Alice's Restaurant". I was thinking of Lewis Carroll's "Alice in Wonderland".

38. Soviet leader who signed SALT I and II: BREZHNEV (Leonid). In office 1964 to 1982. I only know the Chinese translation of his name.

39. Biennial games org.: IOC (International Olympic Committee). Winter and Summer Olympics are two years apart from each other.

40. Tennis unit: SET

42. Descartes's conclusion: I AM. "I think, therefore I am" (Cogito, ergo sum).

43. Nashville sch.: TSU (Tennessee State University). No idea. Their nickname is the Tigers.

45. Connecting flights: STAIRS. Of course, my mind flew to the airport. Very clever clue.

46. Customs exemption for an auto: CARNET (kahr-NEY). It's a "customs document a customs document allowing an automobile to be driven at no cost across international borders". New word to me.

47. Customer ID: ACCT NO (Account Number)

49. Czar known as "the Great": PETER I. He reigned from 1682 to1725.

55. Narrow opening: SLIT. Too large (and high) a slit?

56. Normandy river: ORNE (awrn). The D-Day river. And OUSE (58D. York's river). Prounouced like "ooze", meaning "water". Learned both from doing Xword.

59. "Miracle" 1969 World Series winners: METS. The "Miracle Mets", managed by Gil Hodges.

61. Chariot ending?: EER. Charioteer.

62. "Self-Reliance" essayist's monogram: RWE (Ralph Waldo Emerson)

64. Lab caretaker? VET (Veterinarian). Lab here is short for labrador. The question mark did not prevent me from going in the laboratory direction.

Answer grid.

C.C.