Author: Scott Atkinson
Theme: Names a phrases with seven consecutive consonants.
- 17a: Basketball Hall of Fame coach known as "Big Bear" (BRANCH MCCRACKEN). Heard the name before.
- 23a: Rainn Wilson's role on "The Office" (DWIGHT SCHRUTE). Don't watch the show, but that's my own fault.
- 40a: "Li'l Abner" character Joe who has a rain cloud over his head (BTFSPLK). WTFSTHSSHT?
- 50a: Subject of a Pee Wee Hunt rag (TWELFTH STREET). Nice clue, great song.
- 62a: What can be found consecutively in 17-, 23-, 40-, and 50-Across (SEVEN CONSONANTS).
Not much to say about this one. It is what is it. I suppose Joe BTFSPLK is like Mr. Mxyzptlk -- you either know it or you don't. I didn't, but the crossings were all fair, so I don't mind all that much.
I'm in a hurry, so I'm going to breeze through the rest.
- 9a: Vietnam Veterans Memorial inscriptions (NAMES). My eldest son spent yesterday standing amongst the throngs on the Mall in Washington D.C., watching Obama's inauguration. It's a great place to visit in the summer, with the Vietnam wall being especially moving.
- 27a: Figure skater Midori (ITO).
- 36a: Brand in the lyrics of "Kodachrome" (NIKON).
- 43a: With 68-Across, Sri Lanka exports (PEKOE / TEA).
- 46a: Limp Bizkit drummer John ___ (OTTO). I wouldn't have known this, but I never saw the clue.
- 58a: "___ Baby" ("Hair" song) (ABIE). Know it from puzzles.
- 59a: Reacted to reveille (AROSE). The morning bugle call. Here it here.
- 69a: Nobody may go in front of it (ELSE'S). Umm... okay.
- 70a: Partiality (BIAS).
- 71a: Accordingly (ERGO). Therefore...
- 4d: "Told ya!" (I KNEW IT).
- 6d: Energy (OOMPH). Oomph is a great word.
- 10d: Portion of a lemniscate (ARC). A lemniscate is a figure-eight-shaped curve, like the infinity symbol.
- 11d: Beauty aid (MAKE UP KIT). Nice fill.
- 12d: Navratilova rival (Chris EVERT).
- 18d: Lit ___ (college course, informally) (CRIT).
- 25d: Amount of hair (HANK).
- 30d: "Miracle at St. Anna" director (LEE). If it's a director in three letters, it's probably Lee (Ang or Spike). This one's the latter.
- 31d: Cluster on military awards (OAK LEAVES).
- 49d: Actor Astin (SEAN), who played Sam in "The Lord of the Rings" films.
- 51d: Big cheese, in more ways than one (WHEEL).
- 52d: One-third of XXX? (TAC). Tic-tac-toe.
- 61d: Station identification, once (ESSO). I wasn't fooled by this clue even for a second. Don't know why.
Outside of the theme, I thought the puzzle was easier than normal for a Wednesday. There were 29a: Truckloads (ALOT) of Monday-ish clues here.
Thanks for listening.
- Pete M.