Title: Unlock the shift key!
Mr. O'Brien breaks away from his pattern of one LAT in March each year with his first venture into the world of Fridays. The theme is very cute, all the theme clues are the numbers that would show if the shift key were not held down. In other words, &$& is 747, which is a Jumbo Jet. If you are doing the puzzle on paper, this is a real bear, but with the keyboard, I found it pretty fast for a Friday, but i do get paid for sussing Friday themes. The word distribution is more early week with no long fill except the theme and many 6 letter fill: AMORAL, NOMADS, NOVENA, OMELET, VERONA, LAYMAN, ANODES and IN A FOG are my favorites. The 8/12/15/12/8 pattern does not feel familiar but did yield 55 theme squares. I am not suggesting the puzzle was easy, there are lots of very hard clues and slight obscurities, but we got her done.
17A. &$&: JUMBO JET (8). 747 is the real clue.Did you FLY?
24A. @! : GAMBLING GAME (12). 21 (also known as blackjack). Do you PLAY?
40A. !&&^ : BROADWAY MUSICAL (15). 1776 is the clue. Do you REMEMBER?
52A. ** : KEYS ON A PIANO (12). 88 Do you wonder WHY?
66A. What was mistakenly held for four puzzle clues : SHIFT KEY (8).
1. Bozeman sch. : MSU. Montana State University. I think this is a highly regarded COLLEGE.
4. __ on the knuckles : A RAP. Generally administered with a ruler, sometimes even the sharp edge.
8. Hardly homebodies : NOMADS.
14. Black __ : OPS.
15. Protection in a purse : MACE.
16. Folded fare : OMELET. Another gift from the French chefs. LINK.
19. Romeo's home : VERONA. Cool, a Friday Shakespeare clue/fill, or two.... 49A. Cordelia, to Regan : SISTER.
20. Great way to walk : ON AIR. Did anyone else go here....Extra credit for naming both parents of the star.
21. Olympics event : RACE. Timely but vague.
23. Baseball statistic : HIT.
28. Ancient time-telling device : CANDLE. Really fun INFO.
31. Hastings Ismay was selected as its first leader in 1952 : NATO. The name sounds like bad pig Latin, and I never heard of HIM. he was interesting and NATO was an easy guess based on the year.
32. It can come between Clinton and Rodham : NEE. Hillary Rodham Clinton, née Hillary Diane Rodham.
33. Quaint retail word : OLDE.
36. Last words? : OBITS. Well done, even if a bit depressing.
44. Zaire, nowadays : CONGO. HISTORY. Not the Belgian Congo.
45. Sommelier's concern : YEAR. Wine was just too easy. Clecho-61D. Sommelier's prefix : OENO.
46. Outback native : EMU.
47. Mild cheese : EDAM. Yes, but not soft, it is is a semi-hard cheese that originated in the Netherlands. Edam ages and travels well, and does not spoil; it only hardens. These qualities (among others) made it the world's most popular cheese between the 14th and 18th centuries, both at sea and in remote colonies. (wiki).
57. Porter, for one : ALE. remember there are two basic types of Beer- ALE or LAGER. LINK.
58. Washington is prominent on them : ONES. Money, honey.
59. Property crime : ARSON. Burn baby, burn.
63. Like astronauts during liftoff : SEATED. HG, why?
68. Intact : ENTIRE.
69. Pamplona runner : TORO. The Bull, silly. he does not speak English in Pamplona.
70. Having four sharps : IN E. I defer to our musicians to explain.
71. Hoi polloi : MASSES. A Greek term, that became pejorative.
72. Like bachelor parties : STAG.
73. Bit of wit : MOT. French for word, part of the phrase "Bon mot."
1. Magic : MOJO. Defines as a magic charm, talisman, or spell. "someone must have their mojo working over at the record company" magic power.
2. Like web sites : SPUN. Cool deception, nit computer web but spider web.
3. Robert E. Lee's alma mater : USMA. United States Military Academy, Commonly referred to as West Point.
4. Unprincipled : AMORAL. Nice explanation of the "A" as a negative prefix. LINK.
5. British rule in India : RAJ.
6. Biting : ACERB. Never seen in this form except in puzzles.
7. "She loves me" bit : PETAL.
9. Kipling's "Follow Me __" : OME.
10. Nice view : MER. When a clue begins with Nice, it usually is hiding some French, like the owrd meaning sea.
11. It's heard coming and going : ALOHA.
12. Casual Friday material : DENIM.
13. Announce : STATE.
18. Texas city nickname : BIG D. Dallas.
22. Word on many a marquee : CINEMA.
25. Persian greeting : MEOW. Kitty cat not Iranian.
26. Classic muscle cars : GTOS.
27. Asian expanse : GOBI. The desert.
28. "Mad Money" network : CNBC. Jim Cramer.
29. Bubbly-textured Nestlé chocolate bar : AERO. Popular in England Steve? NC?
30. Light element : NEON.
34. Hardly an expert : LAYMAN.
35. Hall of Fame golf course architect Pete : DYE. Have you played ANY?
37. "Law &Order: SVU" actor : ICE T.
39. Nasty campaign tactic : SLUR. Timely but verboten.
41. Quite a while : AGES.
42. Carroll's stammering self-caricature in "Alice in Wonderland" : DODO. A CSO to one of our own "Dodo: I say, you'll never get dry that way.
Alice: Get dry?
Dodo: Have to run with the others. First rule of a caucus race, you know.who has left us. "
More politics to avoid.
43. Celestial bear : URSA. Major, minor? Just Latin for bear.
48. Battery terminals : ANODES.
50. Befuddled : IN A FOG. been there often.
51. Put in folders, say : SORT.
52. Longtime "American Top 40" host : KASEM. Casey...did they ever bury him?
53. Justice Kagan : ELENA. One of the three.
54. "When You Are Old" poet : YEATS.
When you are old and grey and full of sleep,
And nodding by the fire, take down this book,
And slowly read, and dream of the soft look
Your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep;
55. Raid victims : PESTS.
56. Clapton's "__ the Sheriff" : I SHOT. But he did not shoot the deputy. The Bob Marley song...
62. Russian refusal : NYET. No.
64. Frank McCourt memoir : TIS.
65. Poetic preposition : ERE.
67. George's brother : IRA. The Gershwins, but you knew that.