I’ll just dispense with all mystery and tell you right up front that THE COLOR OF MAGIC is a serious contender for the worst novel I’ve never read - while at the same time bearing no resemblance to anything written by Dan Brown. No - wait - slight correction. There is one resemblance: the story makes absolutely no sense.
Now, you might think that if one’s disbelief can extend far enough to accept the notion of a world consisting of a disc spinning slowly on the backs of four elephants who in turn are riding on the back of a turtle that is not only big enough to support all of this, but also making its way, at its own torpid turtelian pace, across the vast reaches of whatever benighted universe contains this madness, it can accommodate just about anything. “Just about” are the key words here, and that notion is one that author Terry Pratchett set out to probe in this novel - more or less in the manner that a colonoscopy recipient might be probed.
Usually a book review would say something about the story’s plot. Sadly though, there is none. Believe me - I looked. There is no beginning, no middle, no end, no character arcs. Just stuff happening for no apparent reason. Well - there is an end, of a sort - more on that later. In the foreword to the Harper paperback edition I foolishly picked on a recent visit to the local B and N, Pratchett says “The Discworld is not a coherent fantasy world.” Let’s give him full credit for full disclosure. THE COLOR OF MAGIC is not a coherent fantasy novel.
The writing is sprightly enough, and the cobbled together vignettes that comprise this mess, each OK in itself, are delivered with an appropriately light and often humorous touch, which is all good as far as it goes - but unfortunately falls several disc rotations short of being far enough. The connective tissue that utterly fails to unite the various episodes appears to be a sort of Dea Ex Machina, if I’m reading it right. [Note: I did spell it right.] And if I’m not, then there is no connection at all, and it’s just some sort of only partially randomized, partially realized chaos. To call this narrative ‘picaresque” would be to give that lovely word a bloody beating it has done nothing to deserve.
As an example, the first two characters we meet, Weasel and Bravd the Hublander - brigands of some undefined nature - are left behind on page 11, never to be seen nor heard from again. This same fate, in turn, befalls wizards - male and female, alive and dead, dragons, legions of comely [female] and brutish [male] dryads, and numerous other thieves, assassins, barbarians, slaves and demigods.
Our main characters are Rincewind, a hapless and utterly failed sorcerer, his even more hapless traveling companion, Twoflower, an unlikely tourist - in fact the only one, ever - on the disc, and the latter’s persistent and self-propelled article of luggage, made, naturally, from sapient pear wood.
That’s pretty much it. They fall into and then out of a series of more or less increasingly hazardous situations through no fault nor ability of their own, and with no apparent purpose. And, perhaps fittingly, I suppose, the story ends - five and a half pages beyond where the words “THE END,” are printed in large friendly letters - with a cliff hanger. Or, more accurately, a rim fall.
In fairness, this was the first book Pratchett wrote in this series, and it seems he went on to do better. He must have, since there are ca. 40 Discworld novels with millions of copies sold. Pictured below is an illustrated reading guide that identifies THE COLOR OF MAGIC as one of several entry points, in this case leading down the wizard’s path. Evidently, and encouragingly, it seems not to have been the best choice.
One fan of the series has this to say, or rather shout, since it’s mostly in caps: “If you decide to take the path of the wizards: ask someone else for advice? I just. I STRONGLY SUGGEST THAT YOU DO NOT GO THIS ROUTE AND WON’T GIVE YOU ANY ADVICE THAT MIGHT HELP YOU DOWN THIS BLIGHTED PATH.”
Based on my limited experience, this is sound advice. I wavered between moments of enjoyable reading and wanting to fling the damned book into the fire place. That said, though, I am inexplicably rather fond of the characters. Presumably, one can explore and enjoy the Discworld experience without spending much time with Rincwind and Twoflower. But not everyone shares this opinion, as the vid below indicates. I’ll give Pratchett and the Discworld another chance, and seek another entry point - possibly the City Watch series, if I can lay my hands on a copy of GUARDS, GUARDS.
The circles, if you got to see them, are located in quasi-symmetrically placed vertical words. In each case, they contain the letters P I N, in that order. If we start with the unifier, all will become clear. This is the first puzzle I know of with a split unifier since the first one that C. C. and I did together. 7 D. With 36-Down, what you can't do regarding this puzzle's circled letters : HEAR A.
36 D. See 7-Down ... or, with "a," what you can see in this puzzle's circled letters : PIN DROP. If it's really quiet, you can HEAR A PIN DROP. But you can't in this puzzle, since it's the written, not the spoken word. [Though reading aloud is allowed.] The theme entries each contain the word PIN, and in the vertical orientation, the PINS are DROPPING. 2 D. Flooring wood : PINE. Pretty common. I prefer oak. 5 D. Custody : KEEPING. As in safe KEEPING. 49 D. One of a gripping tool pair : PINCER. Half of this item.
59 D. Go around : SPIN. Demonstrated here by our oldest granddaughter.
Another unusual aspect of this grid is the bilateral vertical symmetry. [There is neither horizontal nor rotational symmetry.] This, along with the very careful placement of the theme entries allows for 5D and 49 D to have a characteristic I don't recall ever seeing before - similar right-left placement, with vertical displacement and different length. This is a very unusual and creative construction. Across 1. Touch off : SPARK. To begin something, but since the implication is something inflammatory, it's generally not pleasant.
6. Electrical unit : OHM. Are you resistant to this entry? Did you want AMP? That's more along the lines of current events, for which there will be a charge.
9. What wind ensembles usually tune to : B FLAT. This hung me up. Not my most typical playing venue. In orchestra we tune to A. In jazz band we tune the reeds to A and the brass to B FLAT. Of course, the trombone has the infinite capacity to play any note out of tune. Meanwhile, the whole NE corner gave me fits.
14. Actress Anouk whose last name means "beloved" : AIMEE. [b 1932] Starting her career at age 14, she later appeared in La Dolce Vita, 8 1/2, A Man and a Woman, and 67 other films, mostly in French, and won many awards.
15. Place for grazing : LEA. A meadow. This relates back to Old English, German, and ultimately Sanskrit words for an open space. 16. Appreciative cry : BRAVO.
17. Travelocity ad figure : GNOME.
18. "Hotel du __": Anita Brookner novel : LAC. A story of disappointment and self-discovery set in a hotel on the shore of Lake Geneva.
19. Still : QUIET. Like a time when you can hear the sounds of silence.
20. Fabulous writer? : AESOP. Author of many fables. In this one we see the silence of the lambs.
21. Roth __ : IRA. Subject to strict contribution limits, but not subject to mandatory withdrawal.
22. Washer function : RINSE. The soap removal cycle.
23. Production capacity review : LINE AUDIT. For trouble shooting or improving the efficiency of a manufacturing production line.
26. Refused : SAID NO.
29. Very deep places : ABYSMS. I had forgotten that this archaic word exists, and was perplexed that ABYSSES didn't fit. It goes back to medieval Latin and came into English ca. 1150, somehow acquiring a Greek ending along the way. It refers to hell, the bottomless pit, the great deep, the primal chaos. Nietzsche advises us to not stare into it.
66. Looked inside, in a way : X-RAYED. Medical imaging. 67. Show the ropes : ORIENT. Help someone get acclimated to a new position or circumstance.
Down 1. It's a long story : SAGA. Or EPIC. Needs perps. 3. "The Cookie Never Crumbles" co-author Wally : AMOS. [b. 1936] Talent agent who started selling cookies in L.A. in 1975. 4. Alter the shape of : REMOLD. 6. Kukla cohort : OLLIE. Along with Fran Allison.
8. Portuguese territory until 1999 : MACAU. Autonomous region on the south coast of China, across the pearl River delta from Hong Cong. 9. Pitmaster's offering : BBQ RIBS. 10. Like dessert wines : FRUITY. 11. "... this skull has __ in the earth ... ": Hamlet : LAIN. Not to be confused with Nunckle Tim's shin.
Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him, Horatio: a fellow
of infinite jest, of most excellent fancy: he hath
borne me on his back a thousand times; and now, how
abhorred in my imagination it is! my gorge rims at
it. Here hung those lips that I have kissed I know
not how oft. Where be your gibes now? your
gambols? your songs? your flashes of merriment,
that were wont to set the table on a roar? Not one
now, to mock your own grinning? quite chap-fallen?
12. Urban rtes. : AVES. AVEnues are routes, not rites. I was off in the wrong direction. 13. Membership drive gift : TOTE. carry-all bag. 24. "The Thin Man" role : NORA. Nick and NORA Charles, from the indicated 1934 comedy-mystery movie that was based on the novel of the same name by Dashiell Hammett. 25. Have what it takes : DARE. Having the courage to do something. If you have what it takes, you might succeed. Otherwise . . . ? 26. "The Goldbergs" actor George : SEGAL. A program that not only have I never seen, but before now never knew existed. Based on the childhood and 80's family life of the show's creator and producer Adam F. Goldberg. 27. Links legend, familiarly : ARNIE. Palmer 28. Conflicted : IN A DILEMMA. A choice between unpleasant alternatives. 30. Classic golf shoe feature : STEEL SPIKE. For gripping the turf. 31. "Haystacks" series painter : MONET. Claude [1840 - 1946]. 32. Overcharges : SOAKS. 35. "That really depressed me" : I FELT SAD. Expression of woe. 37. Isolated communities : ENCLAVES. A place different in character form the surrounding area. 40. City south of Fort Worth : WACO. 42. Magneto's enemies : X-MEN. A group of superheroes from the Marvel Comic universe. Each is a mutant with a unique special ability. 47. Sharer of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize : AL GORE. [b 1948] Former U.S. vice-president. 53. Trojan War hero : AJAX. Fought with Hector several times. 54. "Hamilton" role : BURR. Aaron. [1756 - 1836] He was sitting vice president at the time of their famous duel. 56. Mocked : APED. Made fun of. Not so much fun on the receiving end. 57. Puzzlemaker Rubik : ERNO. 60. Hall & Oates' "Say It __ So" : ISN'T. Not a fan, so no link. 62. Son : BOY. 63. My __, Vietnam : LAI. That village that had to be destroyed in order to be liberated. Kind of a downer to end on. Well, that wraps it up. Hope the silence wasn't oppressive. Cool regards! JzB
Theme - Do You See What I See? Or My EYES Are Crossed [Up.] or I-Yigh-Yie. An anagramish theme in which the letters of the word EYES are scrambled and tucked into theme answer phrases of 2 or 3 words, in each case spanning two of those words. If you're lucky, you got these letters circled for easy identification.
17. "Gotta go!" : SEE YA LATER. Adios, amigos -- except I can't leave now, I'm just getting started.
24. Peter Parker's alarm system : SPIDEY SENSE. To be a bit pedantic, Peter Parker's SPIDER SENSE is a kind of ESP that causes a tingling at the base of his scull, thus alerting him to danger. SPIDEY SENSE is a slangey generalized derivative phrase applied to anyone's [possibly uncanny] ability to suss out danger.
50. Henry VIII's third wife : JANE SEYMOUR. JANE [1508-1537] was Queen of England for a little more than a year, following the unfortunate Anne Boleyn. Sadly, Jane died of postnatal complications a few days after the birth of her son, who eventually went on to become King Edward VI. Queen Jane is not to be confused with Joyce Penelope Wilhelmina Frankenberg [b. 15 February 1951] from Hayes, Middlesex, England, the daughter of Mieke (van Tricht), a nurse, and John Benjamin Frankenberg, an obstetrician.
58. Sign of deceit, and a hint to this puzzle's circled letters : SHIFTY EYES. Supposedly, a liar cannot look you straight in the EYES. In reality, this only apples to rank amateurs. The good ones can pull it off, no prob - without batting an EYE, so to speak. Here, SHIFTY gives us a clue that the letters of the word EYES have been tampered with.
Hi gang. JazzBumpa here, complete with bifocals. Let's give this puzzle the EYE and see what we can discover.
1. Less-played song, usually : B-SIDE. Takes me back to my yute, when 45 RPM records typically contained a hit song on the A-SIDE and some other less commercially successful song on the B-SIDE.
6. Big name in big projections : I-MAX. Big screen theater.
10. Skips, as TiVoed ads : ZAPS. I guess you can ZAP something to make it disappear.
14. Like Andean pyramids : INCAN. Of or pertaining to the INCA people.
15. Bumpkin : RUBE. Simple farmers, people of the land, the common clay of the new west . . .
16. Touched down : ALIT. Landed, as a bird, plane, or lunar module.
19. Without serious thought : IDLY. As in chattered IDLY.
20. Cuts down : HEWS. HEW is one of those odd English language verbs that means two wildly different things. Here, it means to chop or cut with an AXE or other tool. The other meaning is to adhere to some idea or set of principles.
21. Single : ONE. As a dollar bill.
22. Garson of Hollywood : GREER. Eileen Evelyn Greer Garson [1904-1996] was a very popular movie star with MGM in the 1940's.
34. Kaiser roll topping : POPPY SEED. A pinwheel shaped soft bread roll with a crisp crust, topped with seeds that actually do come from the opium poppy.
38. Hide from a hunter? : PELT. Cute misdirection, hide and PELT both referring to the skin removed from the hunted animal. Cf. 53 A.
41. "Yet cease your __, you angry stars of heaven!": "Pericles" : IRE. From scene I of Shakeseare's play. IRE, of course, meaning anger.
42. E-cigarette output : VAPOR.
46. Firefighter's tool : AXE. For HEWING.
47. Lanai music maker : UKE. Not exclusively for Hawaiian songs - but there are strings attached.
48. Has a conniption : GOES APE. A way of manifesting IRE.
53. "Noah kept bees in the ark hive," e.g. : PUN. Word play based on similar sounds and [often awkwardly imposed] double meanings.
54. __ acid : AMINO. The building block of life. This organic compound has both carboxylic acid and amine functionality. These two reactive groups can react with each other, and thus form long complicated molecular chains. The rest is history. Or maybe chemistry. Or biology. It all gets a little muddy.
55. Capp and Capone : ALS. Two guys names AL. One was a rum-running crime boss and the other gave us Li'l Abner.
56. Poet Whitman : WALT. An American poet [1819 - 1892.] His collection, Leaves of Grass, was considered to be pornographic at the time.
57. Manner : MIEN. From the same root as "demeanor." A way of presenting one's self. This word was popular ca. 1800, and has been in decline since, especially after 1900.
61. Years, to Livy : ANNI. Latin and plural.
62. Navigation hazard : HAZE. It impairs vision.
63. __-garde : AVANT. From Olde French into late Middle English - meaning the most forward part of an advancing military force. Now, by extension, anything at the cutting edge of technology or culture.
64. Establishes : SETS.
65. Fancy jug : EWER.
66. Nutty green sauce : PESTO. Olive oil based sauce containing pine nuts, basil and garlic, typically served over pasta.
1. Vatican personnel : BISHOPS. Also chess men.
2. Show disdain for : SNEER AT. With a contemptuous or condescending facial expression.
3. Dessert drink made from frozen grapes : ICE WINE. The grapes are frozen on the vine, concentrating the sugars and other solids, yielding a smaller amount of concentrated very sweet wine.
4. Weekly septet : DAYS. Check your calendar.
5. Disney doe : ENA. Bambi's aunt appears in alliteration.
6. Modern Persians : IRANIS. Ancient Persia ---> modern Iran.
7. Subdued : MUTED. Even on the trombone.
8. Civil War nickname : ABE. President Lincoln
9. Boomer's kid : X-ER. Those in generation X. The baby boomers are the demographic cohort born from ca. 1946 to 1964, in the aftermath of WW II. Generation X has historically been a disparaging term used to describe alienated youth. It was only after 1991, when Canadian writer Douglas Coupland came out with his novel Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture, that it was applied to the previously unnamed cohort that followed the boomers. There are cultural implications to identifying with a particular cohort, and Gen X-ERs, not specifically limited to the after 1964 crowd, could have been born as early as 1956, and up until some vague date in the neighborhood of 1980.
10. '70s-'90s African state : ZAIRE. Now the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
11. Pasta preference : AL DENTE. Cooked until still firm, and not mushy.
12. Forms a big stack : PILES UP. I'm thinking of all the leaves yet to land in my yard.
13. Compound in many disposable coffee cups : STYRENE. Vinylbenzene, a genuinely nasty chemical that also is found in other commercially important plastics.
18. Easy pace : LOPE.
22. Govt. property overseer : GSA. The General Services Administration is an independent government agency that helps manage and support other government agencies.
24. Corn Belt sight : SILO. Commonly a cylindrical tower used for storing grain.
25. Barely makes, with "out" : EKES. Commonly EKES its way into a crossword.
26. "Geez!" : YIPE. I prefer YIKES!
28. When the NFL's regular season begins : SEPTember brings us football at all levels.
Theme: NUMBERS GAME. The theme answers can be parsed by splitting off the last few letters, which in each case then constitute the spelt out name of a number. These also appear in numerical order, which is a nice, elegant touch. For some of them the pronunciation changes. Fun theme for me, since I get a kick out of alternate parsings.
17 A. Does well at the casino? : BREAKS EVEN. Since the house has a persistent advantage, one who BREAKS EVEN actually is doing well. SEVEN is considered by some to be a lucky number. So parsing this letter grouping to split off the number SEVEN might actually be a lucky BREAK.
25 A. Cereal box factoid : NET WEIGHT. This is the WEIGHT of the contents of the box. The weight of the container is called the tare, and added together they give you the total WEIGHT. Maybe you'll get EIGHT servings, and eating them might affect your WEIGHT.
50 A. Opera house level : MEZZANINE. This traces back to the Latin word for median, and refers to a building level between two floors, in this case the main auditorium and the balcony. NINE is the number of either ladies dancing on the stage, or the Nazgul, though I'm not sure how that is relevant.
60 A. Bullied : BROW-BEATEN. Influenced by verbal or psychological intimidation and abuse, rather than physical harm, though that might be threatened. This can happen because the TEN Commandments did not include "Thou Salt Not BROW BEAT."
And the unifier -- 37 A. Concert finale ... and what 17-, 25-, 50- and 60-Across have in common: CLOSING NUMBER. That's the last song of the performance, and points us to the tail end of each theme answer. Having the unifier in the middle makes for nice symmetry, but can give away too much too soon, if you're filling in with top down sequence.
Good closing number - but we're just getting started!
Hi gang, JazzBumba on the job, though I'm not much of a numerologist. Let's go check out the words and letters. That's more my speed.
1. Unlike this clue, obviously : LAST. So, the LAST really will be first - at least in the context of this grid.
5. Driving force? : MOTOR. Usually this phrase is figurative, but here, it is literal, since a MOTOR provides the driving force for a vehicle or some other kind of machine. So why the question mark?
10. Bar regulars, and then some : SOTS. Habitual drunkards. The word originates in medieval Latin, coming to us via late Old English, where it referred to a foolish person. The current meaning dates for the late 16th century.
14. Bible book before Romans : ACTS. Of The Apostles.
15. One-named singer with 10 Grammys : ADELE.
16. William of "Broadcast News" : HURT. [b 1950]
19. On : ATOP. Sitting upon.
20. URL ending : COM. For a commercial enterprise. Others are EDU for schools and ORG for organizations.
21. Bridge call : AHOY. The bridge of a ship, not something uttered in a card game.
22. Hang loosely : DRAPE.
23. Star's statuette : OSCAR. For Academy Award winners.
28. Mushroom cloud makers : A-TESTS. Of explosive nuclear devices.
30. Pale : WAN. Strangely, this traces back to an Old English word meaning dark black. Go figure.
31. __ shadow : EYE. Cosmetic type.
32. Tip to one side : TILT. Lean over.
33. Etiquette expert Baldrige who was Jackie Kennedy's social secretary : LETITIA. [1926-2012] Author of 20 books and a newspaper column who also ran her own PR firm.
41. Comes back with : REPLIES. Not RETORTS, I discovered.
42. Hardly scads : A DAB. Some undefined small quantity
44. Beer choice, briefly : IPA. India Pale Ale - a hoppy brew originally formulated to be stable on the long sea voyage from Mother England.
47. Part of un mes : DIA. Spanish month and day.
48. Ready for the piano recital : IN TUNE. I could go on and on about this, but the comma of Pythagorus is too difficult to explain.
54. "Ugh!" : YECCH. An expression of disgust, and my reaction to this fill.
55. Climbed aboard : GOT ON. Could also be GOT IN.
56. Some Neruda poems : ODES. Pablo Neruda was the pen name and later legal name of Chilean poet, diplomat and politician Ricardo Eliécer Neftalí Reyes Basoalto [1904 - 1973.]
58. Hawaiian tuna : AHI. Yellowfin tuna.
59. Snack since 1912 : OREO. Creme filling between two chocolate coolie layers.
63. Musée Marc Chagall city : NICE. In France.
64. Ancient Greek region : IONIA. In present day Turkey.
65. Conversation piece? : WORD. Sentence fragment. Make sure you parse it properly.
66. __ chair : EASY. A place to relax.
67. Minute : TEENY. Tiny.
68. Archer of myth : EROS. Bringer of love. This is why it's called arrowticism.
1. Researcher's garb : LAB COAT. For chemists, doctors, and lab workers.
5. Prepare, as avocados for guacamole : MASH. Guac a al Bumpa: Two avocados, mashed; one 10 oz can diced tomatoes with green chilies; two tomatillas; chopped cilantro, onion and garlic to taste. Magnifico!
6. Ancient theater : ODEON. Greek.
7. "Tradition" singer : TEVYE. From Fiddler On The Roof.
He does have quite a bit of help
8. "Bravo!" : OLE. Cheers heard in sports arenas where Spanish is spoken.
9. "You eediot!" speaker of cartoons : REN. Stimpy's costar.
10. Ventriloquist Lewis : SHARI.
11. Delighted state? : OUTAGE.
12. Prize in a case : TROPHY.
13. Fla. city : ST. PETErsburg.
18. Go-__ : KART. A small racing car with a lightweight or skeleton body.
22. Overalls material : DENIM. Also blue jeans.
24. Financier aboard the Titanic : ASTOR. John Jacob. [1864-1912] He went down with the ship.
26. Strong string : TWINE. From the same root as two and twin, a strong string made from two or more strands twisted together.
27. 1960s dance : WATUSI.
29. Add sneakily : SLIP IN. As when late for a meeting, hoping to not be noticed.
34. China's Zhou __ : EN LAI. [1898 - 1976] First Premier of the People's Republic of China, serving from 1949 until his death.
35. "In Here, It's Always Friday" letters : TGI. From the Restaurant chain TGI Friday's.
36. Diminish : ABATE. Reduce in magnitude or intensity.
38. Enterprise choice : SEDAN. Rental car, having nothing to do with Star Trek.
39. Academic figure : EDUCATOR. Teacher.
40. Southwestern farm owner : RANCHERO. Spanish for rancher.
Theme: GRAVITY, MAGNETISM and FRICTION, or MASS x ACCELERATION. The 2nd word of common two-word phrases combines with the word FORCE to indicate a body of people organized for a particular activity. I FORCED those physics related ideas on you, but will not apologize.
17. *Project with many obstacles : UPHILL TASK. Something difficult to accomplish. I suppose the referent here is Sisyphus. You might need some helpers to accomplish that thing - hence a TASK FORCE, an ad hoc group devoted to completing a specific assignment.
22. *E! talk show focused on celebrity outfits : FASHION POLICE. Clothing critics, and a TV show based on their commentary about the dress modes of celebrities. It's amazing how much time some people have on their hands. Police FORCES are units of government charged with the prevention or detection of crime and the maintenance of public order.
47. *Britannica, e.g. : REFERENCE WORK. A book or other repository of useful information. Many years ago I contributed a chapter on automotive plastics and elastomers to such a book. The WORK FORCE refers to people engaged in or available as labor within some geographic unit, industry, or business.
55. Team up ... or, literally, what the last words of the answers to starred clues can do : JOIN FORCES. As indicated in 17 A, to get together for some purpose. The target words JOIN with FORCE to fulfill the theme concept.
Hi, Gang, JazzBumpa here, getting together with you to make our way through today's puzzle. Let's have at it.
1. One of seven in "Jabberwocky" : STANZA. A nonsense poem include in Lewis Carroll's action-adventure novel Though The Looking Glass. You can read all 7 quatrains here.
7. Shabbat celebrant : JEW. Shabbat is the biblical day of rest, and the source of the English word sabbath. Rosh Hashana, the JEWish New Year celebration was from Sunday through Tuesday, so l'shana tova to all.
10. "Baby __": 2008 Fey/Poehler comedy : MAMA. A conflict comedy involving an adoptive mother and the surrogate mother she hires. That's more than I know about it.
14. Like some classroom aids : VISUAL.
15. Angst-filled rock genre : EMO. Quasi-punkish emotion-laden pop music.
16. Disembarked : ALIT. To descend, land or dismount, in past tense form.
19. Wheels for a star : LIMO.
20. __ Grey tea : EARL. My fav!
21. Vacation abode : CABIN. If you can't afford a resort or luxury hotel.
26. Longest reigning Brit. monarch : ELIZabeth II. born in 1926, and still goin'.
28. Neighbor of Venezuela : GUYANA. A small, English-speaking country on the north coast of South America, nestled among Venezuela, Surinam, Brazil and the Atlantic Ocean, but culturally connected to the Caribbean Islands.
29. Discriminatory, as in hiring : SEXIST. One of several possible discrimination types.
32. Pet adoption org. : SPCA. Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
33. Deg. for a suit : MBA. Masters of Business Administration. I have one, but never qualified as a suit.
36. Annexation : SEIZURE. Taking something by FORCE.
38. Put on a pedestal : DEIFIED.
40. Morsel : ORT. Specifically, one left over from a meal.
41. Printed scorecard numbers : PARS. PAR indicates the expected number of strokes a first class player would require to complete a particular golf hole or course.
43. Went (on) monotonously : DRONED. Spoke at length in a boring manner.
44. Monotony : TEDIUM. Possibly the result of the previous.
46. Gp. with mail trucks : USPS. United States Postal Service. Several of my relatives worked there.
52. Cutting : AXING. In my 7 decades of existence on this planet, I have never heard anyone use the word AX as a verb.
53. Leaderless : TIED. This is tricky. With the score TIED, neither competing team is in the lead.
54. Strengthen : GIRD. This is not quite right. To gird is to encircle, or secure with a belt or a sash. You can kind of see where the error comes from.
61. Giggly Muppet : ELMO.
62. To and __ : FRO. Back and forth.
63. Poker challenge : I RAISE. This increases the size of an existing bet in any round. Other players must match the total bet or fold.
64. Academic leader in NBC's "Community" : DEAN. A sit-com with an ensemble cast based on life and experiences in a fictional small junior college town in Colorado.
65. Author Kesey : KEN. [1935-2001] Counter-culture figure, experimental drug user and author of the novel One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.
66. Kind of tax : ESTATE. A tax levied on inheritances totaling more than $5.45 million in value. Down
1. "Law & Order: __" : Special Victims Unit. Never watched it
2. It often comes to those who wait : TIP. For the restaurant wait staff. Nice misdirection.
3. Volcanic fallout : ASH. Solid residue from an eruption, Cf Pompeii.
4. Rapa __: Easter Island : NUI. This name refers to the island itself, the Polynesian inhabitants of the island, and the language that they speak.
5. Popular mall jewelry store : ZALES. U. S. jewelry retailer started in 1924 in Wichita Falls, Texas.
6. Mosque-goer's deity : ALLAH. Same God, different language.
7. Like Cain, of Abel : JEALOUS. The adjectival form of a destructive emotion relating to desire about someone else's position, possessions, or relationships.
8. Leading characters in "Mork & Mindy"? : EMS. Characters, as in the repeated alphabet letter beginning the two subject words. I am deeply annoyed by this type of self-referential clue.
9. Stir-fry pan : WOK. Shallow round bottomed cook ware item.
10. __ Yousafzai, sharer of the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize : MALALA. Pakistani activist for female education.
11. Cover story : ALIBI. A claim that you were not at a crime scene when the event took place
12. Copycat : MIMIC. One who lacks originality in thought and action.
13. Make things right : ATONE. Make amends. But will it erase hard feelings?
18. Course where tangents are relevant : TRIG. No indication that trigonometry should be abbreviated? This is not the sort of tangent off upon which one may go rambling, but rather the mathematic function that is equal to the ratio of the lengths of the sides opposite and adjacent to an angle in a right triangle.
21. *1997 movie partly set on a plane called the Jailbird : CONAIR.
If you're into that sort of a thing
22. Handy "Mr." : FIXIT. Home improvement and DIY maven. I do not qualify.
23. "Master of None" star __ Ansari : AZIZ. He also created and writes this Netflix series, the G-Man tells me.
24. "Law & Order" gp. : NYPD. New York Police Department, in custody of a chlecho.
25. Couldn't sit still, say : PACED. Walked nervously in some relatively small space.
26. Exxon, once : ESSO. Mega corporation and petroleum products retail outlet.
27. Lustful look : LEER. I prefer to Ogle.
30. *High-speed skiing event, familiarly : SUPER G. Set on a down hill course with widely set gates, with more turns than the down hill event, and greater speed than the giant slalom.
31. Discipline : TRADE. The only sense I can make of this is that one definition of "discipline" is "a branch of knowledge," and a trade is a job category requiring skills and training, so there is that kind of a connection. Still seems like a stretch. Do you think of plumbing as a discipline?
33. Capital of Belarus : MINSK. This city has existed for over 1000 years and now has a population over 2 million. Belarus is located east of Poland and south of Lithuania and Latvia.
34. Honk : BEEP. Blow your own horn.
35. Tacks on : ADDS.
37. Green land? : ERIN. The Emerald Isle, The Auld Sod, etc.
39. Bridge table quorum : FOUR. A four-handed card game.
42. Vacuum effect : SUCTION.
44. Ligament kin : TENDON. Both are types of connective tissue. Ligaments connect bones or cartilages, or hold joints together. Tendons connect muscle tissue to bones.
45. Lo __: noodle dish : MEIN. Mein refers to noodles made from wheat flour. Maybe someone who know more about it should elaborate.
47. Threw a fit : RAGED. Anger
48. Forced absence : EXILE. An order to go away and stay away, banishment, as punishment for some offense.
49. Terra __ : FIRMA. Sold ground, good old Mother Earth.
50. Cellphone self-pic of a group, slangily : WEFIE. Evidently the collective equivalent of a selfie. Who knew?
51. Smells : ODORS. Aromas. All suggest different nuances of meaning.
55. N.Y. airport since 1963 : JFK. The eponym was president during the 60's and assassinated while in office.
56. Miner's matter : ORE. Pay dirt. Can you dig it?
57. Chinese zodiac animal : RAT. By this reckoning, my Lovely Wife is a RAT and I am a dog. Arf!
58. "The World Factbook" org. : CIA. Central Intelligence Agency, where the word "Intelligence" reference to gathered information, not intellectual capability.
59. Inexact fig. : ESTimate. An approximation that should be better than a guess.
60. Get : SEE. Understand. Do you see it?
Well, that ends this little get together. I had my nits, but overall - not bad.