Theme: Knock-knock. Who's There?. For good or for ill, the root of many jokes. Share your favorites in comments. Theme song No. 1. Theme song No. 2. Here, the theme answers end in a word that is synonymous with KNOCK. Knock can be a forceful physical contact, or severe criticism - as used here.
17. Ice Cube genre : GANGSTA RAP. Ice Cube is a rap artist. I will not link. But OTOH, I will not give him a bad RAP.
25. It's not as bad as the fire, metaphorically : FRYING PAN. From the FRYING PAN to the fire is just making a bad situation worse. A critic would PAN that action.
37. Bases loaded opportunity : GRAND SLAM. This occurs when you bid and make a contract to take all 13 tricks. Wait. Hold on - this is from C.C. so we must have baseball. That GRAND SLAM is a home run hit with the bases loaded. Would you SLAM me for referring to bridge?
52. All out : FULL BLAST. Holding nothing back. Amping it up to 11. Blogging this puzzle is a BLAST, so I won't BLAST it.
And the unifier: 61. Start of a joke, eitrher part of which is synonymous with the ends of 17-, 25-, 37- and 52-across : KNOCK-KNOCK. Who's there? Jamaican. Jamaican who? Jamaican me stand out in the cold. (I was Jamaican that up.)
Hi gang, it's JazzBumpa, and that's no joke. Our dynamic - and prolific - duo has come up with another Wednesday challenge. Are we up to it?
Theme: Je suis chaude* aka FEVER, aka "I got the hots!"
17 A. Crisp cylindrical appetizer : SPRING ROLL. Translation from the Chinese, 春卷 (Thank you Wikipedia.) A rolled, filled appetizer common in Asian cuisine, with lots of local variation in wrapper, filling and nomenclature. SPRING FEVER: an ill-defined feeling of restlessness, excitement or laziness, brought about the onset of Spring.
27 A. Tango necessity : DANCE PARTNER. One with whom you dance, natch. Example. DANCE FEVER: a disco-era TV variety show featuring couples in dance-off competitions.
46 A. Pleasure craft : CABIN CRUISER. A power boat with inside accommodations for passengers and crew. Pick the one you like. CABIN FEVER. A feeling of claustrophobia, restlessness, boredom and/or depression resulting from being confined for an extended period with little or nothing to do.
And the unifier: 63 A. State of excitement (generated by the starts of 17-, 27-, 38- and 46-Across?) : FEVER PITCH. This also implies energetic or frenzied activity. Origin is not well known, but feverish can relate to an over-wrought or delirious state, so there might be that kind of connection.
* We recently had a discussion about how one must be careful in translating "I am hot," into German, with obvious opportunities for unintended misunderstanding. I believe the same hazards exist with translating into French, but will defer to the resident expert on such matters. Kazie?
Hi, gang. JazzBumpa here. Let's try not to get too overheated as we explore today's entry.
Theme: MONKEY BUSINESS. Since it's actually a double theme, I'll also go with APE IN THE MIDDLE. Second things first: The four longest answers each contain the hidden word APE, split between the first and last names of a real or fictional woman, consistently parsed as -A PE-. 18 A. Early Mary Tyler Moore role : LAURA PETRIE. Fictional Woman - Mrs. Rob PETRIE was a real dish on a favorite TV show from the distant past.
54 A. She played Carla Tortelli on "Cheers" : RHEA PERLMAN. Real Woman. You'd have to be, to be married to Danny Divito.
3 D. She played Nicole Chapman on "Fame" : NIA PEEPLES. Real Woman, who I've never heard of. Cute.
28 D. 1996 Madonna role : EVITA PERON. Real woman, fictionalized. Wow. Has it been 15 years?!?
Plus the extended unifier:
4. With 36- and 62-Across, kids' ball game, and something this puzzle's four longest answers have in common : MONKEY
36. See 4-Across : IN THE
62. See 4-Across : MIDDLE. In my neighborhood, we had a failure of imagination, and just called this often cruel game "keep-away."
Hi gang, it's Jazzbumpa, reporting from somewhere in APE country. Now, this dual theme is tight, cute, clever, and original. High marks for every bit of that. The only problem is that it's dead wrong! And thereby hangs a tail, so to speak. With that hint, I'll reveal why at the end, (which is sort of another hint, come to think of it.)
Let's see what other kinds of MONKEY BUSINESS we can uncover in APE country. Onward!
Once more at the entrance to the Novi, MI civic center, we find this wire sculpture of a figure holding a globe of the earth. It's still a bit enigmatic, though. Is that a dancer? An athlete? A frolicking child?
THEME: GO OFF, don't GOOF OFF! Common phrases starting with the words, "GO OFF" are clued* as if the words showed up in the theme answers; but instead, they are reserved for the unifier. This results in some odd-looking partials until you pull it all together. Then, you find that the theme questions define the answers quite nicely.
* With asterisks.
A 17. *Get carried away : (GO OFF) THE DEEP END.
A 64. *Act prematurely : (GO OFF) HALF COCKED.
D 11. *Lose it : (GO OFF) ONES ROCKER.
D 28. *Digress : (GO OFF) ON A TANGENT.
And the unifier: A 40. Explode, and words needed to complete the four starred answers :GO OFF. This filled in partially from the perps, and it was not immediately obvious how to parse the goofy-looking "_OOFF" until I took a good look at the clue.
Hi, gang. Reporting here from the DEEP END, it's JazzBumpa, the HALF-COCKED trombonist. I don't recall seeing a theme approach quite like this before, so high marks to Mr. Lim for a creative and tight theme. With that in mind, let's GO OFF exploring it. We'll find some other gems, for sure.