Donna S. Levin
Cross-posted at The Corner.
Theme: Center of Attention. Four theme answers plus the unifier start with synonyms for the human midriff.
17. Abdominoplasty, familiarly : TUMMY TUCK. Two terms for the surgical removal of unwanted fat and droopy skin from the center of the body.
23. Pepto-Bismol target : STOMACH ACHE. Hospital-tested, pink Pepto-Bismol provides fast, temporary relief from various internal disorders of the central region. Temporary side effects may include turning your tongue black. Lovely.
36. Bourgeois : MIDDLE CLASS. Bourgeois is derived from the Middle French word for townsman, and is therefore similar in historical intent to the German BURGHER. Connotations of these words varied a bit across history. I'm guessing they originated during the late medieval period, as the merchant class developed in the towns of Europe, midway in social status between peasants of varioius sorts and the landed gentry.
49. Lint receptacle? : BELLY BUTTON. If you sussed the theme, this was an easy fill (so to speak.) Proper lint removal technique is demonstrated here.
59. Easy A (or where to learn about this puzzle's theme?) : GUT COURSE. I've never seen this phrase outside of a crossword, and I never had the occasion to take one, either. I guess that's why my average was only a B. Of course, in a literal GUT COURSE the midriff would be the center of attention.
Hi gang, JazzBumpa here, with a cute and fun offering from Donna. Nothing middling about it. Let's get right into the center of things.
1. Turkish title : AGHA. This can be the title of either a civilian or military officer.
5. Dept. of Labor agency : OSHA. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, Employers are responsible for providing a safe and healthful workplace for their employees, including ordinary safety-toed footwear, ordinary prescription safety eyewear, logging boots, and ordinary clothing and weather-related gear.
9. Isn't serious : JESTS. OSHA never JESTS.
14. Aloof : COOL.
15. Lovey-dovey exchange : COOS. From the billing and cooing of love birds.
16. Ready for use : ON TAP. I could use a beer.
19. Salad dressing restriction : NO OIL. Fat free, lo-cal.
20. One at the top of the board : LEADER. From golf, where tournament standings are listed on the leader board.
21. Evil intent : MALICE
22. Hearing aid? : EAR. The outer ear funnels sound into the inner ear, which I guess is better than a simple hole in the head.
26. General __ Chicken : TSO'S. I've seen this many times in crosswords, but never on a menu. If I ever do, I will order it.
28. Poet who wrote of the wasp, "I distrust his waspitality" : NASH. Ogden, who also wrote the famous couplet, re: billing and cooing: Candy is dandy/But liquor is quicker.
29. Envy, e.g. : SIN. Not just any old sin, but one of the deadly ones. Can you name them all? No peeking. (But I'll help. Lust is number 1!)
30. Self-help guru Deepak : CHOPRA. Author of The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success.
33. Sandra's "Speed" co-star : KEANU. Sandra Bullock and KEANU Reeves.
39. Anklebone : TALUS. Since we're boning up on anatomy, here is a view.
40. More than interest : ENGAGE. I was interested before I got engaged, so I guess this makes sense.
43. Chef's phrase : A LA. This means cooked or prepared in a specified style. Jeannie?
46. Parts of the hip : ILIA. You have a pair, hence the awkward Latin plural of ILIUM. Here they are in context.
48. From square one : ANEW. One more time, from the top.
54. Jeanne d'Arc, e.g.: Abbr. : STE. The French abbr. for a female saint. While in her teens, she led the French army to several important victories in the 100 Years War. She was captured by the Burgundians, who sold her to the English. Now, you might think the Burgundians were French, and you'd probably be right. But allegiances were rather slippery in those days, and money talked. The English tried her in an ecclesiastical court, and burned her at the stake at age 19 in 1431. Twenty-five years later, pope Callixtus III reexamined the trial, found her innocent, and declared her a martyr. Four hundred ninety-one years later she was cannonized. She had the patience of a STE.
55. Nimbi : HALOES. Not In My Back Ilium! A nimbus is a cloudy radiance surrounding the moon, or the head of a STE. I'm guessing Jeanne got hers right away.
56. Enjoys surreptitiously, as a smoke : SNEAKS. Did you ever sneak a smoke?
58. La Scala production : OPERA. La Scala is the opera theater in Milan.
62. Loses one's temper : RAGES. This is occasionally observed on the road.
63. Fifth color of el espectro : AZUL. Blue, in Spanish, like el Cielo.
64. Stopped working : DIED. When my hard drive died on my new lap top a couple of months ago, the Geek Squad guy called the appearance on the monitor display, "The Azul screen of death!"
65. Surgical tube : STENT
66. Salad, at times : SIDE. As in SIDE dish. As an aside, I had a salad for dinner, not a side, at Panera.
67. __-bitty : ITTY. This means teeny-tiny.
1. Tread the boards : ACT. Slang term for being a thespian.
2. European stew : GOULASH. From the Hungarian Gulyás, meaning herdsman, who would chow down on this thick, meaty stew.
3. Where school attendance is usually taken : HOME ROOM
4. __ mater : ALMA. That school you went to, way back when.
5. Hawaii's "main islands," e.g. : OCTET. Evidently there are eight. I did not know that.
6. Become disenchanted with : SOUR ON.
7. Ad __ : HOC. Meaning, "For this" in Latin, referring to something set up for a specific purpose, not general use.
8. Inquire : ASK
9. Syndicated columnist Goldberg : JONAH. No comment.
10. First name on an historic WWII bomber : ENOLA. Pilot Paul Tibbets named this B-29 bomber after his mother, ENOLA Gay Tibbets. It dropped the bomb on Hiroshima.
11. Zeno's followers : STOICS. This is derived from frequent crossword fill, STOA. The Stoics believed that destructive emotions resulted from errors in judgment. I believe they had it exactly backwards.
12. Meditative martial art : TAI CHI. You can get started here.
13. Bad temper : SPLEEN
18. NFL rushing units : YDS. Yards.
21. 1960s Borgnine sitcom role : McHALE. The show was McHale's Navy. Here's a sample.
22. List-ending letters : ETC. And so on, and so forth.
24. Succeeds : MAKES IT.
25. "Just __!": "Be right there!" : A SEC.
27. Polish partner : SPIT. SPIT and polish refers to appearance and good order. The expression originated in the military, evidently from using a little saliva to put a shine on something.
31. Dietary guideline letters : RDA. Recommended Daily Allowance
32. Talks off the cuff : AD LIBS. A good way to get into trouble, these days.
34. Tandoori bread : NAN. Tandoori is a spicy chicken dish from India. NAN (or NAAN) is a flat bread to go with it. I've had it. Yum!
35. Org. that stages an annual June open : USGA. U. S. Golf Association.
37. Doozy : LULU. Something special, odd, or out of the ordinary, not always in a good way. Here's an example.
38. Classical language of India : SANSKRIT. It stands in the same relationship to modern Indian languages that classical Latin or Greek do for European languages.
41. Prepares : GETS SET
42. Maa, in "Babe" : EWE. Babe is a pig who wants to be a sheep dog. Maa is one of the sheep.
43. Detests : ABHORS
44. Show enthusiasm for, as an opportunity : LEAP AT
45. Purport : ALLEGE
47. Available for siring : AT STUD. Refers to a critter that could be gotten for some begettin'.
50. Actress Sophia : LOREN. Famous actress, here illustrating the theme.
51. You often get a rise out of it : YEAST. If you're a loafer, I suppose.
52. Frère of a mère or père : ONCLE. All in the French family
53. Classical beginning : NEO. NEOclassicism is a revival of classical norms, forms, and methods in art or a intellectual discipline.
57. Autobahn auto : AUDI. A German car on a German road.
59. 57-Down filler : GAS. Fill for the fuel tank. Should be petrol.
60. Israeli weapon : UZI. A sub-machine gun brand since 1950.
61. Big name in ice cream : EDY. This company goes back to 1928, when it was founded by William Dreyer and Joseph EDY. Use in moderation. Too much of this can lead to excess themage, a STOMACH ACHE or even a TUMMY TUCK.