Cross posted at The Corner
Theme: RESIDENT EVIL. Today, Doug gives us a hidden word theme, with EVIL tucked into 4 starred entries, and plainly identified in the unifier. I try to avoid solving the unifier too soon, so as to not spoil the gimmick, so for this kind of give-away unifier, it's good to place it close to the end. Let's see where EVIL lurks (other than in the minds and hearts of men.) With 4 answers, one of them grid-spanning, there is lots of opportunity.
20. *Darth Vader, e.g. : MOVIE VILLAIN. Well, this is just about perfect. A major nasty from a block-buster epic series.
Not a good drinking partner, no matter what the drink
28. *City near Sacramento : ROSEVILLE. I don't know anything abut the place, though we also have one here in MI. Maybe the CA coven can fill us in.
Something EVIL might be happening there - if you're a crustacean.
38. *Weekly newspaper with three Pulitzers : THE VILLAGE VOICE. The definitive source of information for news, music, movies, restaurants, reviews, and events in New York - such is their claim.
Beware of EVIL content
46. *Bottom-feeding fish : DEVIL RAYS. Also an American League baseball team since 1998.
They only look EVIL
And the unifier -- 53. Horror video game/film franchise, and a literal feature of the answers to the starred clues : RESIDENT EVIL. This is a series of video games and movies in the horror genre about which I know next to nothing. But I was able to find this picture.
Alice has some big guns, but is not that EVIL looking
Hi gang. JazzBumpa here. This is a strong theme, and a good one if you don't give in to it. Let's see what else is lurking in this puzzle - if you dare join me. I'm taking amulets, a light saber, and a lobster cracker, just in case.
1. Blue toon : SMURF. Not evil, just annoying, and not worth a link, IMHO.
6. Stats at Anaheim's "Big A" : RBI'S. Runs Batted In. It's only been a few weeks since my beloved Tigers went down to ignominious [not to mention EVIL] defeat, and already I miss baseball. Only about 3 1/2 months until Spring Training.
10. Thyme rackmate : SAGE. Companions on the spice rack, or perhaps they might both be used to flavor a rack of lamb. I won't take the thyme to make any SAGE DF rack comments.
14. Garbage can insert : LINER. This is referring to a plastic bag. I just spent several futile minutes trying to find an image of an ocean LINER in a trash can.
15. Vane point : EAST. Weather vane and direction, respectively
16. Supermodel Heidi who inspired a 2009 Barbie doll : KLUM. I did not know that.
17. Wonderland wanderer : ALICE. What's your opinion of the Queen of Hearts?
18. Arctic obstacle : FLOE. Serious navigation hazard. What's the difference between a FLOE and an iceberg?
19. Words before a conclusion : IF SO. Then again, maybe not . . .
23. Educ. support org. : PTA. Parent Teacher's Association.
24. Place to see long lines, briefly : DMV. The much maligned Department of Motor Vehicles - still better than trying to deal with an Insurance Company.
25. Copier tray abbr. : LTR "Letter" size paper - remember, it might not be EVIL, but nor is it legal.
33. Luciano's love : AMORE Italian for Love in general, not Pavarotti's paramour in specific.
35. Common bill : ONE. AKA "The single" - the smallest denomination of U.S. folding money.
36. Never, in Munich : NIE. If I were in Munich, I certainly wouldn't.
37. Workplace in many crime shows : DNA LAB The place where skilled technicians derive evidence from bodily residues to help track down EVIL doers.
42. It's ground in a Southern side dish : HOMINY I've heard it's a bit gritty.
43. Desperate letters : SOS. The universal cry of distress in Morse code for those who are asea. It was in effect internationally from 1906 until 1999. It is now illegal for a ship to signal that she is in distress in Morse code. I am not making this up.
44. __ Aviv : TEL The second most populous city in Israel.
45. Calvin of couture : KLEIN Maker of the world's finest designer underwear for men and women. I'm not making this up, either.
49. Weird : ODD. Like certain trombonists' senses of humor.
50. Developer of the one-named "Jeopardy!" contestant Watson : IBM Formerly International Business Machines, now just IBM.
52. "You don't say!" : GEE Actually, I don't say, "Gee."
59. Composer Bartók : BELA One of the most important composers of the 20th century - and a Hungarian.
62. Privy to : IN ON. Like the Privy Council I once discussed.
63. Pizzeria order : SLICE We had a mountain of pizza Thanksgiving Eve
64. Folk singer associated with Dylan : BAEZ I don't remember the association, but it's been a looong time.
65. As is proper : DULY Such as giving the devil his due.
66. Chromosome components : GENES. The genetic bits that add up to make you what you are.
67. Student's surprise : QUIZ An EVIL sort of surprise.
68. This, in Havana : ESTA Spanish
69. Bouquets : ODORS Technically, this is correct. But we don't typically speak of appetizing odors and EVIL bouquets.
1. Sound of an angry exit : SLAM Don't let the door hit you . . . OK - too late.
3. Deg. issuer : UNIV Degree and University, respectively
4. Rachael Ray offering : RECIPE Does anybody ever use recipes they find on TV?
5. Motel come-on : FREE TV This is quite retro. Now free TV is a given and the come-on is free WIFI - though that's pretty much a given too, these days.
6. Mtge. payment-lowering option : REFI ReFinance - take out a new loan, with more favorable terms, to pay off the old one.
7. Musket projectile : BALL
8. Lover of Tristan : ISOLDE A legend dating back to the 5th century, made into a 3 act opera by Wagner, and a 2006 movie by Ridley Scott. It is full of violence, death, weird turns of fate, and illicit love. The early pilot for all soap operas.
9. Mirror obscurer : STEAM
10. Shallot covering : SKIN OK - but why not onion, or apple, or any person?
11. TV E.T. : ALF Extra-terrestrial and Alien Life Form - yet another TV show I never watched.
12. Mercury Seven astronaut Grissom : GUS He was the 2nd American in space, and the first to go there twice. Along with Ed White and Roger Chaffee, he died in a fire during a pre-launch test of Apollo 1 in January, 1967. The module contained a wide range of lethal hazards, and this sort of tragedy was, alas, probably inevitable.
13. Mopey music genre : EMO Derived from mid 80's hard core punk, originally called "emotional hardcore" or "emocore." The rest is history
21. For naught : VAINLY
22. Joint tsar with Peter I : IVAN V IVAN was the nominal Czar from 1682 to 1696. He was a chronic invalid with sever physical and mental deficiencies.
25. Nabokov nymphet : LOLITA Humbert Humbert's favorite ingenue. Will our Lolita show up today?
26. Actress Gold of "Growing Pains" : TRACEY She played Carol Seaver on this 80's sitcom that I never watched.
27. Rejects authority : REBELS Here, REBELS is a verb. I can relate.
28. "Orange, Red, Yellow" painter Mark : ROTHKO You tell me.
29. In phone limbo : ON HOLD Where you end up after climbing the infernal automated telephone tree - a truly EVIL invention.
30. Came off as : SEEMED
31. Hip-hop's __ Kim : L'IL Image. Doesn't look so L'IL. Maybe she's short.
32. Car shopper's option : LEASE Mine is up in March. Maybe I'll buy this time.
34. 1972 host to Nixon : MAO I'll bet C.C. knows more about him than I do.
37. Decorator's study : DESIGN
39. Final article of the Constitution : VII. The full text: The Ratification of the Conventions of nine States, shall be sufficient for the Establishment of this Constitution between the States so ratifying the Same. I think it was a success.
40. Navel variety : INNIE We all know what this means. This turned out to be another time waster, since I couldn't find an attractive picture that I thought met the high standards of this blog.
41. URL ending for many agencies : GOV For Government agencies.
46. It's usually barely passing : D-MINUS Try harder, please.
47. "Time to split!" : LET'S GO
48. Aroused the patrolman's suspicion : REELED This one confused me, until I figured out he suspected you were drunk.
51. Hit back? : B-SIDE The flip side of a hit record. Tricky.
53. Make fun of : RAZZ Derived from "raspberry." I wanted JAPE. I just like that word.
54. Blockhead : DOLT
55. Gaelic music star : ENYA. Eithne Ní Bhraonáin and I must have some sort of mystical connection. I get her every time.
56. Ristorante beverage : VINO Italian wine for an Italian eatery.
57. Éclair finisher : ICER One who applies icing.
58. Reduced by : LESS According to the free dictionary, in this usage, LESS is a preposition. Five less three is two.
59. Jul. 4th party, often : BBQ Burger, dog or brat?
60. __ Claire : EAU A city in WI. "Clear Water" in French
61. Ring of blooms : LEI A new clue for a crossword stalwart.
There you have it. A pretty solid puzzle, but with 20 3-letter words and an abundance of abbreviations and a smattering of foreign words. Not sure how I feel about that. What about you?