Theme: BLOODY HELL! Common two-word adjective-plus-noun phrases are re-imagined in such a way that the adjective is used as a British pejorative. Clever use of alternate meanings. The word "confounded" in all the theme clues had me on the wrong track right away, thinking that the modified word would be mixed up rather than a cause of anger or annoyance. So this additional use of an alternate meaning in the clue confounded me from the get go.
20 A. Confounded British illumination? : BLINKING LIGHTS. Lights that flash on and off or lights that cause consternation. You decide
40 A. Confounded British posies? : BLOOMING FLOWERS. Who could be annoyed by these buds opening up and showing off their beauty? Someone with a pollen allergy, perhaps.
56 A. Confounded British residences? : FLIPPING HOUSES. To flip a house is an attempt at real estate arbitrage: buying it for a [presumed] cheap price and then selling it quickly for dear. During the bubble a decade or so ago, properties could be flipped repeatedly in the same day. Not so much any more. After the crash [pro tip: bubbles ALWAYS crash] FLIPPING those FLIPPING HOUSES got a lot harder, more risky and less profitable.
Hi gang, JazzBumpa here. Maybe Steve should have had this one. I'll admit, solving it was not a doodle for me. Excellent theme, with a grid-spanner and two 14's. Also, some impressive long downs. Let's see if I can get through this write up without making a dog's dinner of it.
1. Monday Night Football regular until 1983 : COSELL. Howard. He was a good announcer - for boxing, and by all accounts a fine human being who did a lot to promote the appreciation of black athletes in all sports. Sadly, though, he knew bugger all about American football and his presence in the press box on Monday nights was a flipping embarassment.
7. Gobbled, as a turkey : ATE. An American tradition is to gobble the gobbler and fall asleep on the couch watching football.
10. Site with a "Buy It Now" option : EBAY. Etail pioneer.
14. Mecca's peninsula : ARABIA. Geography
15. In the bath : WET. Or in car wash. Soapy, too.
16. "__ Rock" : I AM A. Feeling no pain.
17. Hires a new crew for : REMANS.
18. Styled after : A LA.
19. Shot up : GREW. Quickly. Not to be confused with launched, did drugs, or filled with bullets.
23. Jamaican genre : SKA.
24. Walkway material : SLATE. Alternative to concrete. It has a very smooth surface that can be hazardous in winter.
25. Meter or liter : UNIT of measurement.
29. Med. plan option : HMO. Health Maintenance Organization.
31. "Twin Peaks" co-creator David : LYNCH. It's coming back next year.
34. White House maiden name between Pierce and Welch : RODHAM. Recent first ladies. One of these ladies could also be the first at something else.
37. Dr. J hairstyle : AFRO. Julius Erving was a basketball star in the 70's and early 80's.
39. Lone Ranger and Tonto, e.g. : DUO. Like Batman and Robin.
43. First __ : AID. Amateur medical treatment for minor injuries.
44. Horner's find : PLUM. Jack in a corner, with pie.
45. Have a strong desire (for) : STARVE for attention, maybe.
46. Things to fulfill : NEEDS. Or wishes.
48. It's on the streets : TAR. Macadam pavement.
50. Flanders river : YSER. Map.
51. Vinegar vessel : CRUET. A flat bottom, narrow-necked vessel, often with an integral spout and handle.
53. Dangerous snake : ASP. The infamous Egyptian cobra.
62. Actor Bean of "Game of Thrones" : SEAN. Lord Eddard Stark, like every character SEAN Bean plays, dies on screen. Mercifully, you will not see it in this clip from season 1. Embedding disabled. You can see it here.
63. Aegean __ : SEA. Between Greece and Turkey.47. Round components : DRINKS. Steps toward getting loaded.
64. Give one's word : ASSURE.
65. Stock options, e.g. : PERK. Short for perquisite, an extra prize given to someone due to their position. Note that there is no consideration of merit.
66. WWII intel agcy. : O. S. S. Office of Strategic Services.
67. Look through partially open curtains, say : PEER IN. Peer out and peep in seem more likely.
68. Round components : ALES. Rounds of drinks. Nice deception. Also making the rounds:
11 D. Round servers : BARTENDERS. A round is one drink for everyone in the party.
47 D. Round components : DRINKS. Steps toward getting loaded.
It's a clecho-go-round.
69. Vague degree : NTH. Yes, it is not specified, but it means to whatever degree is necessary, generally assumed to be a very high degree indeed.
70. Flowed in circles : EDDIED. You can see it happening early in the video taken where the pacific Ocean meets the Sea of Japan.
1. Prep for a marathon, with "up" : CARB. Carbohydrate loading to boost the energy reserve.
2. N.L. Cy Young Award winner three years after Dwight : OREL. In 1985 Dwight Gooden of the N. Y. Mets went 24-4 with an amazing 1.53 ERA and 269 K's. That's Earned Run Average, and stikeouts, for the uninitiated. In 1988 OREL Hershiser of the L. A. Dodgers went 23-8 with a 2.26 ERA and 178 K's. He also recorded 1 save. Since 1967, 5 N. L. relief pitchers have won the award. Among N. L. starters, only Hershiser recorded a save.
3. Nordic language : SAMI. The SAMI people, speakers of this language, also known as Lapplanders, are the northernmost indigenous people of Europe.
4. "Voice of Israel" author : EBAN. This book by Abba EBAN was published in 1969.
5. Rory McIlroy's milieu : LINKS. Famous for McIlroy's sweet 'n' spicy maple chipolte sausages. No, wait - he's a golfer.
6. Big name in vision correction : LASIK. Laser eye surgery.
7. Like an excited puppy's tail : AWAG. The dreaded a- word. I'm not cheesed off, nor am I chuffed. A bit of meh! perhaps; not my cup of tea.
8. Takes to task : TELLS OFF. Scolds
9. Web business : ETAIL. Electronic retail portmanteau.
10. San Francisco-to-Teaneck interstate : EIGHTY. I-80 includes the OH and PA turnpikes.
12. Iowa State city : AMES. Iowa State University is in AMES.
13. Swerve from a course : YAW. An unwanted right or left off-course deviation.
21. "I'll pass" : NAH. Informal, slangy negation.
22. Clumsy sort : GALOOT. I picture a rather large, nice but socially awkward guy in a western movie.
25. Citified : URBAN. Ironically clued the other day as country singer Kieth.
26. "Cross my heart" : NO LIE. Declaration of honesty
27. "Bless my soul!" : I DO DECLARE. Gor blimey! An exclamation of surprise.
28. Howe'er : THO. But, but, but . . . abbreviated.
30. Molten rock : MAGMA. While underground. Above ground it's lava.
32. Bend : CURVE. An arc.
33. Car wash employee, at times : HOSER. Hose operator.
35. Excites : AMPS UP. Amplifies anything, so I guess excitement could be included. Not a rock solid connection, though.
36. Wire thickness unit : MIL. Thousandth of an inch.
38. "Kidnapped" author's monogram : RLS. Did Robert Louis Stevenson have restless leg syndrome?
41. Most eccentric : NUTTIEST. Bonkers!
42. Manner : WAY. Behavioral norms.
49. Cloth remnant : RAG.
52. HP competitor : EPSON. Printers
54. Configure : SHAPE.
55. Prepared for a shot : POSED. Like this.
56. Texture : FEEL. The tactile quality of a surface or object.
57. "I don't mind eels / Except as meals / And the way they feels" poet : NASH. A texture thing, I suppose; from Ogden NASH, who also gave us "Candy is dandy/ But liquor is quicker.
58. Previously driven, say : USED. Cars
59. TomKat's daughter : SURI. Modern couple portmanteau construction mashes the two names together, thus Tom and Katie give us TomKat, even long after they have split. Katie comes from my home town, along the shore of . . .
60. Lake at one end of the Niagara River : ERIE.
61. Final email step : SEND. Once you push that button, it's too late to say, "Ooops!"
62. Place for a pedi : SPA. Pedicure at a commercial establishment offering health and beauty treatments.
Well, there it is. Not easy peasy by any means. I thought the theme was brill, the whole puzzle was ace, and Bob's your uncle.
P. S. If you want to brush up your British slang, it can be found here.