Theme: Homophonic Quartet. Four Two-word phrases have like-sounding second words, all spelt differently. Straight forward theme idea.
17. Equipment for picnic competitions : POTATO SACKS. Used for monopodic races.
23. Embryo development sites : AMNIOTIC SACS. The fluid-filled membrane container where embryos reside and develop until birth or hatching in reptiles, birds and mammals.
51. Big name on Wall Street : GOLDMAN SACHS. New York based multinational investment banking firm.
62. Lisa Simpson's instrument : BARITONE SAX. The bari is distinguished by the tubing bend that extends higher than the mouth piece.
Hi gang, JazzBumpa here. The challenge with this kind of theme is first finding a quartet of homophones, then fitting them into symmetric pairs of in-the-language phrases to build a grid around. This one is really well done. With the sound-alikes behind us, lets see what else is in store.
1. Bumper car, at times : RAMMER. The fun of bumper cars is to have as many collisions as possible. Still, rather an awkward opener.
7. Cookbook author Rombauer : IRMA. (1887 - 1962) Author of The Joy of Cooking.
11. Smoke : CIGarette. The thing that is smoked becomes a smoke. Language is funny that way. I tried to smoke a fish once, but couldn't keep it lit.
14. Lancelot's unrequited lover : ELAINE. Of Astolat, who dies of grief for her unrequited love, as related in the versions of the Arthurian legend by Mallory and Tennyson. She is also the inspiration for Tennyson's The Lady of Shalott.
15. Assam products : TEAS. Dried leaves, boiled in water. Just that. As I pointed out last week, we have a cuppa most afternoons.
16. Barcelona bear : OSO. Note the alliteration.
19. Grabbed a chair : SAT.
20. Melee : SET TO. Brawl.
21. Ballet bend : PLIE. At the knees, with the feet positioned just so.
22. State with five national parks : UTAH. The Bee Hive State, home to last week's Antelope Island.
26. Priestly vestment : ALB.
29. Right Guard rival : BAN. Underarm deodorants.
30. Old anesthetic : ETHER.
31. Willy Loman, in a 1949 play : SALESMAN. Multiple Tony Award winner Death of a Salesman, by Arthur Miller, adapted for the silver screen in 1951, and nominated for many Oscars.
34. Architect Jones : INIGO. B 1573 - D 1652, which might be why none of us have ever heard of him. Unlike this guy.
37. McDonald's founder : KROC. Ray (1902-1984) Little known factoid - He chose the name McDonald's because Krocburgers are only popular in Florida.
38. Make really happy : ELATE.
41. Nobel Prize subj. : ECONomics, the dismal science.
42. "Cheers!" : SKOAL. A Scandinavian toast, not involving knackebrod.
44. Connections traced on ancestry.com : HERITAGE. Anything passed down from previous generations.
46. Tiny amounts : DRAMS. Each dram is 1/16 oz. or 1.7718451953125 grams. Scarcely enough for a decent SKOAL.
49. Chill in the air : NIP. A word with many meanings, one of which might be accompanied by a SKOAL.
50. Denials : NOS. Opposite of yeses, not abbreviated numbers.
55. French friends : AMIS. French buddies would lose the alliteration.
56. Elevator option : DOWN. Also a duck option. And one may duck DOWN. Neat how that all fits. But DOWN as an across fill?!? Is that even legal?
57. Horseshoe-shaped letter : OMEGA. Only in its upper-case version (capital: Ω, lowercase: ω; Greek Ωμέγα.) Last letter of the 24 character Greek alphabet.
61. Tried to get into an office : RAN. Political office. Moving right along . . .
64. With 43-Down, what a criminal might be on : THE. We'll defer completing this until we get to 43 D.
65. Augusta National's __ Corner : AMEN. Too long a story to relate. You can read about it here.
66. British Invasion star : BEATLE. Back in my 'ute. What - no love for The Troggs?!?
67. Doesn't lack : HAS. Round about clue for possesses.
68. Nothing more than : MERE.
69. Its flag features a six-pointed star : ISRAEL. I had a star flag last week too. This is getting spooky.
OK, that wraps it up. I had a few nits, but over-all a good Wednesday offering, with a bit of deja vu at no extra cost.
1. Weight room count : REPS. Repetitions of a lifting maneuver. Typically 8 to 12 REPS to a set, 3 sets to a routine.
2. Burn soother : ALOE. Plant juice. ALOE, my name is INIGO . . .
3. Damon of "The Martian" : MATT.
4. Mazda roadster : MIATA.
5. Inters : ENTOMBS. Alternative to underground burial.
6. Classic auto : REO.
7. Novelist Calvino : ITALO. [1923-1985] Italian journalist, author of short stories and novels, occasional crossword resident.
8. Deliver from memory : RECITE. Do you know your lines?
9. Succeed : MAKE IT. OK - but where?
10. In the Gospels, Jesus rode into Jerusalem on one : ASS. As in donkey.
11. San José denizen : COSTA RICAN. Do you know the way?
12. First name in gravity : ISAAC. Newton.
13. Some black-clad teens : GOTHS. Who knew this was still a thing?
18. "This Is __ Tap" : SPINAL. Rock documentary parody from 1984.
22. Early Web forum : USENET. Worldwide distributed discussion system that debuted in 1980.
24. Title : NAME. These do not strike me as being equivalent.
25. City with two MLB teams : CHIcago. Also, one each of football, basketball and hockey.
26. More than wonders : ASKS. Another odd clue. Asking is not wondering raised to a higher level.
27. Carefree adventure : LARK.
28. Connections traced on ancestry.com : BLOODLINES. Familial relationships, and a rare full multi-word chleco.
32. Modern birthday greetings : E-CARDS. We are so retro we send the paper ones via the USPS.
33. "Can't help ya" : NAH. A generic negative response.
35. Disco adjective : GO-GO.
36. Tip jar fillers : ONES. Dollar bills.
39. Lease signer : TENANT. Apartment renter.
40. "The Very Hungry Caterpillar" writer Carle : ERIC.
43. See 64-Across : LAM. Apparently this is an old word meaning to beat or thrash. So to go on THE LAM is literally to beat it.
45. Galaxy alternatives : I-PHONES. Hand held communicating and computing devices.
47. Title for Bovary : MADAME. Emma, the eponym for Gustav Flaubert's first novel.
48. Distracting bedmate : SNORER. Let's not get personal.
51. "Party on, Wayne" speaker : GARTH. From Wayne's World on SNL.
52. City on the Missouri : OMAHA, Nebraska -- Gary?
53. Sty denizens : SWINE. Big piggies, little piggies, sows.
54. Ugly campaign tactic : SMEAR. We'll have none of that here.
58. "¿Cómo __?" : ESTA. How are you?
59. "The Wizard of Oz" family name : GALE.
60. Skater's maneuver : AXEL. Available in single up to at least quad varieties.
62. Impact sound : BAM. Or pow! Yet another rerun from last week.
63. Geisha's sash : OBI.
63. Geisha's sash : OBI.