“Freeze Zone” by Elizabeth C. Gorski – 13:22
Hi everyone. Welcome to the party!
Theme: 61A. [Hot weather refuge, and this puzzle's theme] – COOLING CENTER. “ICE” is straddling the two words of each theme answer. Pretty cool. You know what you can ICE? A birthday cake! With ICE cream!
22A. [Congressional debate topic] – PUBLIC EXPENDITURE
30A. [One on a mission] – DIPLOMATIC ENVOY
52A. [Freudian force] – PSYCHIC ENERGY
79A. ["King Lear" and "Othello" have them] – TRAGIC ENDINGS. Spoiler alert!
98A. [Peary and Amundsen, e.g.] – ARCTIC EXPLORERS. I had COOLING CENTER and ARCTIC and thought all the answers would start with a cold word. Brrr.
110A. [Cling Free target] – STATIC ELECTRICITY
14D. [Sight-restoring innovations] – BIONIC EYES. We can rebuild him. We have the technology.
68D. [Pricey gift for Yo-Yo Ma] – AMATI CELLO
10A. [301, to Diocletian] – CCCI/20A. [Small batteries] – AAAS/10D. [Battery terminals] – CATHODES/11D. [___ City, Philippines] – CAUAYAN/12D. [Haul] – CART. I’m thinking the rows of CAs is a shoutout to me on my birthday: Crossword Addicted, CAnadian Chartered Accountant. Thanks, Elizabeth!
27A. [New parent, for one] – NAMER. Andrea Carla Michaels, for another.
92A. [Mrs. Malaprop, vis-a-vis language] – MISUSER. I think she is a misabuser of language.
114A. [Buffalo's county] – ERIE. We don’t see ERIE enough in puzzles.
115A. [Shade garden staples] – HOSTAS. We see too much of HOSTAS in puzzles.
117A. [Paul Anka’s “___ Beso”] – ESO. The first Justin Bieber. Just ask the Ottawa Citizen.
1D. [Overly excited] – AMPED. Yes, I am amped. And stoked. And jazzed.
6D. ["Battlestar Galactica" prequel] – CAPRICA. That is the remake version, so it could be called a sequel prequel.
37D. [Encyclopedia start] – VOLUME ONE. They should come out with a version that starts with volume two. It would drive people nuts looking for the missing book.
42D. [Petunia, for one] – PIG. Wikipedia says that “she looks much like her boyfriend, Porky Pig, except that she wears a dress and has braided black hair.” This isn’t a Dame Edna/Barry Humphries thing, is it?
48D. [Unisex] – HISORHERS. That’s an odd word. Oh, HIS OR HERS. Much better.
64D. [One of the "Big Four" record companies] – EMI. Sony, Universal and Warner are the other three.
66D. [Letters on Gagarin's helmet] – CCCP. Again with the CCC.
67D. [Loose-fitting garment] – HAREM PANTS. Can’t touch this!
76D. [Estonia and Latvia, formerly: Abbr.] – SSRS. In the formerly CCCP.
80D. [Youngest son of Arthur and Molly Weasley] – RON. Older brothers are brothers, Bill, Charlie, Percy, twins Fred and George. Also has a younger sister, Ginny. First big hit was One Bad Apple.
87D. [Moment of silence?] – DEAD AIR. Better fix your 89D. [Radio buttons] – PRESETS
94D. [YouTube uploads] – VIDEOS. Never heard of it.
96D. [Bilingual Muppet on "Sesame Street"] – ROSITA. I tried Swedish Chef, but he is unilingual.
104D. [“Gypsy” composer] – STYNE
This is my 70th puzzle blogged here since August 2009. It’s been a great year. Thanks Amy, for the opportunity, and thanks to all of you for reading (and I hope you have forgiven me for April 1).