“Sets in Order” by Joe DiPietro – 11:58
Well here’s a theme we don’t see very often. If by not very often you don’t count last Sunday’s New York Times. As we all know, the crossword editors meet every Monday morning to plot these types of “coincidences”. So enough about that. Let’s judge this one on its own merits.
23A. [Explorer whose autobiography is titled "Alone"] – ADMIRAL BYRD – AB
25A. [July 1 celebration] – CANADA DAY – CD
31A. [Cost to compete] – ENTRY FEE – EF
34A. [Becomes besieged] – GETS HEMMED IN. The first twist; three words – GHI
51A. [Status attained after passing the Trials of Skill, Spirit, and Knowledge] – JEDI KNIGHT. JK. I had J-D and put JUDO MASTER down. Jeffrey Krasnick works here. Dance off with the Stars Wars Stars!
65A. ["Don't these clothes I just got look good on me?"] – LIKE MY NEW OUTFIT – LMNO. Four words. The bar gets raised again.
82A. [It contains spooled documents] – PRINT QUEUE – PQ. But how do you get them out of the queue so they actually print?
97A. [Did diagnostic work] – RAN SOME TESTS – RST
102A. [Pope with the shortest reign (13 days)] – URBAN VII – UV. It gets harder near the end of the alphabet.
108A. [Popular operating system] – WINDOWS XP. Like I said.
111A. [Some demarcated parking areas] – YELLOW ZONES. Aren’t those actually no parking areas in many places? Don’t try it around here.
Bonus hidden clues:
6A. [Part of many stars' names] – ALPHA/11A. [Cash on hand?] – BET. ALPHA-BET screaming out on row 1. Nice touch!
Verdict – Well played!
19A. [Engage in petty criticism] – SNIPE. Crossword bloggers should never do this.
20A. [GPS forerunner] – LORAN. Stupid answer [snipe].
21A. [Tribe that lent its name to a state] – UTE. The state of Utopia, of course.
27A. [You are here] – EARTH. Are you sure? Don’t astronauts do crosswords? If I’m in a space station, I want some Omnibus collections. Speaking of which, I’ve started the Wall Street Journal Omnibus. All of the themes were Wall Street Journal, financial term based at one time. When did this change?
38A. [City founded in 1906 by U.S. Steel] – GARY. Gary U.S. Steel changed his name to Gary U.S. Bonds
39A. ["___ Blue?"] – AM I. Batman?
42A. [It may be used by Professor Plum] – ROPE. Again? Throw him in jail already.
62A. [Heroine of Cather's "The Song of the Lark"] – THEA. I’m guessing this clue proves there are no famous THEAs.
71A. [Jayma Mays's "Glee" role] – EMMA
118A. [Jed Clampett portrayer] – EBSEN. Hey, a new SNIPE clue
120A. [Quebec underground] – METRO. Montreal, actually. Good luck finding a METRO in Quebec City.
3D. [Handy moving company?] – MIME TROUPE. Just got it. MI METROUPE? MIMET ROUPE? Parsing madness.
9D. [Gosling's first sound] – HARD G. Did you fall for it again?
33D. [Key of Scriabin's Symphony No. 1] – E MAJor. Can I find this clip? Yup.
46D. [Its biggest city is Chicago, Ill.] – MIDWEST US. More parsing madness. Midwestus? Past the fareastus?
52D. ["The Wanderer" singer] – DION
53D. [She played Anna in "Anna Karenina" and "Anna Christie"] – GRETA. Also in Anna Get Your Gun. The great GRETA Merman.
66D. [Family on which "Please Don't Eat the Daisies" is based] – KERRS. This is an obscure fact twice- removed.
110D. [IV squared] – XVI. I prefer “cube root of MMMMXCVI”
115D. [___-Foy, Quebec] – STE. No Metro here either.
119A. ["Hello, ___ Be Going"] – I MUST. Hello, I must be going. I cannot stay, I came to say I must be going. I’m glad I came but just the same I must be going.