IT WAS 50 YEARS AGO TODAY
I was briefly thrown off the scent in this one because I thought to myself, "No, Sgt. Pepper's came out in 1967, so this must be about something other than that." Well, it was, but then again, it wasn't so very different after all.
Since I run through the Across clues first, the first indication I had was ITBE (42A: "Let ____"), which was enough to get me back onto the Beatles idea. By the time I got to 70A: Much of the audience for 6-Down's show on 2/9/64 (TEENAGERS), I had enough crosses running through 6-Down to see exactly what was going on. The only tricky part left was filling in the circles. "John, Paul, George, and Ringo" was too short… Frannie quickly realized that it was to be the full names. And it's a nice touch that John Lennon and George Harrison are wrapped around a cross.
Some of the non-theme material amused us quite a bit today, but perhaps only because we are maybe thinking a little too much about crosswords these days. Just last night we were joking about fill like "Am too" and "Are not," so when I came to 4D: Schoolyard rejoinder (ISTOO), there was much rejoicing. Further, while watching the Olympics, we were discussing the Cyrillic alphabet and the Roman alphabet, and how we use the Roman alphabet, but Arabic numerals, and Frannie said that was because Roman numerals were terrible for math. We agreed, however, that they were great for crosswords. And then right after "ISTOO" we got LII (5D: Card count in Ceasar's Palace?)! It's a nice clue, but really, they probably didn't have to capitalize "palace." It was deliberately misleading, I know, but it doesn't seem quite fair. And speaking of capitals, shouldn't the "count" in 21A: Jazz count (BASIE) be capitalized? I know it wasn't his actual name, but still… Another one that seemed a little off just to be more cutesy was 80D: Apes (IMITATORS) (following 79D: Apes (OAFS)). Shouldn't that second one have been either "apers" or "imitates?" I guess you could call an "aper" an "ape," but… well… ok, whatever.
We enjoyed the unusualness of USUAL (27A: Bar order, with "the"). And speaking of unusual, you don't hear LOLLOP (32A: Move in an ungainly way), or THITHER (22A: In that direction) very much. Or VAS (43A: ____ deferens), for that matter. Ahem!
Frannie liked ACUTE (48A: Less than right), and NUISANCE (63A: Detour, e.g.). And she got ETATS (69A: Plural French word that spells its singular English form in reverse) off of just _TA_ _. I thought 107A: Queen who fell for Zeus' swan song? (LEDA) was a good one.
Overall, it was a pretty good Sunday. I mean, who doesn't like The Beatles, right?