In this puzzle, five dogs of literary and comic strip fame (ASTA, ODIE, NANA, TOTO, and SANDY) have become separated from their owners and are "lost" in longer answers elsewhere in the grid. My favorite answer is also my least favorite: at 46A we find ODIE in YOYODIETERS. I like the expression yo yo dieters, but anyone who knows me knows that I have a long-standing animosity to the Garfield comic strip. The owner or owners of each dog is a separate answer to a clue that offers a brief description of the dog and calls asks for the person or persons to call if the dog is found. "Last seen being mocked by a cat. If found call ____" JONARBUCKLE.
The dog names are nicely incorporated across multiple words in the answers, and they all appear in different parts of the grid from the owners. I was surprised at the number of the dog/owner pairs I knew. I figured out the theme with LITTLEORPHANANNIE, but her dog was the one whose name I was least familiar with, giving me some trouble in the southeast. The crosses weren't much help because I didn't know the Utah Mountain range UINTA, I wasn't sure how they were going to spell UEY, and I think SCREEN is an odd answer for "Moviedom." Props to Mr. Sewell for pounding all the dogs and owners into the grid without leaving too much junk around. I might wish the belt of answers across the middle (TPKS, HAI, BAJA, RTE) had been tightened up a bit, but those four answers work out to less than 3% of the total fill. There was some nice bonus theme material with LOSTDOG at 1A and and SIC. As an aside, DOROTHYGALE is an hilariously apt name for the central character of "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz." Apt!
Well, it's time for me to blow this hot dog stand and turn the gig over to a professional. GOTOTOWN, Colum.
Great week of reviews, Frannie! I think we all know who the professional is around here.
I had a hilarious time trying to figure out why the dogs were advertising for their lost owners, mistaking the blanks in the clues as if they were to be filled by the pets' names. Why, why, why, I asked myself, was LITTLEORPHANANNIE clued as being in the company of a red-haired girl? Also, I'll say here that I'd thought it might be Charlie Brown, who pined after a little redheaded girl.
Anyway, figured all that out. I'll just point out that 1A: Heading on a neighborhood poster (LOSTDOG) is part of the theme as well.
My favorite clue and answer is 87D: Love all around? (NOSCORE). Took a long time to get that!