You have to know your BOWLING lingo and iconography today in order to interpret the three theme answers. For those who are ten-pin challenged, / is the symbol for “spare” (i.e., when it takes two balls to knock down all ten pins); X is the symbol for “strike” (i.e., when you knock down all ten pins with one ball); and XXX is a “turkey,” or three strikes in a row.
Armed with this knowledge, the long answers should make sense. I got it (finally!) when I filled in the revealer, and looked back to see ______HESTRAW, and knew it had to be XXXINTHESTRAW. That’s nice, as is the grid spanning XTHERIGHTBALANCE. Those two answers fixed 4 Xs in the grid. In order to get the / in, Mr. Charlson turns to the classic heavy metal band AC/DC, and the excellent /METHEDETAILS. Very nice!
|I didn’t know she was Beetle Bailey’s sister!|
Getting ORTHODOXJEW in the puzzle is the equivalent of a converting a one-ten split for Mr. Charlson. That’s outstanding fill. I also enjoyed RIVERSEINE and 31D: Magellan, e.g. (SPACEPROBE). I am less enthused by such entries as SKEG, ISBN, AGER, ENGR, and ETALII, but I’m sure the craziness of the theme necessitated such compromises.
A fun beginning to the turn. Looking forward to our themelesses tomorrow and Saturday!