OVER THE MOON
On this rainy Sunday, I once again take the reins of blogging after two fine weeks from my esteemed co-bloggers. Since I was last here, the household has gained another pup. Craziness abounds, and the smell of wet fur permeates the rooms at this moment. Although offset by the lovely smell of chicken stock, in preparation for matzoh ball soup tonight. Happy Passover!
Meanwhile, in the puzzle, we get five examples of phrases whose first word is a synonym for being in a good mood. Each word is directly above the name of a moon in our solar system, equalling the word in its length. Thus, they are "over the moon" in two senses.
The challenge in this construction is not so much in finding synonyms and moons whose numbers of letters are the same, although BLISSFULIGNORANCE over GANYMEDE was likely the toughest there. No, I imagine it's the constraints of the two words being adjacent, and which leads to most of the less than lovely fill. See where "merry" is atop NAIAD, leading to MNO, or "happy" atop TITAN leads to SYN.
Still, it's a great set of five long answers, with the highlight being the grid-spanning HAPPYDAYSAREHEREAGAIN. I also very much enjoyed the Mary Poppins reference CHEERYDISPOSITION from the too cute for words song "The Perfect Nanny." Perhaps GEMINI and UFOS were bonus theme answers.
Other highlights include the clue for 82A: Time before computers, facetiously (STONEAGE) - dang, I remember getting our first home computer, an Atari 800. My older brothers enjoyed programming in Basic. Me, I just liked the games. Also, 99A: Solo flier? (CHEWBACCA) is very nicely done.
20A: Take part in a D&D campaign, e.g. (ROLEPLAY) certainly could have been a bluer clue, but I appreciate the nod to a renewed national interest in Dungeons and Dragons, an old favorite from around the time we got that personal computer. Recently I've gotten back into it, and it's a ton of fun.
Finally, we should all give a nod to Thomas F. Wilson, the actor who played BIFF in Back to the Future. No great high school movie can succeed without a great bad guy, and he did it beautifully. "So why don't you make like a tree, and get out of here?"