WAY OUT WEST
Hey everyone! Welcome back to me! Thanks to Horace and Frances for an excellent two weeks of scrumptious and nutritious blog posts. I am reminded of The Phantom Tollbooth, where in the Kingdom of Dictionopolis, you had to eat your words, literally. I'm afraid my words would be dry and uninteresting.
I just got back from NYC, and solving Saturday and Sunday's puzzles with my mother, a very enjoyable pastime. Today's effort revolves around ROUTESIXTYSIX, an important roadway pre-interstate highways. I am always amazed to find out that it starts in Illinois. The grid highlights its pathway through the various states by highlighting their accepted two-letter postal abbreviations in a path from NE to SW.
Also nicely, the northeast terminus, Grant PARK sits just below the IL in the northeastern part, while Santa Monica PIER, the southwest terminus, sits just above the CA in the southwestern part.
The other geographical attractions noted, including the PAINTEDDESERT, CADILLACRANCH, and the GATEWAYARCH are not as precisely located within the stretch of state abbreviations, but that might have been asking a bit too much! Overall, a nicely worked out theme for an oversized Sunday grid.
I also want to note the cleverness with which the state abbreviations are worked into their parent answers. Note particularly 75A: Roux ingredient? (SILENTX) and 99A: Being treated, in a way (ONMEDS).
I hadn't recalled too much clever in the rest of the fill. My favorite clue-answer pair (C/AP) is 5D: Character on a keyboard (SCHROEDER). That's some great work there. In the other direction, I will pick a nit with 69A: Gear for gondoliers (OARS). They only use a single oar in actuality.