Hello, Dear Reader. I want to start today's post with a nod to my brother Rich, who is at least partly responsible for my love of puzzles. He himself subscribed to the The Four-Star Puzzler (those were much too hard for me!), and I think he might have been the one who gave me my first subscription to Games magazine way back when. Passing a Sunday puzzle around on a clipboard with him and others on the porch on a lazy summer morning was one of life's great pleasures. It's not that we needed to pass it around to finish it, but it was just fun to share the experience. And if one clue or answer was especially appropriate for one of us, someone would leave it blank on purpose and then pass it saying something like "I don't suppose you have any idea what 44-Across could be..." It could even have happened last summer, but in October he was diagnosed with a particularly aggressive disease, and yesterday he died. I tell you this not for your sympathy, but just to say it out loud. I can hardly believe that it has happened. Thanks for listening.
So what about this NEATO theme of ONOMATOPOEIAs? I like it. Six examples run across the top and bottom rows, and the word itself (if you don't pronounce the eponym part of it - which no one ever does) is sounded out by the "ana" "mata" "pia" endings of the theme entries. And how about those great trivia clues for FRENCHGUIANA (Region in South America that's technically part of Europe) (don't confuse it with Guyana), ETHIOPIA (African country with its own 13-month calendar) (Who knew?!)? And PADTHAI (Southeast Asian noodle dish invented in a nationalist recipe contest) (mmmm.... PADTHAI....) and KIA (Car company whose name roughly translates to "rising out of Asia"). That's just what we like to see. And let's not forget about the delicious preserved fruits from KALAMATA!
PERISCOPES (They help you see at sea) is lovely, coming up from the bottom of the grid, as it does, (or is it going down?), and I love that WELP ("So much for that!") gets into a grid for just the second time today. I say that a lot.
I could have done without having to think about that lunatic ELON, and IATE is an odd partial, but there's not much else to DETER us from a fun solve. I hope you enjoyed it. I hope you are enjoying everything you do.