Tuesday, July 29, 2020 Steve Mossberg

The Can Can.

The first word in each theme answer can be placed before, or "open", the word Can to give us a common item often found in a kitchen.

17-Across. Open-air alehouse: BEER GARDEN.  Beer Can.

21-Across. Taunting banter between players: TRASH TALK.  Trash Can.

35-Across. Topper for a conspiracy theorist: TIN FOIL HAT.  Tin Can.

42-Across. Faux bronzing technique: SPRAY-ON TAN.  Spray Can.

56-Across. Traditional St. Patrick's Day slice: SODA BREAD.  Soda Can.  Here's a recipe for Irish Soda Bread.

And the unifier:

62-Across. Kitchen gadgets, and what the starts 17-, 21-, 35-, 42- and 56-Across are: CAN OPENERS.

1. Grating sound: RASP.

5. Self-restrained: STAID.

10. Partner of ebb: FLOW.

14. Twice tetra-: OCTA-.  Remember the Octomom, the woman who gave birth to 8 children?  Her octuplets are now 11 years old.

15. Black-and-white bamboo lover: PANDA.  China leases its Pandas to American zoos.

16. Saxophonist Coltrane named for sitarist Shankar: RAVI.  I am not familiar with Ravi Coltrane (b. Aug. 6, 1965).  He is the son of saxophonist John Coltrane (Sept. 23, 1926 ~ July 17, 1967).

19. Emergency op for choppers: EVAC.

20. Make euphoric: ELATE.

23. Green eggs lover: SAM-I-AM.  A reference to Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss.  His editor, Bennett Cerf, bet Seuss that he couldn't write a book using 50 or fewer distinct words.  The editor lost.  Green Eggs and Ham uses only 50 words.  "I do not like them, Sam-I-Am, I do not like green eggs and ham."

25. Request from: ASK OF.

26. Swing and Jazz: ERAs.  As in Swing Era or the Jazz Era.

28. Slap shot disks: PUCKS.

32. Reheats in a microwave: ZAPS.

39. "Mr. Blue Sky" rock gp.: ELO.   Also known as the Electric Light Orchestra.

40. Flimsy: TENUOUS.

41. Before, quaintly: ERE.

44. Test: EXAM.

45. Add, as a column of numbers: TOT UP.  This phrase has recently generated a lot of discussion in the puzzles.

46. TV screen types: LCDs.  As in a Liquid Crystal Display screen.

48. King's domain: REALM.

52. Cal. home of the Latino Walk of Fame: EAST L.A.

60. Showed again: RE-RAN.

61. Graven image: IDOL.

64. Screwdriver, e.g.: TOOL.  Also a drink made with Vodka and Orange Juice.  Between my junior and senior year in high school, I was admitted into a college summer program.  My roommate and I would go to the weekly concerts put on by the music department, not because we were interested in the music, but for the screwdrives that were served after the concerts.

65. Compound with a fruity aroma: ESTER.

66. Give in: CAVE.  Amazing drawings can be found in the Lascaux Cave in France.  I first visited the Lascaux Caves about 30 years ago.  We had been living in France, so were comfortable with the language, however, a tour was being offered for English speakers.  We opted for that tour.  It turned out English was the languge of all the people on the tour, but the tour guide still spoke French.  We ended up being the translator for the group.

67. Award for "Fleabag": EMMY.  I have heard of Fleabag, but never watched any episodes.

68. Sweetie pie: DEARY.

69. Series-ending abbr.: ET AL.

1. Sauna options: ROBES.  Robe or towel?

2. High-speed Northeast train: ACELA.  I learned of this train from doing the crossword puzzles.  It makes appearances from time to time.

3. Cook, as clams: STEAM.

4. Political groups: PARTIES.

5. Baden-Baden, e.g.: SPA.

6. Fruit dessert with shortcrust: TART.  Yummers!

7. "Rise Up" vocalist Day: ANDRA.  I am not familiar with Andra Day (b. Dec. 30, 1984), either.

8. Brainstorming output: IDEAS.

9. Local language, in Denmark: DANSK.  Also the name of a company that makes cookware and dinner ware.

10. Uneasy: FRETFUL.

11. Eruption content: LAVA.  //  Not to be confused with 54-Down. Cocoon dweller: LARVA.

12. Track shape: OVAL.

13. Fibrous candle feature: WICK.

18. Drive or reverse: GEAR.

22. Kachina carvers: HOPIs.  A Kachina is a spirit being in the religious beliefs of Native American cultures, including the Hopis.

24. San __: San Francisco Bay city: MATEO.

27. __ Féin: SINN.  Sinn Féin is a political party in Ireland.  The phrase Sinn Féin is Irish for We Ourselves.

29. Square cereal: CHEX.  Apparently it comes in all kinds of weird flavors now.

30. Noted Silicon Valley journalist Swisher: KARA.

31. Modern education acronym: STEM.  STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.  STEM has come under fire in recent days.

32. Citrus peel: ZEST.

33. Nestlé pet food brand: ALPO.  The name is derived from from its original manufacturer, the Allen Products Company.

34. Fortified wine from the Douro Valley: PORT.

36. It may be cracked or roasted: NUT.

37. Stable youngster: FOAL.

38. Pound part: OUNCE.

40. Easygoing, personality-wise: TYPE B.  Type A vs. Type B personalities.

43. By ear: AURALLY.

44. Heart, soul, or heart and soul: ESSENCE.

47. Truth alternative, in a game: DARE.

49. Curving: ARCED.

50. Tenant's contract: LEASE.

51. Nandi of the Georgia Aquarium, e.g.: MANTA.  Here's the story of Nandi the Manta.

53. Grab the check: TREAT.

55. Adams in galleries: ANSEL.  Ansel Easton Adams (Feb. 20, 1902 ~ Apr. 22, 1984) is best known for his beautiful black and white landscape photography.

56. Googling target: SITE.

57. Leslie __ Jr., portrayer of Burr in "Hamilton": ODOM.  Leslie Odom, Jr. (b. Aug. 6, 1981) portrayed Aaron Burr in the original Broadway production.  If you haven't seen Hamilton, I highly recommend it.  It is a great show.

58. Unhappy fate: DOOM.

59. Not just a thinker: DOER.

63. Get nosy: PRY.

Here's the Grid:

QOD:  Did you know you have the right to remain silent even when you're not being arrested?  ~  Anonymous

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