The 1A/4D pairing formed the seed for this one. It was followed quickly by 10D, which popped into mind during a nostalgic discussion about Rocky & Bullwinkle. This cartoon (along with its show-mates Mr. Peabody and Sherman and Fractured Fairy Tales) set the bar for all future cartoons nominally aimed at kids but slyly winking at adults.
I had lots of fun constructing this one; I hope you have as much solving it. The seeds were 1 and 7 Across, which I’d been saving while looking for a happy home. 24 Down and 30 Down had been chilling in my word/clue list for a while as well. 1 Down is a terrific song from my youth (e.g., a moldy oldie). You can listen to it here.
Difficulty: Not quite as difficult (by a small margin) as scaling these cliffs would be
16 Across was the “seed,” appropriately enough, though it’s a concept that baffles me, as a lifelong suburbanite. 28 Across: I had the opportunity to fly Emirates Business Class from DC to Dubai a few years ago and then fly it back from Singapore. It was probably the most luxurious travel experience I’ve ever had. 15 Down: In 2010 my brother and I visited the Shetland Islands, rented a car, and drove off to see (among other things) the puffins, which are all over the place – except, that is, for all the places we looked for them. Shortly after that trip I started a blog (long dormant) called Puffinless Travel. I’ve been to every continent except Australia since 2010 and still haven’t seen any puffins.
My seed entry was 19 Across, spurred by a vote of the Spotsylvania County (Virginia) School Board to remove – two members urged burning – “sexually explicit” books in school libraries. Many of the targeted novels include LGBTQ content/characters. The school board reversed itself a week later, dealing a setback, for now at least, to prudish yet prurient Puritans.
From there, I entered a dystopian death spiral, which accounts for 9D, 21D, 34A, and 54A. At least I was able to include 40A, yet another expressive and inherently comic Yiddish word (as is “kvell,” in the clue).
After last week’s frivolity, here is a straightforward themeless with nary a neologism. The seed was 3 Down, which I’d never heard of before an unfortunate collision between my foot and the corner of a night table. Please enjoy and share. Next up (10/31) will be a suitably sweet puzzle for All Hallow’s Eve.