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Theme: "I Had a Bad Day" - Each verbal phrase is humorously clued as if it's a failed action of the subject in the clue.

23. My crayon __: DREW A BLANK.

28. My ruler __: FAILED TO MEASURE UP.

56. My needle __: DIDN'T COME THROUGH.


93. My cake __: FELL DOWN ON THE JOB.

117. My knife __: COULDN'T MAKE THE CUT.

128. And my champagne __: FIZZLED OUT. Love how this entry ends the theme set.

It's good to see MaryEllen Uthlaut back. I always associate her name with Sunday puzzles, probably because the first few puzzles she made for the LA Times were all Sunday grids.

Great title! Husker Gary-eque!

1. Swahili boss: BWANA. Literally 'boss" in Swahili.

6. Canasta combination: MELD.

10. Cockatoo feature: CREST.

15. Boring tools: AWLS.

19. Many a surfer: AOLER. Rich is one.

20. Others, in Latin: ALII. ALIA also.

21. Vigor: OOMPH.

22. Acquire, as an advantage: GAIN.

25. Pay television: CABLE

26. Designated space: AREA. The chaos have spilled into our area. Lots of stores are closed. Curfew in place on Friday night. 

27. Four-wheeler, briefly: ATV.

31. Step on it when you need to step on it: THE GAS.

33. Carnival city: RIO.

34. Applies henna to, say: DYES. Amazing work.

35. Mink cousin: OTTER.

38. Sack lead-in: KNAP. Knapsack.

41. Mount north of Redding, California: SHASTA.

46. Golf course rental: CART. Boomer needs it for his Monday morning 9-hole round.

49. Blunted sword: EPEE.

51. Text sent with x's and o's: I LUV U. And 65. Spanish 51-Across: TEA MO.

54. Cultural character: ETHOS.

55. Felt remorse for: RUED.

59. Quacked company name: AFLAC.

61. Computer instructions: CODE. Anon-T's forte.

62. Courtyard: PATIO.

63. Dramatic offering: PLAY.

64. Mediterranean capital: BEIRUT.

66. Tats: INK.

68. One of this puzzle's 144: CLUE. Maximum entries allowed for a Sunday is 144.

79. Ground cover: TARP.

80. "Yess!": YAY.

81. Empower: ENABLE.

82. What may come to mind: IDEA.

86. Native New Zealander: MAORI.

89. Fix, as a toy: SPAY.

92. Sleep disorder: APNEA.

97. Shut (up): PENT.

98. South Pacific island group: SAMOA.

99. Parasite: LEECH.

100. Benefit: SAKE. Nice with sashimi.

101. Cookie with a Red Velvet variety: OREO. This red looks so artificial.

102. Attacks: ONSETS.

104. Climb, in a way: SHIN.

106. Direct attention: REFER.

108. Soften: EASE.

111. As we speak: NOW.

113. Beefy soup ingredient: OXTAIL. Thick. Almost stew.

125. Genetic material: DNA.

126. "Need anything __?": ELSE.

127. Fluffy-eared marsupial: KOALA.

130. Crossword-solving Simpson: LISA.

131. Celtic language: IRISH.

132. Trac II cousin: ATRA.

133. Walt Whitman volunteered as one during the Civil War: NURSE.

134. Title for fictional detective Peter Wimsey: LORD. Read more here.

135. Parachute fabric: NYLON.

136. Help grow up: REAR.

137. Printer cartridge contents: TONER.


1. Lacking talent for: BAD AT.

2. Deserving of: WORTH.

3. "All Day Strong" brand: ALEVE.

4. Not seen before: NEW.

5. Longtime PLO chairman: ARAFAT.

6. Mauritania neighbor: MALI.

7. Airline to Israel: EL AL.

8. Hard-hit batted ball: LINER.

9. Small antelope with an echoic name: DIK DIK. Look at her eyes!

10. First name in design: COCO.

11. Wander aimlessly: ROAM.

12. Reporter at the front: EMBED.

13. Spread outward: SPLAY.

14. Academic research papers: THESES.

15. Jellylike alga extract: AGAR. Essential for Fruit Jelly. Can't wait for the lychee season.

16. Goods suffix: WARE.

17. Stead: LIEU.

18. Start of a football play: SNAP.

24. Poured juices over: BASTED.

29. Bar mixer: TONIC.

30. Director in the theater?: USHER. Nice clue.

32. Approached nightfall: GOT DARK.

36. "Iliad," for one: EPIC.

37. Second chance: REDO.

39. Leaning to one side: ALOP. Have not seen this word for sometime.

40. Reebok rival: PUMA.

42. Resting upon: ATOP.

43. Jewish assembly site: SHUL.

44. Roman garment: TOGA.

45. Grayish: ASHY.

46. 19th-century diarist Henry __ Robinson: CRABB. Unfamiliar to me.

47. Pot-__: "on the fire" French stew: AU-FEU.  Partial. I'll talk more about it later.

48. Thing of the past: RELIC.

50. Lead to: END IN. 103. Finally registered: SANK IN. 115. Occupied: IN USE.

52. Twining plant: VETCH. Learned from doing crosswords. So pretty. Alas, D-Otto can't see the delicate colors.

53. Functional: UTILE.

57. Look after: TEND.

58. Legislative body: HOUSE.

60. Snake worshippers, e.g.: CULT. Never heard of snake worship.

67. Tab, say: KEY.

69. European erupter: ETNA.

71. Slow way of speaking: DRAWL.

72. Barely ahead: UP ONE.

73. Reckless: RASH.

74. Personality categories: TYPES.

75. Bond that promotes easy communication: RAPPORT.

76. Baseball's Doubleday: ABNER.

77. __ Woods, original voice of Disney's Cinderella: ILENE. Also new to me. Has a Norma Jean look.

78. "Groovy!": NEATO.

82. In that case: IF SO.

83. Basketball Hall of Fame coach Smith: DEAN. Wiki says he "coached for 36 years at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Smith coached from 1961 to 1997 and retired with 879 victories".

84. Stately trees: ELMS.

85. Cream additive: ALOE. Skin cream.

87. Small deer: ROES.

88. Move bit by bit: INCH.

90. "When it's __": answer to a classic riddle: A JAR.

91. Symbol of bondage: YOKE.

94. So last year: DATED.

95. "To __ own self be true": "Hamlet": THINE.

96. Soil: BEFOUL. Not a word I use. Those rioters befoul our state. We're not "Minnesota Nice" any more.  

105. A stone's throw: NOT FAR. Our governor said 80% of the rioters are from other states.

107. Degree: EXTENT.

109. Apartment building unit: STORY.

110. Web message: EMAIL.

112. Harmless, as a lie: WHITE.

114. Add splendor to: ADORN.

116. "See ya": LATER.

117. Honeycomb compartment: CELL.

118. Miscellany: OLIO.

119. Cold War initials: USSR.

120. Play the first card: LEAD.

121. Besides that: ALSO.

122. Madeline of "Blazing Saddles": KAHN.

123. Poet Pound: EZRA.

124. Old Russian autocrat: CZAR.

129. Sonny and Cher, for one: DUO.

I wrote a short post on partials a while ago. You can read it here.

Suppose I have a ARA? slot and I can only use letter M or T. I normally choose T, so I'll have A RAT partial. It's easy to clue and easy for solvers. ARAM is not a common name and can stump some solvers.

Partials are not bad. Every editors allow them. Just make sure you don't have more than two for a 15*15 grid and your partials don't have more than 5-letters like A PLANT.