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Theme: I can't do any better than the unifier, so let's drive on over there and stop safely.

65. Intersection with flashing lights and bells, for short, and a hint to this puzzle's circles: RRXING.

We have two sets of crossing theme entries, with one across and one down in each, of course. These two-word entries all have the initial R for both words, and the entries cross at the 2nd R.  If you got the two circles in your puzzle, these are the locations.

30 A. Extreme reaction to traffic: ROAD RAGE.  "Any unsafe driving maneuver performed deliberately and with ill intention or disregard for safety."
10 D. Volunteer with Teddy Roosevelt: ROUGH RIDER.  A member of the 1st United States Volunteer Cavalry, which, ironically, would up fighting on foot.

45 A. "Standing" entrée: RIB ROAST.  A prime rib cut of beef, generally roasted "standing" on the rib bones, such that the meat does not touch the pan.
29 D. "And away go troubles down the drain" company: ROTO ROOTER.  An American company founded in 1935, using a patented auger machine to clean tree roots and other debris from sewer lines. It also provides plumbing repair, sewer and drain services, and water damage cleanup services to residential and commercial customers.

Hi Gang, JazzBumpa here.  Rabbit, rabbit.  Now, note that the circled crossings are located symmetrically in the grid, with a 180 degree rotation.  Nice elegant touch.  Having safely encountered the RR CROSSINGS, let us now continue our journey.


1. Lion controllers: TAMERS.  Those who train lions or other big cats for use in protection or entertainment, according to Wikipedia.

7. From the U.S.: AMERican.

11. Pained cries: OWS.   I use more colorful language.

14. Spotted wildcat: OCELOT.  A medium sized cat weighing from 8 to 15 kg, native to the American southwest, Mexico, Central America and South America.  It is characterized by solid black spots and streaks on its coat, round ears, and white neck and undersides.

15. Brussels-based gp.: NATO. North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

16. Chapel bench: PEW. A long bench with a back to provide seating for the congregation.

17. Sorbetto alternative: GELATO.  Italian frozen deserts that are similar but not identical to sherbet and ice cream.

18. Hall of Fame guest of honor: INDUCTEE.   A person newly added.

20. House speaker after Ryan: PELOSI.  Nancy [b 1940] née D'Alesandro, was speaker from 2007 to 2011, and again currently, starting in January, 2019.  She represents California's 12th congressional district.

22. Coffee machine setting: GRIND.  Reduces the beans to a useful size for brewing.

23. "I'm at my __ end!": WIT'S.  Out of patience, with no more cares to give.

26. Like many flights to LAX: INTL.  International - i.e from foreign countries into Los Angeles. Travel through LAX was off by 95% in mid April.  Can't quickly find how it is doing now.

27. Skating legend Sonja: HENIE. [1912 - 1969] She was a multiple award winner in the Olympics, and European and World Championships, and movie star in the late '30's.  She died of leukemia.

28. More aloof: ICIER.  Cold.  Very, very cold.

32. '50s prez: IKE.  Dwight David Eisenhower.  [1890-1969]

33. Place to use a mitt: OVEN.  For heat protection.

35. Grafton's "__ for Evidence": E IS. From her Alphabet mystery series.

36. Went around in circles: GYRATED. Quickly spun or moved in a spiral.

38. Confound: BEDEVIL.  Confusticate and bebother, as Bilbo would have it.

42. Decompose: ROT. Come undone.

43. Suffix with gazillion: -AIRE.  One who has all that money and stuff.

44. Brian of rock: ENO. [b 1948] A self-described non-musician with several solo albums and collaborations with many others who are known as musicians.  He has also produced albums for several of them.

48. Strict precision: RIGOR.   The quality of being extremely thorough, exhaustive, or accurate, derived from the Latin word for stiffness.

50. Simply not done: TABOO.  Forbidden.

51. All-purpose vehicles, for short: UTES.  Sport utilities.

53. Sugar source: CANE.  In Michigan it's beets.

54. In __: unborn: UTERO.  In the uterus.

55. Dress down: BERATE. Angrily scold and criticize.

57. New in theaters: FIRST RUN.

59. Jalopy: BEATER.  Beaten up old vehicle

63. Vous, less formally: TOI. You, in French; and you, in French.

64. Pair on a Disney World hat: EARS.

66. Federal retirement org.: SSASocial Security Administration.

67. Actress Russo: RENE. [b 1954] American actress, producer and model.  She was in many movies through the 90's, and more recently appeared as Thor's mother in a series of superhero movies..

68. Corrects, as text: EMENDS.


1. Dress (up): TOG.  I've heard of TOGS as fancy clothing, but not of its use as a verb.

2. Opening day pitcher, typically: ACE.  The best starting pitcher on the staff.  Opening day seems to be something we might not experience this year.

3. "Coca Cola Cowboy" singer Tillis: MEL.

4. Slip by, as time: ELAPSE.

5. Repetitive learning: ROTE.  Memorization.

6. Vodka with Razberi and Ohranj flavors: STOLI.  Short for Stolichnaya.

7. Jennifer of "The Good Girl": ANISTON. [b 1969] She is am American actress, producer and business woman who reached fame and success playing Rachel in the TV series FRIENDS.  She then went on to make a series of romantic comedy movies that I never saw.

8. Capital on Luzon: MANILA.  In the Philippines.

9. Boarding pass info: ETD Estimated Time of Departure.

11. Going (for): OPTING.  Making a choice among options

12. Frank on the grill: WEENIE.   AKA the hot dog.

13. Stockholm native: SWEDE.

19. Pressed-pants feature: CREASE.

21. When rights are sometimes permitted: ON RED.  A right turn at an intersection, in this regard treating the red light as a stop sign.

23. "The Martian" actress Kristen: WIIG. [b1973] She is an American actress, comedian, writer and producer who has appeared in several movies over the past decade..

24. Eww-inspiring: ICKY.  Nasty and disgusting.

25. Concert level: TIER.  Rows of seating at some elevation.

31. Antelope playmates: DEER.  On the range, where the buffalo roam.

34. Reject, presidentially: VETO.  The president's or governor's right to reject a proposed law passed by the legislature.

37. Shady alcoves: ARBORS.  A shady sitting place or pergola usually in a park or garden, surrounded by climbing shrubs, vines or other vegetation. A grove of trees.

38. Dog to avoid: BITER.  Seems like good advice

39. 1970s Chevy subcompact: VEGA.  I wanted NOVA.

40. A party to: IN ON.  Knowledgable about.

41. Passed-down history: LORE.  Knowledge and traditions passed down through the generations.

43. Equally strained: AS TENSE.

45. Proportions: RATIOS.  The quantitative relationship between two amounts.

46. Spain and Portugal comprise most of it: IBERIA. A peninsula in south-western Europe.

47. The Tigers of the SEC: AUBURN.  Teams associated with the University.

49. Climber's tool: ICE AXE.

50. Clumps of hair: TUFTS.

52. Buffalo NHLer: SABRE.  Player on the profess

ional hockey team

56. Time in office: TERM.  With specified beginning and end dates.

58. "Norma __": RAE.  A movie about southern textile mill workers.

60. Bronze component: TIN. Mostly copper with about 12% tin and sometimes smaller amounts of other metals.  Brass, more dear to me, is copper and zinc.

61. Terminate: END.  Finish

62. Some NFL blockers: RGS.  Right guards.  Those in the first position to the right of the center in the offensive line of an American football team.

That's all folks.  Hope all you well trained solvers were able to stay on track.

Cool regards!