Sun. Dec. 9 NYT Crossword Hints

If you look at the time of this post, you can see I’m getting to it rather late this Saturday eve (or Sunday morning, really).  Just back to Vermont from a trip to NY for the Philharmonic.  So if my hints are a bit short this eve, hopefully you’ll forgive me.

Here we go:  Theme — the title tells all, as usual.  My advice is to do enough down clues to get one of the long acrosses to fall into place and you’ll have the pattern for all the rest.  Many of the answers are amusing puns, so there’s some reward here.

A couple specific hints and I’ll call it a night:

It flows through Orsk:   Flows -> river Orsk -> Russia, so it’s our old crossword favorite river.

Chewing gum ingredient:  I always thought this was a brand of gum, but apparently its an ingredient

“Love Train” group:  same R&B group as a couple days ago

Turn signal:  No, not from a car;  think bigger and wetter

Ankle length: as in a dress

Rest area:  Deserves a ? at the end (i.e. it’s a bit of a pun)

Place to rest a guitar:  remember Oh Susanna?  Where’d he rest his guitar?

Looked bad in comparison:  As in  “______ in comparison”

Fibbie:  doesn’t have anything to do with lying

And if you need a little help with the long theme answers:

Entry in a metal worker’s personal planner = actress

Moocher’s most valuable acquaintance = drummer

coffee from big sky country = former great footballer

The Salt, In Arizona = another (who died young, incidentally)