Theme: "Support Groups" - Words that can precede "band" turn backward and up. See this Answer Grid.
23A. *Hotel convenience: PARKING ARAG. Backed up to 7D. "Good grief!": EGAD. Parking garage. Garage band.
40A. *Address essential details: GET DOWN TO ARB TACKS. Backed up to 12D. Stand-up types: CLASS ACTS. Get down to brass tacks. Brass band.
56A. *Wannabe lawyer's milestone: PASSING THE AB. Backed up to 54D. Dorm figs.: RAS. Passing the bar. Bar band.
85A. *Keep one's identity secret, say: STAY UNDER VOC. Backed up to 72D. Overhaul: REVAMP. Stay undercover. Cover band.
96A. *Prepare emotionally for, as something unpleasant: ETS ONESELF AGAINST. Backed up to 80D. Beat it: FLEE. Steel oneself against. Steel band.
118. Miami Sound Machine and others, and a hint to this puzzle's circled letters: BACKUP BANDS.
Complex theme from Paul. We normally just see back or just up approach. Not such a combo.
I hope your local paper have circles. It would be too difficult to figure out the theme without circles.
5. Rest of the afternoon: SIESTA.
11. "Beat it!": SCAT.
15. Big first for babies: STEP.
19. Wellsian race: ELOI.
20. "Life of Pi" director: ANG LEE. We had him last Sunday.
21. "Boo'd Up" singer __ Mai: ELLA. Just not many ways to clue ELLA.
22. Mani mate: PEDI. And 25. Manicurist's assortment: NAIL FILES.
27. Beholden: INDEBTED.
28. George who plays Stokes on "CSI": EADS.
30. Minneapolis' Target Center, e.g.: ARENA. Home to the Timberwolves & Lynx. We also have Target Field for the Twins. Target is headquartered in Minneapolis of course.
31. Roger of "Cheers": REES.
32. Stand: BEAR. Can't stand it, e.g.
34. Hotel offerings: SUITES.
37. Cat's attention-getter, maybe: PAW.
45. Caspian feeder: URAL.
47. Novelist Rita __ Brown: MAE.
48. Pitcher John on three different MLB championship teams: LACKEY. Wikipedia says his career ERA is 3.92.
49. Bonanza find: ORE.
50. Scholars: LITERATI.
54. Roofing support: RAFTER. Always amazed to see guys working on the roof without some sort of support.
55. Really cool: EPIC.
59. Most clever: SLICKEST.
61. Brian of rock: ENO.
62. Evening affairs: SOIREES.
63. NYC congresswoman, in headlines: AOC. Her Met Gala dress. It says "Tax the Rich".
64. Saint-Saëns's "__ Macabre": DANSE.
66. Paid informer: FINK.
67. EPA-banned chemicals: PCBS.
71. Swing site: PORCH.
75. RN workplaces: ERS. VA is offering Boomer a booster shot. We'll take it next week.
77. Nantucket arrivals: FERRIES.
79. "... __ he drove out of sight": Moore: ERE.
80. Board game bonus: FREE SPIN.
87. Big name in chips: LAY'S. Beijing duck flavor.
88. Enmity: ANIMUS.
90. Place for an anchor: NEWSCAST. Remember Harry Smith? My collaborator for a NYT puzzle.
91. Denver-to-Omaha dir.: ENE.
92. Eyepiece: OCULAR.
93. Reverence: AWE.
95. Kid's retort: AM SO.
102. What "/" may mean: PER.
103. Prepared for cooking, as corn: HUSKED.
104. Consort of Psyche: EROS. Aka Cupid.
105. Yours, to Yvette: A TOI.
107. Carry away: ELATE.
109. Biblical scribe: EZRA.
111. Exhibits unease, maybe: STAMMERS. Not STUTTERS. Remember Medavoy?
115. Harbormaster's chart: TIDE TABLE.
121. On deck, perhaps: ASEA.
122. High-tech workers: BOTS.
123. Words from behind a door, maybe: IN HERE.
124. Blue hue: CYAN.
125. Go on: LAST.
126. Acronym on a protective vest: SWAT. Special Weapons And Tactics. Daryl Gates of LAPD created his SWAT teams after the Watts riot.
127. Battery terminals: ANODES.
128. Back talk: SASS.
3. Byron's title: LORD.
4. Stingy sort: PIKER.
5. Important coastal drainage river in South Carolina: SANTEE. Wikipedia says it's named after the Santee tribe.
6. Swallow: INGEST.
8. 35mm camera type: SLR.
9. Leaves in a cup: TEA.
10. Sea at one end of the Dardanelles: AEGEAN.
11. Texter's button: SEND.
13. "Aladdin" prince: ALI.
14. 1960s chess champ Mikhail: TAL.
15. Ornamental shrub: SPIREA. Pretty.
16. Astronomer's tool: TELESCOPE.
17. Fall place: EDEN.
18. Galileo's birthplace: PISA.
24. "__ your pardon": I BEG.
26. Like many rich foods: FATTY. I like all kinds of pickled and fried food.
29. School room encouraging creativity: ART LAB.
32. Fancy neckwear: BOA.
33. Dolly, for one: EWE.
35. "Family Matters" nerd: URKEL.
36. Spain's peninsula: IBERIA.
37. Mashed, as oranges: PULPED.
38. Grande dame of pop: ARIANA. Ha. Dame.
39. Doyle's narrator: WATSON.
41. Composer Shostakovich: DMITRI.
42. Big galoot: OAF.
43. Singer Kristofferson: KRIS.
44. Breakaway group: SECT.
46. Arles article: LES.
51. Choir supports: RISERS.
52. Mayo is in it: ANO. Mayo the month.
53. "Hooray, the weekend!": TGIF.
55. Big name in kitchenware: EKCO. What does EKCO stand for?
57. Chick magnet?: HEN. Cute clue.
58. Distressed cry: EEK.
60. Thickets: COPSES.
65. Goes out with: SEES.
67. One in a pod: PEA. Have you tried wasabi peas?
68. Call out: CRY.
69. Asian sultanate: BRUNEI.
70. Cosecant's reciprocal: SINE.
73. Game stick with a net: CROSSE.
74. Jamie of "Bosch": HECTOR. Unknown to me.
76. "In the Bedroom" Oscar nominee: SPACEK (Sissy)
77. Some mil. bases: FTS. Forts.
78. One of eight Eng. kings: EDW. Edward.
81. Carry on: RANT.
82. Antiglare wear: EYE SHADES.
83. Occupied: IN USE.
84. Alexandria's area: NILE DELTA.
85. One often seen in curls: SURFER. OK, Google shows that curl is "The actual portion of the wave that is falling or curling over when the wave is breaking"
86. TV pioneer: RCA.
89. __ de mer: MAL.
92. Attack: ONSET.
93. Back: AGO.
94. Is no longer: WAS.
97. Best at putting things away?: OUTEAT. Another great clue.
98. World's largest peninsula: ARABIA.
99. Mother of note: NATURE.
100. Middle ear bone: STAPES. Also new to me. I don't really know my ears.
101. Archaeological find: TOMB.
106. Apple varieties: IMACS.
107. List-ending abbr.: ET AL.
108. Three-time WNBA MVP __ Leslie: LISA.
110. Gusto: ZEST.
111. List of appts.: SKED. Schedule.
112. "Only Time" songwriter: ENYA.
113. Old food label nos.: RDAS.
114. IRS IDs: SSNS.
116. Sit-up targets: ABS.
117. Fiddle stick: BOW.
119. Taylor of fashion: ANN.
120. Sulu portrayer John: CHO. On the left.
In case you're not aware, MM & his girlfriend Valerie met with Picard and his wife last Tuesday in Santa Barbara. Here's the picture.
|Left to Right: Valerie, MM, Merlie & Picard 9/14/2021|