Title: Number-One Friends
The theme is found in 62-Across: What the answer to each of the six starred clues starts with. Answer: White House dog. The answers are common phrases beginning with the dog’s name. To determine the correct name related to the clue, the name of the relevant White House occupants is provided in brackets.
24A. *What to call a female ambassador [the Johnsons] = Her Excellency
116A. *Pairing up for safety [the Clintons] = Buddy system
3D. *Cleaning supply [the Bushes 43] = Spot remover
15D. *”My Fair Lady” co-star [the Reagans] = Rex Harrison
67D. *Singer with the 1964 #2 hit “My Boy Lollipop” [the Bushes 41] = Millie Small
70D. *Egg order [the Obamas] = Sunny side up
I knew the names of the dogs belonging to the Johnsons (their other dog was named Him), the Clintons (who also had a cat named Socks), and the Bushes 41 (Barbara wrote a book called Millie’s Book) but never heard of the singer Millie Small. Even though I had no idea what the other dogs’ names were, the clues made it pretty easy. The Reagans’ dog was the easiest. Who hasn’t heard of Rex Harrison as Professor Higgins? With regard to the Bushes 43 dog, my elementary school first reader Fun with Dick and Jane had a dog named Spot in it: “See Spot. See Spot run. Run Spot! Run! Run! Run!”
Reading the comments on Rex Parker’s site, I discovered something which totally escaped me: the blackened squares in the center represent a dog’s face.
Some interesting answers:
11-Across. “Coffee Cantata” composer. Answer: Bach. Keens Chop House has a delicious dessert called the “Coffee Cantata.”
46-Across. _____prosequi (“proceed no further” court entry). Answer: Nolle
68-Across. Max Peel, for example: Abbr. Answer: Anag. I had no idea what “Anag” was until I read the comments on Rex Parker’s site explaining that “Max Peel” was an anagram for the word “example.”
89-Across. Modern know-it-all? Answer: Siri. The voice on the iPad.
121-Across. Earthy deposit. Answer: Marl
79-Down. Actress nominated for a Golden Globe for “Rhoda.” Answer: Anne Meara. I enjoyed that comedy series.
52-Down. Last song Rodgers and Hammerstein did together (1959). Answer: Edelweiss. In The Sound of Music.