Title: Element of Surprise
Determining the meaning of the title goes like this:
42D. Global warming calculation whose shape is suggested by connecting 14 squares in this puzzle in a closed loop based on the appropriate 23-Across.
Answer to 42D: Carbon Footprint
Answer to 23A: Atomic Symbol
So, the element is carbon. But what about the surprise? I figured it had something to do with accomplishing the second part of the clue. But I had no idea how to go about it. Fortunately, Rex Parker did: “What is ‘surprising’ is that when you connect all the Cs in the grid, you get the rough outline of a human footprint.” Aha! “C” is carbon’s atomic symbol.
The rest of the theme clues are environmental terms and phrases.
40A. Worrisome Arctic and Antarctic developments = Ozone Holes
69A. Conservationist’s catchphrase = Save Water
94A. Arborits’s catchphrase = Plant a Tree
117A. Conservationist’s catchphrase = Conserve Fuel
14D. Atmospheric worries = Greenhouse Gases
A few interesting answers:
27A. “Tough-actin” medication. Answer: Tinactin
46A. Sue Grafton’s “___ for Outlaw.” Answer: O is. I’m a huge Sue Grafton fan, she of the alphabetically titled mysteries. I’ve read them all in order. Most recently finished V is for Vengeance.
51A. “___ 1138” (1971 sci-fi film). Answer: THX. Not much into sci-fi. Never heard of this movie.
74A. Falls for married women? Answer: Niagara. Give me a break!!
48D. 1998 Alanis Morissette hit. Answer: Thanku. Though I’ve heard of her, I don’t know her music.