Title: “Oh, Really?”
The theme is an exchange of sounds: the “ull” sound in a word becomes an “o” sound. The resulting answers: well-know phrases become wacky.
23A. Ultranationalism? = Jingo all the way
39A. “Thriller” Grammy sweep? = The Day of the Jacko
48A. Speed at which the apocalypse is coming? = Tempo of doom
64A. Obssessive-compulsive soap purger? = Rinse psycho
74A. Big gambling loss in the Bggest Little City in the World? = Reno failure
91A. Bad precept for U.S. foreign policy? = American ego
99A. Not a happy ending on the yellow brick road? = Toto annihilation
121A. TV detective with his unbalanced suspect? = Hammer and sicko
I figured out the theme fairly quickly and didn’t have much difficulty getting the answers to the major clues (my favorite is 99 Across). I was able to fill in the rest of the puzzle in short order but then met a roadblock on the way to final completion: two squares I could not fill in because I didn’t know the correct answers to either the across of down clues. After letting the puzzle sit for a few days, I finally decided to bite the proverbial bullet and guess. Wonder of wonders, miracle of miracles, I guessed right!
Here are the four that I guessed correctly:
52D: Antelope related to the gemsbok. Answer: Oryx
61A. Gold-compound salt. Answer: Aurate
(The letter I guessed was the “r.”)
66A. Source of indigo. Answer: Anil
66D. With the bow, in music. Answer: Arco
(The letter I guessed was the “a.”)
Other interesting answers:
21A. Acid, etc. Answer: Etchant. I had no idea but got it by filling all the surrounding answers which I knew to be correct.
127A. Whence the phrase, “Beware of Greeks bearing gifts.” Answer: Aeneid
28D. 1980s New York Philharmonic maestro. Answer: Mehta (Zubin). This was an easy one for me. I loved watching him conduct.
50D. Jazz vocalist Shaw. Answer: Marlena. I’ve heard of Artie, the clarinetist, but not Marlena.