November 3, 2020 Debbie Ellerin

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Election Day!  If you haven't already, today is the final day to cast your SECRET BALLOT!

I did the early voting thing.  Although the line looked long, it only took me 25 minutes from the time I got into the line and when I completed casting my vote.

Remember: No Politics, but do go follow the instruction in circles and VOTE.

 16-Across. Roughly: GIVE OR TAKE.  VOTE.

21-Across. Like medicine not requiring a prescription: OVER THE COUNTER.  VOTE

48-Across. Debater for the opposition, at times: DEVIL'S ADVOCATE. VOTE.

54-Across. Place sheltered from reality: IVORY TOWER.  VOTE.

And the Unifiers:
35-Across. With 37-Across, Election Day practice ... and a hint to this puzzle's theme: SECRET.  //  37-Across. See 35-Across: BALLOT.  Together this gives us the SECRET BALLOT.

Across:1. Pacific island host of two "Survivor" seasons: PALAU.  Palau is actually an archipelago of over 200 islands in Mocronesia and is offically known as the Republic of Palau.  Only 8 of the islands, however, are permanently inhabited.

6. Caustic solution: LYE.

9. listings: JOBS.

13. Maker of Glide floss: ORAL-B.

14. Blacken a bit: SEAR.

15. Luminous glow: AURA.

18. Military group: UNIT.

19. SoCal cop squad: LAPD.  As in the Los Angeles Police Department.

20. Machu Picchu builders: INCAS.  We went to Machu Picchu 6 years ago.  It was truly spectacular.

27. Truth alternative, in a game: DARE.

28. Like rice and potatoes: STARCHY.

29. Homeric epic: ILIAD.  You can find out more about the Iliad.

31. Wipe the slate clean: ERASE.

32. Stat for Clayton Kershaw: ERA.  Clayton Kershaw is a professional baseball pitcher, hence, he has statistics for his Earned Run Average.  In 2014, he was the National League's MVP.

Clayton Edward Kershaw (b. Mar. 18, 1988)

39. Screeners at ORD: TSA.  ORD is the airport code for the O'Hare International Airport where the Transport Security Administration Agents screen potential passengers.  I haven't been on a plane since before the pandemic.

40. Like nostalgic art forms: RETRO.

44. Fitness system incorporating martial arts: TAE BO.  You can practice in your own home!

45. Mozart rival: SALIERI.  Antonio Salieri (Aug. 18, 1750 ~ May 7, 1825) was probably not the rival history has made him out to be.

47. Part of, as a plot: IN ON.

51. Smear with ink?: LIBEL.  Cute clue.

52. "__ the Parents": 2000 film: MEET.

53. Revered pop star, say: IDOL.

60. Chunky Monkey buy: PINT.  Chunky Monkey is one of Ben and Jerry's creation.  It is banana ice cream with fudge and walnuts.

61. Name of 12 popes: PIUS.  The first Pius was an early Pope who served from approximately 140 to 155 CE.  The most recent Pope with that name was Pope from 1939 unti 1958.

62. Conjure up: EVOKE.  Word of the week.

63. Eyelid ailment: STYE.

64. Fitting: APT.

65. __ over the coals: RAKED.  I had to wait for the perps for the final letter, since this phrase can be used in both present and past tense.

Down:1. Faddish '90s disc: POG.  I guess I missed this fad.

2. "All Things Considered" host Shapiro: ARI.  Ari Michael Shapiro (b. Sept. 30, 1978) is a radio journalist on NPR.

3. Loo: LAV.

4. Pub drink: ALE.

5. A bike lock may be shaped like one: U-BOLT.  Not to be confused with Usain Bolt (b. Aug. 21, 1986).

6. Indy pacesetter: LEAD CAR.

1967 Ford Mustang Indy Pacesetter

7. Tibetan beast: YAK.

8. Middle of the "Able-Elba" palindrome: ERE.  The quote "Able was I ere I saw Elba" is attributed to Napoleon, but did he really say it?

9. Lively: JAUNTY.

10. Part of a pound: OUNCE.  Time to do your math homework.

11. Prickly shrub: BRIAR.

12. Coll. entrance exams: SATs.  Formerly known as the Scholastic Aptitude Test, know simply the SAT.

14. Fla. coastal city: ST. PETE.  Hi, Tin!

17. Cheers at a bowl: RAHs!

20. Ready to mate: IN HEAT.

21. Writer of poetic praise: ODIST.  John Keats (Oct. 31, 1795 ~ Feb. 23, 1821) is probably one of the most famous Odists.

22. Lowlands: VALES.  What is the difference between Vale and Dale?

23. CNN journalist Hill: ERICA.  Erica Ruth Hill (b. Aug. 3, 1976).

24. Backside: REAR.

25. 60 minuti: ORA.  Today's Italian lesson.  There are 60 minutes in an hour.

26. State school near L.A.: UCSB.  As in the University of California, Santa Barbara.

30. Get off the track: DERAIL.

32. Justice Kagan: ELENA.  Elena Kagan (b. Apr. 28, 1960) has become a crossword staple.

33. R2-D2, for one: ROBOT.  One of the Robots from Star Wars.

34. Make up (for): ATONE.

36. Poker player's giveaway: TELL.

38. Of the flock: LAIC.  Religious reference.

41. Apt "it's" anagram: TIS.

42. Read the riot act: REAM OUT.

43. Cooks fill them: ORDERS.

45. Gracefully slender: SVELTE.

46. Tony winner Judith: IVEY.  Judith Lee Ivey (b. Sept. 4, 1951) is primarily a stage actress, but she has appeared in a number of films and TV shows, too.

48. Finished the work: DID IT.

49. Magazine that has had Lena Horne and Michelle Obama on its cover: EBONY.

50. River mammal: OTTER.  Otters are such cute little critters.

51. Kissers: LIPS.

54. Pub drink, briefly: IPA.  As in India Pale Ale.

55. Skybox guest: VIP.  As in a Very Important Person.

56. Eggs in a lab: OVA.

57. Stir-fry pan: WOK.

58. Squeeze (out): EKE.

59. Like Rupert Grint's hair: RED.  We couldn't have a crossword puzzle with out a reference to Harry Potter.  Rupert Alexander Lloyd Grint (b. Aug. 24, 1988) is best known for playing Ron Weasley in the film series.

Here's the Grid:

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DebbieEllerin Hahtoolah Tuesday