Theme: "Food for Thought" - Food with country name in is punnily clued as if it's not a food item.
23A. Easy-to-hit pitch in Stockholm?: SWEDISH MEATBALL.
45A. Minor matter in Manchester?: ENGLISH TRIFLE.
96A. Argument in Ulaanbaatar?: MONGOLIAN BEEF.
123A. Rent money in Mumbai?: INDIAN FLATBREAD.
17D. Medal recipient in Milan?: ITALIAN HERO.
33D. Worried state in Dublin?: IRISH STEW.
60D. Dance move in Dijon?: FRENCH DIP.
71D Inferior items in Zurich?: SWISS CHEESE.
We've seen similar puzzles before, though most with straightforward clue approach. Playing with fun clues is Gary Larson's forte.
Don G and I made one for the MN crossword tournament a few years ago. We used the language approach. For example, our SWEDISH MEATBALL is clued "Köttbullar?" FRENCH BREAD is clued as "Pain?"
1. Sitcom character originally called Kessler in the pilot episode: KRAMER. Cosmo Kramer on "Seinfeld". I did not know this trivia.
7. Impounds, maybe: TOWS AWAY.
15. Very silly: APISH. Is this a word you actually use?
20. Charge: IONIZE.
21. Asthma sufferers' aids: INHALERS.
22. Not a sparkling finish: MATTE.
25. Apple tablets: IPADS.
26. Home and nickname of The University of the South: SEWANEE. Unfamiliar with Sewanee: The University of the South. It's in Sewanee, Tennessee.
27. Pet __: PEEVE.
28. Touch: FEEL.
29. Anna __, 18th-/19th-century poet called the Swan of Lichfield: SEWARD. Also unknown to me.
32. 1973 Judy Blume novel: DEENIE. Another unknown.
34. Swell: RISE.
37. Johannesburg's land: Abbr.: RSA. Republic of South Africa
40. Precisely: TO A T.
42. Classical and Romantic: ERAS.
44. Grass bristle: AWN.
52. Steamed state: IRE.
53. "Just kidding!": NOT.
54. Shakespearean title city: VERONA.
55. Caulking materials: SEALANTS. I hear annoying noise in our bedroom. It think it comes from our floor register. It sounds like a drop of water falling on an empty bucket. Happens every few minutes. I don't know what caused it. Has this happened to you before? Maybe we should call those Clean Sweep guys and have all the vents cleaned. Sometimes I also hear the same noise in our bathroom wall. Nothing is leaking though. Just annoying noise.
57. More than dislike: ABHOR.
59. London classic, with "The": SEA-WOLF. Jack London.
61. Gung-ho: RAH RAH.
62. "Big Little Lies" co-star with Nicole, Shailene, Laura and Zoë: REESE. Here they're.
63. How dividends might be paid: PRO RATA.
66. Dustin's "Midnight Cowboy" role: RATSO.
68. Toledo's lake: ERIE.
69. __ facto: IPSO.
72. PC storage stats: MEGS.
73. Colombian cat: GATO.
74. Agile deer: ROES.
75. Fuzzy fruit: KIWI.
76. Online memo: E NOTE.
78. Flips, in a way: RESELLS.
80. __ Isle: Ireland nickname: ERIN'S.
82. Lindsay's Broadway writing partner: CROUSE. One more stranger: Russel Crouse. Howard Lindsay.
84. Brothers of old Hollywood: WARNERS. The Warner Brothers.
88. Stitch temporarily: BASTE.
89. Being a nuisance to: HARRYING.
92. Research: LOOK UP.
93. @@@@: ATS.
94. Fish often fried: COD.
98. IBM competitor: NEC.
99. Chicago daily, familiarly: TRIB.
101. Nair rival, once: NEET.
102. Radical '60s org.: SDS. Students for a Democratic Society.
103. Tennis immortal: ASHE. Arthur Ashe. Boomer has this in his stamp books.
105. Times to remember: EPOCHS.
109. Pioneer 35mm cameras: LEICAS.
113. Outback birds: EMUS.
115. Realizes: REAPS.
117. 121-Across maker: NABISCO. 121. Sandwich cookies: OREOS.
126. Tomato __: PASTE.
127. Devotions: FEALTIES. Spell check does not like the plural form.
128. Honduras hundred: CIENTO.
129. Rough suit fabric: TWEED.
130. In a bind?: CORSETED.
131. Dave of "Storage Wars": HESTER. Also a stranger.
1. Contact between two billiard balls: KISS.
2. Investment firm T. __ Price: ROWE.
3. From square one: ANEW.
4. King with a gilt complex?: MIDAS.
5. Web mag: E-ZINE.
6. Alter, in a way: RESEW.
7. "Mystic River" Oscar winner Robbins: TIM.
8. Indivisible: ONE.
9. Sound of a hit: WHAP.
10. Totally full: SATED.
11. "Tiny Alice" playwright: ALBEE (Edward)
12. Emulate Silas Marner: WEAVE.
13. Garfield's gal pal: ARLENE.
14. Fashion initials: YSL.
15. Gallic girlfriend: AMIE.
16. Staples supply: PAPER.
18. Typical: Abbr.: STD.
19. Fellows: HES.
24. "The Return of the Native" setting: HEATH.
28. Sweat: FEAR.
30. Goes bad: ROTS.
31. Challenge: DARE.
35. Two-time Tony winner Kurtz: SWOOSIE.
36. Menu heading: ENTREES.
37. Guns: REVS.
38. Old-time knife: SNEE.
39. Uttar Pradesh tourist city: AGRA.
41. Princess topper: TIARA.
43. Scorch: SEAR.
46. Starting place for a comeback: LOW POINT.
47. "Are we going __ not?": IN OR.
48. Strauss opera: SALOME.
49. Where St. Pete is: FLA.
50. First actor who sang "If I Were King of the Forest": LAHR (Bert) . The Cowardly Lion.
51. Tick off: ENRAGE.
56. Byes: TATAS.
58. Brewpub bragger, often: BEER SNOB.
64. Greek marketplace: AGORA.
65. Weather forecast shorthand: T STORM.
67. "Fan-cee!": OO LA LA.
69. Japanese floral art: IKEBANA. Love this fill.
70. Hook and Silver: PIRATES.
77. German capital: EURO.
78. Have the throne: REIGN.
79. Scientology founder Hubbard: L RON.
81. Religious offshoot: SECT.
83. Prefix with fuel: SYN.
85. Squeezes (out): EKES.
86. Wished undone: RUED.
87. Sunscreen nos.: SPFS.
90. Caroling standard: NOEL.
91. __ club: GLEE.
95. Metal-yielding minerals: ORES.
97. Book that spawned the film "What's Love Got to Do With It": I TINA. Now a Swiss. She had to give up her US citizenship.
100. Island administered by three countries: BORNEO.
104. Play too broadly: EMOTE.
106. Moth-repellent wood: CEDAR.
107. Flags down: HAILS.
108. Sudden outpouring: SPATE.
110. Trick: CATCH.
111. Yippie Hoffman: ABBIE.
112. Stud farm residents: SIRES.
114. Likely to be discounted: USED.
116. Foul mood: SNIT.
118. Posted: SENT.
119. Blanchett of "Elizabeth": CATE. Such a talented actress.
120. You may get a whiff of one: ODOR.
121. Select: OPT.
122. __ bar: RAW.
123. "Portlandia" network: IFC.
124. Tax prep charge: FEE.
125. Trippy '60s drug: LSD.