This week the Premier Crossword by Frank Longo is a clever offering titled "Where Did It Go?" and you might reasonably guess that the title is a literal clue to the theme of the puzzle - and you would be right! The nine long answers are all wacky phrases, with correspondingly wacky clues, of course, created by removing "it" from common phrases. Confused? It's really pretty simple:
23a - HILAR(IT)Y ENSUES (Actress Swank comes next?)
29a - DEFIES THE LAWS OF GRAV(IT)Y - (Disobeys established rules on how to make and serve meat sauce?)
40a - BREAKFAST BURR(IT)O (Donkey serving morning meals?)
58a - HUNTING PERM(IT) (Hairdo for folks going after prey?)
67a - OUT OF TOWN VIS(IT)ORS (Sun blockers worn while on vacation?)
79a - POL(IT)E COMPANY (Business that makes flag holders?)
92a - SPEEDING C(IT)ATION (Positively charged atom moving very quickly?)
102a-NON-PROF(IT) ORGANIZATIONS (Groups with no university teachers as members?)
115a-LIM(IT)ING FACTOR (Thing influencing the decision to use whitewash?)
Some of these work better than others I think - "laws of gravy" gave me a chuckle although the clue seemed like a stretch, and the mental image of a "breakfast burro" is a smile-inducer. On the other hand "speeding cation" required a post-solve look-up to learn about positively charged atoms, and I'm still scratching my head over "liming factor". OK, now I see that "whitewash" is a mixture of lime and water, so I guess it works but it's still my least-favorite answer.
The short fill had some interesting features that kept it from being A BORE (38a - "What __!" ("How dull!")). We have the sound effects of a cat and dog fight with HISS (53s - Cat sound) and GRR (61d - Cur's sound) causing a FLURRY (125a - Bit of ado) in the grid. ORONO (103d - Maine university city) is sure to EVOKE (124a - Bring to mind) a fond memory as it's the home of my Alma Mater, where I learned about the Greek alphabet, including "Upsilon preceder" TAU (9d) and "Chi preceder" PHI (52a). I don't believe I've ever seen AIR SICK (5d - Ill from flying) in a puzzle before, so that's original (if a little bit gross). I'm also happy to say the grid was pretty much devoid of pop-culture proper names, even though a couple of tennis players managed to sneak in (48d Tennis' Bjorn BORG and 102d Tennis' Rafael NADAL).
That's it, I'll CAN IT (7d - "Pipe down!") now and leave you with this to send you on your way for another week (bonus points to anyone who can spot the two answers in the grid that make this an obvious choice):