by 1926, “mediocre prizefighter,” of unknown origin, credited to U.S. sportswriter and Variety magazine staffer Jack “Con” Conway (1898-1928), who might at least have popularized it. Non-boxing sense of “average person” is from Joe Palooka, hero of Ham Fisher’s boxing-themed comic strip, which debuted in 1930.
22A Snoozes (like participant #2 in one classic fable): TAKESANAP. 38A With 71-/72-/73-Across, participant #1’s strategy (or the moral of the story): SLOWANDSTEADY. WINS. THE. RACE. 57A Wagers unwisely (as participant #2 did): LOSESABET.
And the circled letters are TORTOISE and HARE.
But I have an issue with the story of the Tortoise and the Hare. The tortoise got lucky. The tortoise had no hope to win the race. The hare got cocky. Slow and steady doesn’t win the race otherwise.
Longest puzzle of the week so far, but I finished! Total time was 20:37, partially because I couldn’t figure out what B+ was. Every answer I thought of (NOTGOODENOUGH, JUSTMISSED, NEVERGETTINGINTOCOLLEGE) didn’t fit. Which brings up a weird dream I had last night that I was taking Spanish class in college and aced the first exam and then got the second exam back and got like 45%. I was confused because I did the same processes of studying and prep as I had done for the first exam, and I thought I’d nailed the second one, but I was deficient. I can take that dream in several ways: (1) I’m still having nightmares about taking tests in college; (2) my proficiency in Spanish is severely lacking, and that isn’t great for someone who lives in Los Angeles; (3) it’s a dream, so whatever; (4) I need to remember that even when I think I’ve nailed it, there’s more to do.
Remember the WSJ puzzle where they agreed it was hard to keep up with THE TIMES? Well NYT took the high road in 25D WSJ Competitor (NYTIMES). But I’m not a fan of putting NYTIMES as the answer to a clue in a puzzle published in the NY Times. It’s possible that nobody tells Will Shortz when an idea is bad or isn’t even his because he lives in the world of 57A People are protected when they’re in it: SAFEENVIRONMENT.
I did like the theme of the symbol and element name. I don’t think that should have tipped me off that B+ was a Boron ion, but that wasn’t the worst answer for B+. Also for 61A Man of the cloth? I was thinking DYER, but evidently it was DIOR. Even though it was Christian, it wasn’t religious.