Peter Gordon's attempt at difficult themes focuses on TEE. Like the third, fourth and fifth words of the previous sentence, every word of the theme answers and the clues ends in TEE. To wit: "Part of Iran that can get quite hot:" GREAT SALT DESERT (known locally as Daskt-e Kavir); "suddenly showed interest:" SAT BOLT UPRIGHT; "didn't speak of, as a touchy subject:" KEPT QUIET ABOUT; and "finally, though as important," LAST BUT NOT LEAST.
Happy T-day, I guess?
"Org. with a Grand Esteemed Loyal Knight" is BPOE, short for Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks. Another possible answer might be KKK; they love weird names like that.
The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit is a 1955 novel by SLOAN Wilson about the American search for purpose in a world dominated by business.
I've never heard of R&B singer LIL' MO. She started at Missy Elliott's protegee. She then went on to have a few hits that I never heard of.
"Israeli region that includes Eliat" is the desert region NEGEV. Eliat is a resort town known for its coral reef.
Never heard of baseball player Rich AURILIA. He was a shortstop who played for several teams, notably for the San Francisco Giants.
I'm not a classical cognoscento either. Licia ALBANESE was noted especially for her portrayals of the lyric heroines of Verdi and Puccini, Albanese was a leading artist with the Metropolitan Opera from 1940 to 1966.
The film title The Story of ADELEH really baffled me. What the heck is Adeleh? Nothing, because it's ADELE H, as in The Story of Adèle H., a 1975 film by François Truffaut. It's about the daughter of Victor Hugo, who has obsessive unrequited love for a military officer.
Boy, I really don't know a lot of highbrow culture!
Another person I've never heard of is Rabbi Meir KAHANE, a right-wing orthodox Israeli politician who was criticized in Israel for being racist. For example, he wanted to outlaw sexual relations between Jews and non-Jews, and enforce second-class citizenry on non-Jews living in Israel.
"Red snapper, at a sushi restaurant" is TAI. The fish called TAI in sushi restaurants is actually Pagrus major. There is another fish called TAI snapper that is not a snapper, but a sea bream, or porgy, native to New Zealand.
TAGS UP ('retouches after a fly ball is caught") appeared December 28, 2017.
Tennis great Rafael NADAL last appeared November 19, 2017, as the 2017 US Open Winner. Here he is clued as an 2008 Olympic gold medalist.
That's LOTS of new concepts and references, FOLKS.