Wordplay: Coast to Coast

This week’s puzzle doesn’t have a ton of difficult entries, but some of the clues will definitely get you thinking.

A hint: Philadelphia, Penn., is known as “the city of brotherly love.” You’ll get a nice boost by completing the four theme entries – 20 Across, 32 Across, 44 Across, and 56 Across which also share the same four-letter word encircled throughout the puzzle. The length of these theme entries should open up much of the rest of the grid, helping you unlock some of the more cryptic clues.

Though the center of puzzle is a bit “boxed in” grid wise, you won’t find many cheap three-letter fills (only 12 in all), and a nice balance of four- and five-lettered words.

Constructor’s Notes:

The hardest part about constructing this puzzle was coming up with a good theme. A Massachusetts license plate, featuring the state’s slogan “The Bay State,” inspired me to take the solver on a mini tour from the west to east coast (or top to bottom).

Though not as spaced out across the United States as I would have liked, the four cities featured do span from the west to the east coast, with a bit of clustering in the Midwest.

I did, however, enjoy cluing 18 Across, granted it originated from a slight spelling error; and 68 Across, a line from “Ulysses” by Alfred Lord Tennyson.

As always, I welcome any feedback to wordplay@phillipian.net.