Theme: "I Had a Bad Day" - Each verbal phrase is humorously clued as if it's a failed action of the subject in the clue.
23. My crayon __: DREW A BLANK.
28. My ruler __: FAILED TO MEASURE UP.
56. My needle __: DIDN'T COME THROUGH.
70. My belt __: BUCKLED UNDER THE STRAIN.
93. My cake __: FELL DOWN ON THE JOB.
117. My knife __: COULDN'T MAKE THE CUT.
128. And my champagne __: FIZZLED OUT. Love how this entry ends the theme set.
It's good to see MaryEllen Uthlaut back. I always associate her name with Sunday puzzles, probably because the first few puzzles she made for the LA Times were all Sunday grids.
Great title! Husker Gary-eque!
1. Swahili boss: BWANA. Literally 'boss" in Swahili.
6. Canasta combination: MELD.
10. Cockatoo feature: CREST.
15. Boring tools: AWLS.
19. Many a surfer: AOLER. Rich is one.
20. Others, in Latin: ALII. ALIA also.
21. Vigor: OOMPH.
22. Acquire, as an advantage: GAIN.
25. Pay television: CABLE.
26. Designated space: AREA. The chaos have spilled into our area. Lots of stores are closed. Curfew in place on Friday night.
27. Four-wheeler, briefly: ATV.
31. Step on it when you need to step on it: THE GAS.
33. Carnival city: RIO.
34. Applies henna to, say: DYES. Amazing work.
35. Mink cousin: OTTER.
38. Sack lead-in: KNAP. Knapsack.
41. Mount north of Redding, California: SHASTA.
46. Golf course rental: CART. Boomer needs it for his Monday morning 9-hole round.
49. Blunted sword: EPEE.
51. Text sent with x's and o's: I LUV U. And 65. Spanish 51-Across: TEA MO.
54. Cultural character: ETHOS.
55. Felt remorse for: RUED.
59. Quacked company name: AFLAC.
61. Computer instructions: CODE. Anon-T's forte.
62. Courtyard: PATIO.
63. Dramatic offering: PLAY.
64. Mediterranean capital: BEIRUT.
66. Tats: INK.
68. One of this puzzle's 144: CLUE. Maximum entries allowed for a Sunday is 144.
79. Ground cover: TARP.
80. "Yess!": YAY.
81. Empower: ENABLE.
82. What may come to mind: IDEA.
86. Native New Zealander: MAORI.
89. Fix, as a toy: SPAY.
92. Sleep disorder: APNEA.
97. Shut (up): PENT.
98. South Pacific island group: SAMOA.
99. Parasite: LEECH.
100. Benefit: SAKE. Nice with sashimi.
101. Cookie with a Red Velvet variety: OREO. This red looks so artificial.
102. Attacks: ONSETS.
104. Climb, in a way: SHIN.
106. Direct attention: REFER.
108. Soften: EASE.
111. As we speak: NOW.
113. Beefy soup ingredient: OXTAIL. Thick. Almost stew.
125. Genetic material: DNA.
126. "Need anything __?": ELSE.
127. Fluffy-eared marsupial: KOALA.
130. Crossword-solving Simpson: LISA.
131. Celtic language: IRISH.
132. Trac II cousin: ATRA.
133. Walt Whitman volunteered as one during the Civil War: NURSE.
134. Title for fictional detective Peter Wimsey: LORD. Read more here.
135. Parachute fabric: NYLON.
136. Help grow up: REAR.
137. Printer cartridge contents: TONER.
1. Lacking talent for: BAD AT.
2. Deserving of: WORTH.
3. "All Day Strong" brand: ALEVE.
4. Not seen before: NEW.
5. Longtime PLO chairman: ARAFAT.
6. Mauritania neighbor: MALI.
7. Airline to Israel: EL AL.
8. Hard-hit batted ball: LINER.
9. Small antelope with an echoic name: DIK DIK. Look at her eyes!
10. First name in design: COCO.
11. Wander aimlessly: ROAM.
12. Reporter at the front: EMBED.
13. Spread outward: SPLAY.
14. Academic research papers: THESES.
15. Jellylike alga extract: AGAR. Essential for Fruit Jelly. Can't wait for the lychee season.
16. Goods suffix: WARE.
17. Stead: LIEU.
18. Start of a football play: SNAP.
24. Poured juices over: BASTED.
29. Bar mixer: TONIC.
30. Director in the theater?: USHER. Nice clue.
32. Approached nightfall: GOT DARK.
36. "Iliad," for one: EPIC.
37. Second chance: REDO.
39. Leaning to one side: ALOP. Have not seen this word for sometime.
40. Reebok rival: PUMA.
42. Resting upon: ATOP.
43. Jewish assembly site: SHUL.
44. Roman garment: TOGA.
45. Grayish: ASHY.
46. 19th-century diarist Henry __ Robinson: CRABB. Unfamiliar to me.
47. Pot-__: "on the fire" French stew: AU-FEU. Partial. I'll talk more about it later.
48. Thing of the past: RELIC.
50. Lead to: END IN. 103. Finally registered: SANK IN. 115. Occupied: IN USE.
52. Twining plant: VETCH. Learned from doing crosswords. So pretty. Alas, D-Otto can't see the delicate colors.
53. Functional: UTILE.
57. Look after: TEND.
58. Legislative body: HOUSE.
60. Snake worshippers, e.g.: CULT. Never heard of snake worship.
67. Tab, say: KEY.
69. European erupter: ETNA.
71. Slow way of speaking: DRAWL.
72. Barely ahead: UP ONE.
73. Reckless: RASH.
74. Personality categories: TYPES.
75. Bond that promotes easy communication: RAPPORT.
76. Baseball's Doubleday: ABNER.
77. __ Woods, original voice of Disney's Cinderella: ILENE. Also new to me. Has a Norma Jean look.
78. "Groovy!": NEATO.
82. In that case: IF SO.
83. Basketball Hall of Fame coach Smith: DEAN. Wiki says he "coached for 36 years at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Smith coached from 1961 to 1997 and retired with 879 victories".
84. Stately trees: ELMS.
85. Cream additive: ALOE. Skin cream.
87. Small deer: ROES.
88. Move bit by bit: INCH.
90. "When it's __": answer to a classic riddle: A JAR.
91. Symbol of bondage: YOKE.
94. So last year: DATED.
95. "To __ own self be true": "Hamlet": THINE.
96. Soil: BEFOUL. Not a word I use. Those rioters befoul our state. We're not "Minnesota Nice" any more.
105. A stone's throw: NOT FAR. Our governor said 80% of the rioters are from other states.
107. Degree: EXTENT.
109. Apartment building unit: STORY.
110. Web message: EMAIL.
112. Harmless, as a lie: WHITE.
114. Add splendor to: ADORN.
116. "See ya": LATER.
117. Honeycomb compartment: CELL.
118. Miscellany: OLIO.
119. Cold War initials: USSR.
120. Play the first card: LEAD.
121. Besides that: ALSO.
122. Madeline of "Blazing Saddles": KAHN.
123. Poet Pound: EZRA.
124. Old Russian autocrat: CZAR.
129. Sonny and Cher, for one: DUO.
I wrote a short post on partials a while ago. You can read it here.
Suppose I have a ARA? slot and I can only use letter M or T. I normally choose T, so I'll have A RAT partial. It's easy to clue and easy for solvers. ARAM is not a common name and can stump some solvers.
Partials are not bad. Every editors allow them. Just make sure you don't have more than two for a 15*15 grid and your partials don't have more than 5-letters like A PLANT.