"Gaming Names" is by Steven Kahn. I'm not sure I understand the title since only one of the people named in the themed entries can be said to have anything to do with games. Maybe it has something to do with the baseball subtheme -- and maybe I'm just missing something.
This is an interesting midweek puzzle and we'll get to it right after this SPOILER WARNING: Don't read any further until you've done today's New York Sun Crossword Puzzle. New York Sun puzzles are every bit as fun and challenging as the more well-known New York Times and they're indisputably better in one way -- they're free. If you'd like to read about an unbiased head-to-head competition between the Sun and the Times check this out. Or if you'd rather decide for yourself you can download this puzzle and join in on the fun here.
4D: Arnold Schwarzenegger? (ACTING GOVERNOR) I'm in a good mood so I won't quibble over Ahnold's "acting" abilities, merely point out that other actors who went into politics include Ronald Reagan, Clint Eastwood, Sonny Bono, Shirley Temple and that guy who played "Gopher" on The Love Boat.
And speaking of politics, 17D: Charlton Heston? (SHOOTING STAR) At first I thought, wait a minute, Heston didn't do that many westerns (sorry, I mean "oaters") but then I remembered he was the President of the National Rifle Association. He was also president of the Screen Actors Guild and he campaigned for John Kennedy and marched with Martin Luther King back in his younger days. "Ben-Hur" and "The Ten Commandments" were classics, but my two favorite Heston flicks are "Soylent Green" and "The Omega Man."
My favorite theme answer is 18D: Iván Rodríguez (CROUCHING TIGER). For those of you who don't follow baseball, Rodríguez (AKA Pudge or I-Rod) is the catcher for the defending American League champion Detroit Tigers. Catchers crouch, see? So far Rodríguez has stayed out of politics.
Other baseball clues in the puzzle include:
44A: Cap in the Baseball Hall of Fame (ANSON) That's Cap Anson, who retired in 1898 but still holds several Cubs team records, including most including most hits, singles, doubles, runs and RBIs, which I guess says something about how well things have gone for the Cubs in the last 109 years. In keeping with this puzzle's sub theme, Cap was elected city clerk of Chicago and later ran unsuccessfully for sheriff.
63A: Retiring the side makes it go down (ERA) That's earned run average, the average number of runs a pitcher allows per nine innings pitched.
39A: Indians home (CLEVELAND)
And since what's a day at the ballpark without a cold one: 23A: Chinese beer brand (TSINGTAO)
Other entries of interest:
32D: Vintage Fords (MODEL AS) I had the final LAS and put in IMPALAS, not knowing that Kahn had a much older vintage in mind (and forgetting that Impala was made by Chevrolet.)
35D: Moxie CrimeFighter's magician father (PENN) That would be Penn Gillette, the taller, less-silent half of Penn and Teller. He seems to give a different reason for giving his daughter that name every time he's asked. My favorite was so that if she's ever pulled over for speeding, she can tell the cop "We're on the same side; I'm a CrimeFighter too."
7A: Research room (LAB) Thank goodness it wasn't about dogs, those "lab coat with fleas" clues get me every time.
55A: Alternatives to Yodels (HOHOS) they don't sell Drake's Cakes in South Carolina, and my cupcake days are mostly behind me. I've never had a Yodel -- or a Devil Dog or a Yankee Doodle or a Sunny Doodle or a Ring-Ding or a Funny Bone. If they're not any better than Hostess or Little Debbie I ain't missing much.
That's all for today. See ya Thursday.