Let’s get right to today’s puzzle.

Six long theme answers, with three fitting one specific letter pattern and the other three fitting another.

  • 23A: [*The act of placing limits on something] is CIRCUMSCRIPTION. Perhaps a tough word, but I liked it better than the other 15-letter alternatives I found.
  • 39A: [*Screening locations] is SECURITY CHECKPOINTS.
  • 55A: [*Group of islands north of the Canadian mainland] is ARCTIC ARCHIPELAGO.
  • 77A: [*Pacific state evergreen] is CALIFORNIA REDWOOD.
  • 94A: [*TV series whose second episode was titled “Top Banana”] is ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT.
  • 113A: [*Queen Elizabeth II, to King Edward VII] is GREAT GRANDCHILD.

The theme answers are described by the alphanumeric revealers of R2-D2 at 52D: [“Star Wars” droid whose alphanumeric name is represented in the starred answers in the bottom half of this puzzle] and C-3PO at 64D: [“Star Wars” droid whose alphanumeric name is represented in the starred answers in the top half of this puzzle]. Meaning, the theme answers in the top half of the puzzle have three C’s followed by a P and an O, and the theme answers in the bottom half of the puzzle have two R’s followed by two D’s. There aren’t any additional C’s or P’s or O’s in the top three answers, nor are there additional R’s or D’s in the bottom three answers. It’s a bit of a curveball to throw a few numbers in the grid, but I figured you could handle it. I threw in some other “Star Wars”-related clues too, like 38D: [“Star Wars: The ___ of Skywalker”] for RISE and 40D: [Part of a “Star Wars” film with scrolling text] for INTRO.

This puzzle wasn’t originally inspired by watching “The Rise of Skywalker,” by the way. I wrote the puzzle and saw the movie later. Without spoiling anything, I’d say I enjoyed the film but (as with pretty much every “Star Wars” film) I tend to nitpick little things about it after the fact. Here’s a funny Pitch Meeting video you can watch about “The Rise of Skywalker” if you’ve already seen the movie.

See you next week!