THEME: APRIL / FOOL'S / DAY — three theme answers are film titles, the last words of which are APRIL, FOOL'S, and DAY, respectively
Look what I got for April Fool's Day — three movies I've never seen and don't know anything about! I've at least heard of "PIECES OF APRIL" and "THE LONGEST DAY." "SHIP OF FOOLS," on the other hand, is a painting or a World Party song to me. A Katherine Anne Porter novel? If you say so. Today's theme is simple, straightforward, coherent, and not at all tricky. Right over the plate. So much so that, despite not knowing Any of the theme answers, I solved this — on paper — in the low 4 minute range, which is supa dupa fast for me. My only hangups were at ASTRUD (42A: "The Girl From Ipanema" singer Gilberto) — I thought her name was ASTR*I*D — and TOWER (52D: Quasimodo's hangout) — I knew that he hung out in a big famous French building, and I knew it wasn't the LOUVRE but couldn't get that museum's name out of my head. Then I remembered it was NOTRE DAME, but that didn't fit either. Let's see ... there are bells there, I think ... ah, TOWER. Very good.
- 20A: 2003 Katie Holmes film ("Pieces of APRIL")
- 37A: 1965 film based on a Katherine Anne Porter novel ("Ship of FOOLS")
- 55A: 1962 WWII film ("The Longest DAY")
Crosswordese 101: again, lots to choose from, but I'm going to kill two birds with one stone and go after playwrights today, specifically William INGE (24A: "Bus Stop" playwright) and Clifford ODETS (39D: "Golden Boy" dramatist). These guys are everywhere, especially INGE, who is one of the most common proper nouns in all of grid-dom. I know ODETS only because I was once thumbing through postcards at some artsy shop in Ann Arbor and I came across what I thought was a photo of my college French professor — but no, it was some guy I'd never heard of named Clifford ODETS. ODETS gets clued most often via "Waiting for Lefty" while INGE usually gets the "Picnic" or "Bus Stop" treatment. Wikipedia tells me that ODETS was married to Academy-Award winning actress Luise Rainer at one point, had a relationship with Frances Farmer, and got hauled before HUAC, where he disavowed his Communist affiliations and named names, thus keeping him from getting blacklisted.
- 16A: "Flip This House" airer (A AND E) — parsing! if a word doesn't look like a word, it might not be just one word. You must beware the ampersandwiches. A AND E, A AND W, R AND B, etc.
- 17A: Some dadaist art (Arps) — ARP could easily have been the Crosswordese 101 entry of the day. Usually not seen in the plural!
- 31A: Carol starter ("Adeste") — "Adeste Fideles" — aka "O Come All Ye Faithful"
- 61A: Outfield border (wall) — I was looking for something in a warning track or a foul line.
- 62A: 5-point K, e.g. (tile) — no idea what this was going for until I had nearly the whole word from crosses. Scrabble! Not my game.
- 2D: Dogie catcher (lariat) — cute — sort of playing on the job of "Dog catcher." I think.
- 4D: Pocono 500 group (NASCAR) — like Scrabble, not my thing
- 7D: Imaginative genre (sci-fi) — most genres involve imagination. Weird clue.
- 10D: Spydom name (Hari) — as in Mata.
- 22D: Links org. sponsoring the FedEx Cup (PGA Tour) — I love that answer. Looks very cool as a complete answer. So much more interesting than the simple PGA.
- 27D: Jazz guitarist Montgomery (Wes) — learned him from xwords then promptly forgot him. "Remembered" him here only after a cross ... or two.
- 58D: Designer Schiaparelli (Elsa) — I told you. I told you. Didn't I tell you? I did (see the inaugural "L.A. Crossword Confidential" write-up to see what I'm talking about)
Everything Else — 1A: Impetuous fervor (ELAN); 5A: Cong. work period (SESS); 9A: Not on the up and up (SHADY); 14A: Tibetan holy man (LAMA); 15A: Dark purple (PUCE); 18A: Bone-dry (ARID); 19A: Hardly sensitive (CRASS); 23A: Leftovers covering (SARAN); 25A: Robin Hood's wood (YEW); 28A: Everlasting (ETERNAL); 33A: Cheery (UPBEAT); 36A: Is situated (LIES); 40A: Genesis twin (ESAU); 43A: Composer Andrew Lloyd __ (WEBBER); 45A: Clytemnestra's son (ORESTES); 50A: Prefix with skeleton (EXO); 51A: Himalayan legend (YETI); 54A: Gear parts (TEETH); 59A: Escargot (SNAIL); 63A: Scout rank (EAGLE); 64A: Grandson of Adam (ENOS); 65A: San __ Obispo, Calif. (LUIS); 66A: Butler of fiction (RHETT); 67A: First name in country (REBA); 68A: Give off (EMIT); 1D: Go by, as time (ELAPSE); 3D: Current unit (AMPERE); 5D: Relaxing retreats (SPAS); 6D: Pisa dough? (EURO); 8D: Sable or Impala (SEDAN); 9D: Like some cows (SACRED); 11D: In-depth examination (ANALYSIS); 12D: Oral surgeon's deg. (DDS); 13D: "Amen!" (YES); 21D: Listless feeling (ENNUI); 26D: Summer on the Seine (ETE); 29D: Clothing (APPAREL); 30D: Wall St. deals (LBOS); 32D: Extension forming a right angle (ELL); 34D: Young salamander (EFT); 35D: Hendrix haircut (AFRO); 37D: Enemy agent's strategy (SABOTAGE); 38D: Center of activity (HUB); 40D: Meadow mom (EWE); 41D: Census datum (SEX); 44D: Place for a lace (EYELET); 46D: Agree out of court (SETTLE); 47D: Monotony (TEDIUM); 48D: And others, in bibliographies (ETALII); 49D: Most bashful (SHYEST); 53D: Vacuous (INANE); 56D: To the __: fully (HILT); 57D: Handful of mud, say (GLOB); 59D: Talk about sin, e.g.: Abbr. (SER); 60D: "Uh-uh" (NAH).