Why was my breeding order'd and prescrib'd(Milton, Samson Agonistes, 30-42)
As of a person separate to God,
Design'd for great exploits; if I must dye
Betray'd, Captiv'd, and both my Eyes put out,
Made of my Enemies the scorn and gaze;
To grind in Brazen Fetters under task
With this Heav'n-gifted strength? O glorious strength
Put to the labour of a Beast, debas't
Lower then bondslave! Promise was that I
Should Israel from Philistian yoke deliver;
Ask for this great Deliverer now, and find him
Eyeless in Gaza at the Mill with slaves,
Himself in bonds under Philistian yoke
For the puzzle to have been truly ELEGANT (26A: Polished), every theme answer should have had a different sound in its final syllable. I wasn't too fond of the "OCK" repetition. High standards? Maybe. But if you're going to pull a simple "take-away" theme, you need to set the bar high. Well, you don't need to, but you should. Puzzle as a whole seemed fine, if a little on the easy side for a Friday. EERIEST and EELER and IRON ORES and ARLENES = a little more crosswordese than I'd like to see this late in the week. Enjoyed the trivia in the clues on RICIN (7D: Toxin found in castor beans) and ALTO SAX (37D: Glazunov wrote a 1934 concerto for one), though I have no idea who Glazunov is. Nice to be reminded of the Dodgers' glory days (39D: The Dodgers retired his #2 in 1997 => LASORDA) on a day when the news for the Dodgers is not so glorious. As a Red Sox fan, let me just say: sorry.
- 18A: One shivering atop Mount Ararat? (cold Turk) - I like that one
- 19A: Tool in a Belfast bakery? (Irish whisk)
- 33A: Desperate farmer's transaction? (field hock) - least favorite
- 49A: Abbey resident in a rock-'n'-roll musical? ("Grease" monk)
- 53A: Serious Frisbee thrower? (disc jock)
- 15A: Depth charge, slangily (ash can) — For perhaps obvious reasons, I confuse this slangy term for depth charge with the equally slangy and equally war-related term for helmet, i.e. TIN CAN. Wait ... a TIN CAN is actually a naval destroyer. What's the slang term for helmet? Ah, TIN HAT.
- 22A: Pester for payment (dun) — A somewhat old-timey word that still has a lot of currency in xwords.
- 48A: "Here _____ Again" (Whitesnake #1 hit) ("I go") — OK, sure, I'll play it ... damn, youtube won't let me embed it. So you get this ... which is pretty great in its own right:
- 29D: Show to a seat, slangily (ush) — One of my least favorite xwordisms. Other less-than-palatable short fill includes WVA (43D: "We Are Marshall" setting: Abbr.) and the horrible-sounding, horrible-looking, never-before-seen-or-heard-of-by-me Pou STO (30D: Pou _____: vantage point).
- 55D: Mo. named for the Roman god of doorways (Jan.) — After Janus. I just love that there was ever a god of doorways. That's like having a god of front steps, windows, or microwave ovens.
Everything Else — 1A: ABCs (BASICS); 7A: Banter (REPARTEE); 15A: Depth charge, slangily (ASHCAN); 16A: Magnetite et al. (IRONORES); 17A: __ dream: optimist's philosophy (DARETO); 18A: One shivering atop Mount Ararat? (COLDTURK); 19A: Tool in a Belfast bakery? (IRISHWHISK); 21A: Vous, in Weimar (SIE); 22A: Pester for payment (DUN); 23A: Follower of Christ? (IAN); 24A: Alma __ (MATER); 26A: Polished (ELEGANT); 29A: Of no value (USELESS); 31A: Houston team affiliated with the NHL's Minnesota Wild (AEROS); 32A: The Boss's address? (ESTREET); 33A: Desperate farmer's transaction? (FIELDHOCK); 36A: Distant (FARAWAY); 38A: Catcher with a pot (EELER); 42A: Actress Francis and others (ARLENES); 43A: Military exercise (WARGAME); 45A: Sees (DATES); 46A: Netflix rental (DVD); 47A: "Gimme a __" (SEC); 48A: "Here __ Again" (Whitesnake #1 hit) (IGO); 49A: Abbey resident in a rock-'n'-roll musical? (GREASEMONK); 53A: Serious Frisbee thrower? (DISCJOCK); 56A: Work too hard (OVERDO); 57A: Dinner alternative (ALACARTE); 58A: Blush (REDDEN); 59A: Allure (SEXINESS); 60A: Covers with crumbs (BREADS); 1D: "I wouldn't" (BADIDEA); 2D: By and large (ASARULE); 3D: Red fez wearer (SHRINER); 4D: Clinches (ICES); 5D: Like the pope: Abbr. (CATH); 6D: Strand at the chalet (SNOWIN); 7D: Toxin found in castor beans (RICIN); 8D: Cupid's counterpart (EROS); 9D: President between Tyler and Taylor (POLK); 10D: "What's more ..." (AND); 11D: Falderal (ROT); 12D: Bankruptcy court appointee (TRUSTEE); 13D: Spooky to the max (EERIEST); 14D: Glacial ridges (ESKERS); 20D: Monopoly token (HAT); 24D: "Moon River" lyricist (MERCER); 25D: Pub container (ALEKEG); 27D: Get off (GOFREE); 28D: Taiwanese, e.g. (ASIANS); 29D: Show to a seat, slangily (USH); 30D: Pou __: vantage point (STO); 32D: Big name in ice cream (EDY); 34D: Ram's ma'am (EWE); 35D: Much of "Deck the Halls" (LAS); 36D: Like some egos (FRAGILE); 37D: Glazunov wrote a 1934 concerto for one (ALTOSAX); 39D: The Dodgers retired his #2 in 1997 (LASORDA); 40D: Improved (EMENDED); 41D: Figures (RECKONS); 42D: Nike rival (ADIDAS); 43D: "We Are Marshall" setting: Abbr. (WVA); 44D: Condense on a surface (ADSORB); 46D: Rink fakes (DEKES); 49D: Bush battler (GORE); 50D: IRS auditor's requests (RCTS); 51D: Perpetually (EVER); 52D: Ancient Persian (MEDE); 54D: LXVII thrice (CCI); 55D: Mo. named for the Roman god of doorways (JAN).