Theme: A-E-I-O-U — Theme answers are each a familiar phrase/name the last word of which follows the pattern M-[vowel]-S-S.
- 20A: Christmas service (MIDNIGHT MASS).
- 23A: With "A," 1986 Ted Danson film (FINE MESS).
- 38A: The Rebels of the Southeastern Conference, familiarly (OLE MISS).
- 52A: Waifish supermodel from Britain (KATE MOSS).
- 54A: Easy to use, in adspeak (NO FUSS NO MUSS).
Very smooth solve for me today. At first I just thought the theme answers ended in SS. It wasn't until I had completed the puzzle and looked back on it that I noticed it was more specific than that. The thing that really makes this theme work — and elegantly — is that all five vowels are used and they appear in order. If it wasn't all five and they weren't in order, you would definitely hear some grumbling from the peanut gallery.
- 10A: Tattooist's surface (SKIN). See also 63A: Popular tattoo site (ANKLE). Mine is on my left shoulder. PuzzleHusband's is on the top of his right foot (ouch!). When I got my tattoo (I was, I think, 27 or 28), my dad said it just confirmed what he has suspected all along: Some people just have too much money.
- 27A: Web forum user's self-image (AVATAR). Ya know, someone asked about my avatar in a comment thread recently and I don't think I ever answered. The flower is the Wild Prairie Rose, which is the state flower of North Dakota, where I was born. Pretty, isn't it?
- 49A: More's perfect place (UTOPIA). Sir Thomas More coined the word utopia and wrote about it in his 1516 book called, um, Utopia.
- 57A: Claim as one's own (COOPT). I entered adopt at first.
- 5D: Poppycock (FOLDEROL). Wasn't sure how to spell this word. I ended it with an AL at first.
- 12D: "That is," in 41-Across (ID EST). Latin! Ya know when you see the abbreviation i.e.? That's what it means, id est. Ya know when you see the abbreviation e.g.? Totally different thing.
- 21D: "__ bad boy!": Lou Costello catchphrase (I'M A). Speaking of Abbott and Costello, I was keeping an eye on a fun thing on Twitter the other night. People were making up "First Draft Movie Lines." I.e., taking famous movie lines and imagining what the first draft might have been. Obviously, the first drafts were not nearly as funny / intense / memorable as the final version. A few of my favorites:
"Who's on first?" "Ty Cobb." "Okay, thanks."You get the idea.
"The name's James. James Bond."
"You're gonna need a smaller shark."
"Hello, my name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. I am quite upset and think you owe me an apology."
"No I'm actually Kiser Soze. I killed those other guys and made this whole story up. Oh, and my leg is fine."
- 24D: The first Mrs. Trump (IVANA). After the whole Miss California kerfuffle earlier this year, PuzzleDad said he heard one of the late-show guys saying that Donald Trump is actually quite serious about his opinion that marriage is a sacred bond between a man and a series of progressively younger women.
- 34D: Left-hand page (VERSO). Right-hand page = RECTO? Is that right?
- 48D: Enero or mayo (MES). Spanish! Enero = January, mayo = May (remember, the months aren't capitalized in Spanish), mes = month.
- 50D: Figure, as a sum (TOT UP). I know I've seen this expression before and I will stipulate that it is a perfectly legitimate crossword entry. But that doesn't mean I have to like it.
- 52D: Wild and crazy (KOOKY).
- 61D: "Is it soup __?" (YET). This is one of those phrases that just makes me laugh. I have no idea where the phrase originated or what it's supposed to mean, but I find it very amusing nonetheless. Another one is: "Nobody here but us chickens!" And ... I can't think of any more right now.
[Follow PuzzleGirl on Twitter.]
Everything Else — 1A: "Now we're in for it!" ("UH-OH!"); 5A: Whopper of a meal (FEAST); 14A: Fan mag (ZINE); 15A: Developing egg (OVULE); 16A: Reverse, in word processing (UNDO); 17A: Worshiped carving (IDOL); 18A: Gave false hope to (LED ON); 19A: Track event (MEET); 26A: At ease with (USED TO); 28A: Red giant or white dwarf (STAR); 29A: Price indicators (TAGS); 30A: Down Under gem (OPAL); 33A: Replies to an invite (RSVPS); 37A: California's Santa __ River (ANA); 40A: Before, to bards (ERE); 41A: Tongue of Tiberius (LATIN); 43A: Totally absorbed (RAPT); 44A: Soft cheese (BRIE); 45A: Entrée list (MENU); 47A: Brought a smile to (AMUSED); 56A: Slanted type: Abbr. (ITAL.); 58A: Carry out (OBEY); 62A: Harbor pushers (TUGS); 64A: Craving (URGE); 65A: Blade with a guarded tip (EPEE); 66A: Spanish sovereigns (REYES); 67A: Cornet note (TOOT); 1D: (UZI); 2D: Stashed away (HID); 3D: Beatle spouse Yoko (ONO); 4D: Batters' protection (HELMETS); 6D: Two, four, six, etc. (EVENS); 7D: German wheels (AUDIS); 8D: Trudge, as through mud (SLOG); 9D: Opposite of "At ease!" ("TEN HUT!"); 10D: Vacation times (SUMMERS); 11D: Work on sore muscles (KNEAD); 13D: "Wrong!" ("NOT SO!"); 22D: Peter the Great et al. (TSARS); 23D: Like some mistakes (FATAL); 25D: Pester persistently (NAG AT); 28D: Lose traction (SLIP); 31D: Home to many llamas (PERU); 32D: Docs' org. (AMA); 35D: Is a Nosy Parker (PRIES); 36D: Sprouts-to-be (SEEDS); 38D: "__ the loneliest number": '60s song lyric (ONE IS); 39D: Law book contents (STATUTES); 42D: Sudden urge (IMPULSE); 44D: Saddens, slangily (BUMS OUT); 46D: Daytona 500 org. (NASCAR); 49D: Come together (UNITE); 51D: No longer a minor (OF AGE); 53D: More than enough (AMPLE); 55D: Zilch (NONE); 59D: 'Hood buddy (BRO); 60D: Word before booster or tripper (EGO).