THEME: "Fuss and Feathers"—Assorted "f___ and f___" phrases, not including fuss and feathers
- 20A: "American Idol" contestant's dream (FAME AND FORTUNE). That's PuzzleGirl's photo of runner-up Adam Lambert from last week's Idol concert, at which she had front-row seats! Close enough to capture his guyliner (which is eyeliner on a guy) and dark nail polish. Fame and fortune will likely continue colliding with him.
- 37A: Hard data (FACTS AND FIGURES). This...is not an inherently exciting phrase.
- 52A: Like a movie auto chase scene (FAST AND FURIOUS). That's also the title of the latest sequel to The Fast and the Furious. The earlier sequel was, if memory serves, 2 Fast 2 Furious. I'm holding out for a fourth installment called Fast and Fourious. Who's with me?
And now, a smattering of clues and their answers:
- 39D: "Ah, that explains it!" ("NO WONDER!"). Now, that is a terrific crossword answer. When the clue is a spoken phrase in quotation marks, the answer typically is, too, and it may or may not contain more than one word. See also 45D: "This I gotta hear!" ("DO TELL!").
- 9A: Pirate's chum (MATEY). Talk Like a Pirate Day is coming up next month, and I could really do without a day when people write things on the Internet in faux piratespeak. But I did enjoy the Pirates of the Caribbean movies.
- 8D: Mislead deliberately (THROW OFF). Yes, sometimes crossword constructors and editors craft clues to deliberately mislead us and THROW us OFF the path to the right answer.
- 18A: With 10-Down, approximately (ON OR)—This one partners with ABOUT.
- 28A: Handyman's tasks (ODD JOBS)—Ah, what a great term to show up in a crossword.
- 7D: Dating from (AS OF)—As in "as of next Saturday, I will be one year older.'
- 21D: At __ for words (A LOSS)—This is what we call a "partial," a multi-word answer that isn't a complete phrase by itself. It needs a fill-in-the-blank (FITB) clue or a reasonable facsimile, such as Thin-rail connector cluing AS A (part of "thin AS A rail"). Once you know to be on the lookout for partials, they can be some of the easiest ones to figure out; just skim the list of clues looking for FITBs and you'll be off to a quick start.
- 49D: Back of a 45 record (B-SIDE)—Sometimes the answer will slide the SIDE to the beginning of SIDE A or SIDE B, so move cautiously with a clue about the sides of records.
- 56D: __ no good: plotting (UP TO)—Another two-word partial.
Everything Else — 1A: Cough syrup amts. (TSPS.); 5A: Shoot the breeze (CHAT); 14A: Soccer rarity (GOAL); 15A: Mascara target (LASH); 16A: Dwelling (ABODE); 17A: Like a couch potato (IDLE); 18A: With 10-Down, approximately (ON OR); 19A: Sure to end in failure, as a situation (NO-WIN); 23A: Swiss painter Paul (KLEE); 24A: Stand in line (WAIT); 25A: Wander (about) (GAD); 30A: Shriner's hat (FEZ); 33A: Name on a rap sheet, perhaps (ALIAS); 35A: Place for mil. planes (AFB); 36A: Jazz jargon (JIVE); 41A: On the house (FREE); 42A: Fish eggs (ROE); 43A: FBI operative (AGENT); 45A: Bead of morning moisture (DEWDROP); 48A: Oink spot (STY); 50A: "Planet of the __" (APES); 58A: Bert's Muppet buddy (ERNIE); 59A: Connect the __ (DOTS); 60A: Kitten-lifting spot (NAPE); 61A: Ivan of tennis (LENDL); 62A: Blunt blade (EPEE); 63A: Kitchen suffix (-ETTE); 64A: Iron alloy (STEEL); 65A: Cincinnati team (REDS); 66A: "To __ it may concern" (WHOM); 1D: "Finally, the weekend!" (TGIF); 2D: Coke or root beer (SODA); 3D: Pilot or Treo maker (PALM); 4D: Streamlined, as a sports car (SLEEK); 5D: Copied genetically (CLONED); 6D: Passed (out) (HANDED); 9D: "Praying" insect (MANTIS); 10D: See 18-Across (ABOUT); 11D: Village's cousin (TOWN); 12D: Emmy winner Falco (EDIE); 13D: Craving (YEN); 22D: Temple leader (RABBI); 25D: Faux pas (GAFFE); 26D: Clock radio feature (ALARM); 27D: Prepares ham for an omelet, say (DICES); 29D: Bored with life (JADED); 30D: Pink-slips (FIRES); 31D: Happening (EVENT); 32D: Tart and spicy (ZESTY); 34D: Wolfed down (ATE); 36D: Moonshine container (JUG); 38D: Rock concert venue (ARENA); 40D: Rubbernecker (GAPER); 46D: Traveled like Huck Finn (RAFTED); 47D: Numbered works (OPUSES); 51D: Tendon (SINEW); 52D: Agonize (over) (FRET); 53D: Ill-fated Boleyn (ANNE); 54D: Nitwit (DOPE); 55D: "I do," for one (OATH); 57D: Evidently are (SEEM); 58D: Trains above streets (ELS).