THEME: "Closing Acts"—As 58-Across's clue hints at, four theme entries end with the names of musical performers
- 17A: Pleased plus (TICKLED PINK). I...don't think I've ever heard a Pink song, but I hear good things, and I love the phrase TICKLED PINK. Okay, I wandered over to YouTube and watched the "Stupid Girls" video, which mocks things like breast implants and vapidity—alas, embedding has been disabled so I can't post that video here.
- 25A: Piece of royal wealth (CROWN JEWEL). It's rather sad to have just a single CROWN JEWEL, but the singer/songwriter/poet is named Jewel, so what are you gonna do? I looked at some Jewel videos on YouTube but they made me want to rest my eyes for a bit. Snzzzz.
- 36A: Official corporate stock imprint (COMPANY SEAL). Seal is the guy who's married to Heidi Klum of Project Runway fame. My friend Amy says Heidi appears to have the personality of a sponge. I cannot verify this as I've never seen the show. Here's Seal's "Kiss from a Rose":
- 48A: Kiss seeker in a fairy tale (FROG PRINCE). Fantastic crossword answer! Plus, The Artist Once Again Known as Prince is a bonafide musical genius. It saddens me that he doesn't allow his videos to appear on YouTube, because I'd be quite content to post three Prince videos here and call it a day.
- 58A: What the last words of 17-, 25-, 36- and 48-Across could be considered, relative to the phrases in which they appear (CLOSING ACTS). Wouldn't it be incredible if there were bands named Tickled, Crown, Company, and Frog, and we could actually buy tickets to a Tickled/Pink or Frog/Prince tour?
This puzzle's by Sam Donaldson—no, not that Sam Donaldson. I left town for my birthday last weekend and Sam filled in for me at Diary of a Crossword Fiend on Sunday. It doesn't necessarily shine through in a set of crossword clues, but he's a funny guy. I don't know his age, but I'm guessing he's on the younger side given the particular pop culture slant of his theme today.
And now, my favorite clues and answers:
- 16A: Bad way to go? (APE). They say once you go ape, you never go back.
- "I'm sorry. I recant everything. Please accept my sincerest apogee." 33A: Take back (RECANT) / 46A: "My bad" ("I'M SORRY") / 12D: Orbital point (APOGEE) / 29D: 46-Across, e.g. (APOLOGY).
- "Aye, aye, sir!" 50D: Respectful refusal (NO SIR) crosses 63A: Group of gods ruled by Odin (AESIR).
- I've never heard of this 64A: Arkansas city called OZARK, but I do recall the Ozark Mountain Daredevils from the '70s. My sister and I bought the 45 of "Jackie Blue":
- 37D: Lakers coach who trademarked the term "three-peat" (PAT RILEY). He was also famous as the coach of the Knicks and the Miami Heat. He and his hair product have made an impact throughout the NBA. Don't you like it when a first and last name are joined together in a crossword entry? I do.
Everything Else — 1A: Make like (MIMIC); 6A: Biblical king and a captain (AHABS); 11A: Spoil the finish of (MAR); 14A: Long operatic solo (SCENA); 15A: Gouged-out fairway piece (DIVOT); 19A: Shear (off) (LOP); 20A: Song from the choir (HYMN); 21A: Shade of green (PEA); 22A: Nicolas of "Next" (CAGE); 23A: "Eureka!" ("AHA!"); 28A: Slap cuffs on (MANACLE); 31A: Slapstick actors, e.g. (ZANIES); 32A: __ coin: decide randomly (FLIP A); 39A: Draw support from (LEAN ON); 40A: Spots on the tube (TV ADS); 43A: Prove successful (PAN OUT); 51A: __-Xer (GEN); 52A: Teeny (ITSY); 54A: Man Friday, e.g. (AIDE); 57A: New Mexico tribe with a Sun symbol (ZIA); 62A: Night school subj. (ESL); 65A: Numbered rd. (RTE.); 66A: Austin Powers portrayer Mike (MYERS); 67A: Make good on (REPAY); 1D: Yr.-round setting in most of Arizona (MST); 2D: Here, to Henri (ICI); 3D: Tuning pro (MECHANIC); 4D: Like an octopus's defense (INKY); 5D: Devoid of wind (CALM); 6D: Recipe verb (ADD); 7D: African heavyweight (HIPPO); 8D: Miller's "__ From the Bridge" (A VIEW); 9D: Forty-niners' strikes (BONANZAS); 10D: Wall St. buy (STK.); 11D: Mozambique neighbor (MALAWI); 13D: Wards off (REPELS); 18D: Something sent with a ltr. (ENCL.); 22D: Peso fraction (CENTAVO); 23D: Big letters in bowling equipment (AMF); 24D: "I'm sorry, Dave" speaker of sci-fi (HAL); 26D: Showed again (RERAN); 27D: Jackson and Reno (JANETS); 30D: Was mentioned (CAME UP); 34D: Brian of ambient music (ENO); 35D: Critic of the selfless (CYNIC); 38D: Mutual fund designation (LARGE CAP); 41D: Rap's Dr. __ (DRE); 42D: Thesaurus wd. (SYN.); 43D: Maker of Lipitor and Celebrex (PFIZER); 44D: Con __ (ARTIST); 45D: Old cash register key (NO SALE); 47D: Ill-tempered (MEAN); 49D: Words from one who's defeated (I LOSE); 55D: "Young Frankenstein" role (IGOR); 56D: Knock silly (DAZE); 58D: Pic taker (CAM); 59D: E-file org. (IRS); 60D: Singing syllable (TRA); 61D: It's over your head (SKY).