THEME: "Court Business"—The middle entry, 33A, is both a verb phrase and a noun phrase; it's the noun that gets riffed on for the ends of the theme answers
- 17A: Exterior attractiveness, to a Realtor (CURB APPEAL). Don't like this clue? Then file an APPEAL with the Cruciverbal Court.
- 20A: Beethoven's affliction (LOSS OF HEARING). The Cruciverbal Court will schedule a HEARING for your APPEAL next month.
- 50A: Drug safety test (CLINICAL TRIAL). Are you ready to go to TRIAL now?
- 55A: Replay feature (SLOW MOTION). Judges grant MOTIONs, do they not?
- 33A: What chambers of commerce do, and this puzzle's title (COURT BUSINESS). This ties everything together, but who the heck ever says that the local chamber of commerce "courts business"? I'd sooner say they woo businesses in the plural. Granted, a theme is more ambitious with five long answers than with four, but I think I'd rather this one had gone with four longs and a short unifying answer, such as COURT in the bottom corner.
And now, my favorite clues and answers:
- 1A: Paul of "American Graffiti" (LE MAT). I loved Paul Le Mat in American Graffiti. He's the cutie in the old yellow car, and yes, that's a very young Mackenzie Phillips hopping into his car midway through the clip.
- 22A: Hunk (GOB). I can't help seeing that as Gob, short for George Oscar Bluth II, and pronouncing it as "jobe" thanks to Arrested Development. Coincidentally, Will Arnett, who played Gob, is pretty good-lookin'.
- 13D: Popular analgesic cream (BEN-GAY). Not, despite what you may have heard, a gay-friendly reimagining of Ben-Hur.
- 28D: "Parsley is gharsley" poet is the goofy Ogden NASH.
- Burger corner! 44D: Old MacDonald's place (FARM) evokes McDonalds, while 45D: Whopper toppers (ONIONS) goes to Burger King.
Another puzzle I did on Tuesday featured the first and last name of a failed physicist I'd never heard of. What is this, Obscure Person First/Last Name Combo Week? I have no idea who PAUL CONRAD is, other than that he's a 27D: Three-time Editorial Cartooning Pulitzer winner. He's certainly kosher for the L.A. Times crossword, as he was the newspaper's chief editorial cartoonist from 1964 to 1993. He made it onto Nixon's famous "enemies list." Gotta respect that.
Everything Else — 6A: Big Apple sch. (CCNY); 10A: One often looking down? (SNOB); 14A: Part of Caesar's boast (I CAME); 15A: Former manager Felipe (ALOU); 16A: Bishop of Rome (POPE); 19A: Wilson of "Wedding Crashers" (OWEN); 24A: Drei minus zwei (EINS); 25A: Flummoxed (AT SEA); 26A: Embraces, as a philosophy (ADOPTS); 28A: Site for saplings (NURSERY); 30A: Old Italian bread (LIRA); 31A: Lined up (IN A ROW); 38A: Like a banquet (LAVISH); 39A: Slightly (A TAD); 41A: Thorny shrubs commonly with yellow flowers (ACACIAS); 44A: Livestock food (FORAGE); 46A: Billiards bounce (CAROM); 47A: James of "The Godfather" (CAAN); 49A: Bar code? (LAW); 54A: General Bradley (OMAR); 58A: Soap actress Sofer (RENA); 60A: Rope loop (NOOSE); 61A: Scott in a landmark civil rights case (DRED); 62A: Clairvoyant (SEER); 63A: Kind of pressure that can cause headaches (SINUS); 1D: Driver's document: Abbr. (LIC); 2D: Old French coin (ECU); 3D: Vermont music festival town (MARLBORO); 5D: Afternoon service (TEA SET); 6D: Menu fowl (CAPON); 7D: Staff symbols (CLEFS); 8D: Wordsmith Webster (NOAH); 9D: Christmastime (YULE); 10D: Golf pro shop array (SPORTSWEAR); 11D: Not in any way (NOWISE); 12D: Feature of some corkscrews (OPENER); 18D: Pitchfork-shaped letters (PSIS); 21D: Hitter of 755 homers (AARON); 22D: Hoedown dancer (GAL); 23D: Lyrical (ODIC); 29D: Ocean State sch. (URI); 31D: Bird venerated by ancient Egyptians (IBIS); 32D: Frat letters (NUS); 34D: "Spider-Man" director (RAIMI); 35D: New Deal prog. (TVA); 36D: Breeding horse (STALLION); 37D: Heroic tale (SAGA); 40D: Drops on the grass (DEW); 41D: Agreement (ACCORD); 42D: More tranquil (CALMER); 43D: French satellite-launching rocket (ARIANE); 47D: Duplicate (CLONE); 48D: Fighting big-time (AT WAR); 51D: Members of Gil Grissom's team, briefly (CSIS); 52D: Medicinal plant (ALOE); 53D: Yours, in Tours (A TOI); 56D: The Buckeyes, initially (OSU); 57D: Super __: game console (NES).