Theme: Rhyming/homophonic pairs — Theme answers are two pairs of homophones that rhyme with each other.
- 19A: "A Beautiful Mind" star (RUSSELL CROWE). Hey, look! An actor from the L.A. Confidential movie!
- 29A: Certain mollusk's protection (MUSSEL SHELL).
- 43A: Marathoner's bane (MUSCLE CRAMP).
- 50A: Steal a herd (RUSTLE CATTLE).
With the crosswordese we've already covered in this blog, you should have been able to throw in several answers without even thinking: RHO (6A: Letter after pi); EMIT (21A: Give off); TETRA (33A: Colorful aquarium fish); EKGS (3D: Cardiologist's tests, for short); ATARI (49D: Video game pioneer); T-MEN (54D: Feds under Ness).
The grid's a little funky looking, but this was still a smooth solve for me. I loved seeing the colloquial AT IT AGAIN (17A: Quarreling once more). In my head, I heard it said with a resigned sigh: "There they go. At it again." I also think MACHISMO is an awesome word, although not a particular awesome thing (35A: Tough-guy trait). I absolutely could have done without thinking about acid REFLUX this morning (ewww!), but whatever (27D: Stomach acid problem).
- 1A: Bergen's dummy Mortimer (SNERD). I always want to call him Snead, but that's the golfer.
- 14A: Castle protection (MOAT). When we were selling our house in Iowa last year, I got a call from our realtor with a question from a couple that had done a walk-through. She said they had heard from one of our neighbors that we were building a moat and were wondering what that was all about. A moat. A moat! What is this, the Middle Ages? So of course I told her that we needed it to defend ourselves against the Saxons. A moat! Where do people come up with this stuff?
- 22A: Elegant tapestry (ARRAS). We'll be covering this in Crosswordese 301.
- 37A: Pretentious one (PSEUD). I guess I never knew this was a stand-alone word. Always thought it was just a prefix.
- 57A: Gambling metaphor for a risky venture (CRAPSHOOT). If you want to engage in an activity that's so complicated you probably won't have any idea what's going on, yet you'll get super super excited about it — craps is for you. Not that I've ever done that.
- 4D: Pee Wee of the '40s-'50s Dodgers (REESE).
- 28D: Formal words of confession (IT WAS I). Raise your hand if you really, really wanted I did it.
- 24D: __ Joy: candy bar (ALMOND). I've got a little ditty stuck in my head now and I think you should too.
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Everything Else — 9A: Preschool lessons (ABCS); 13A: George who played Sulu on "Star Trek" (TAKEI); 15A: Finish second (LOSE); 16A: Halo wearer (ANGEL); 21A: Give off (EMIT); 33A: Colorful aquarium fish (TETRA); 36A: "__ Only Have Love": Jacques Brel song (IF WE); 39A: Broadway event (SHOW); 40A: Bloom with sword-shaped leaves (GLADIOLA); 42A: With a single voice (AS ONE); 46A: Onetime Leno announcer Hall (EDD); 47A: The "A" in "CAT scan" (AXIAL); 48A: Philbin's sidekick (RIPA); 60A: Harold of "Ghostbusters" (RAMIS); 61A: Gigantic (HUGE); 62A: Storybook monster (OGRE); 63A: Standing upright (ERECT); 64A: "Yeah, sure!" ("I BET!"); 65A: Steno's need (PAD); 66A: Sausage servings (LINKS); 1D: Night twinkler (STAR); 2D: Half of Mork's signoff (NANU); 5D: Catch-22 (DILEMMA); 6D: Univ. military org. (ROTC); 7D: Barber's concern (HAIR); 8D: Conductor Klemperer (OTTO); 9D: Suspected Soviet spy of the McCarthy era (ALGER HISS); 10D: __ constrictor (BOA); 11D: TV forensic drama (CSI); 12D: Obama, before he became pres. (SEN.); 14D: Blended ice cream drinks (MALTS); 18D: Inundated (AWASH); 20D: Lucy of "Kill Bill" (LIU); 23D: Do a smith's job (RESHOE); 25D: Lost speed (SLOWED); 26D: Scarlet letter, e.g. (STIGMA); 30D: Bit of mudslinging (SMEAR); 31D: Water, in Cannes (EAU); 32D: Watch display, for short (LCD); 34D: It's rolled out for celebs (RED CARPET); 37D: "The Raven" writer (POE); 38D: Utah's capital: Abbr. (SLC); 41D: Like bks. with pictures (ILLUS.); 42D: Clothes (APPAREL); 44D: Rugged ridge (ARETE); 45D: Speaker's amplifying aid, briefly (MIC); 51D: Boutique (SHOP); 52D: Old Roman attire (TOGA); 53D: British title (LORD); 55D: Moisten, as a stamp (LICK); 56D: Body shop nos. (ESTS.); 57D: Cubs, on scoreboards (CHI); 58D: Massage (RUB); 59D: Get older (AGE).