Theme: I Got Nothin' — Theme answers are three different ways of describing writer's block.
- 20A: Suffering writer's block (COMING UP EMPTY).
- 36A: Suffering writer's block (FRESH OUT OF IDEAS).
- 54A: Suffering writer's block (DRAWING A BLANK).
Unfortunately, there's quite a bit of crosswordese in today's puzzle. What with the IBIS, Jack PAAR, Max ERNST, and ESSEN. But there are a couple snappy answers too. Like ARMY MULE (11D: Military mascot), TOPNOTCH (5D: Exceptional), GUSTO (21D: Enthusiasm), and EATS DIRT (38D: Admits an embarrassing error). I was going through the acrosses first without checking the downs and had a few bad first guesses. For 15A: It smells, I entered odor instead of the correct NOSE. 18A: Coke or Pepsi struck me as soda instead of COLA. And for ACTS UP (33A: Is bratty), I first entered sasses but saw my error when I got to one of the crosses — 29D: Get fresh with (SASS). Other than the theme, nothing particularly awesome and other than the crosswordese, nothing really horrible. Overall, an enjoyable, solid Tuesday.
The only other thing that stood out to me was SUPE (34D: Apartment house manager, slangily), and I think that's just because I immediately thought of this guy. So let's get on with the CW101 and call it a day.
Crosswordese 101: I'm a little bit too young to remember EZIO Pinza in his heyday, so all I know about him I've learned from puzzle clues: He was an Italian opera singer (a bass) who, after retiring from the Met, went on to a second career on Broadway. There, he played Emile in "South Pacific" (for which he was awarded a Tony) and Cesar in "Fanny." The important thing is to figure out how to distinguish him from ENZO Ferrari, the car company founder. Anyone have a mnemonic for that?
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Everything Else — 1A: Modify to fit (ADAPT); 6A: Nile bird (IBIS); 10A: Early late-night host Jack (PAAR); 14A: __-Bismol (PEPTO); 16A: Golden Fleece ship (ARGO); 17A: Devoured every bit of (ATE UP); 19A: "Peter Pan" pirate (SMEE); 23A: Color gradation (HUE); 24A: "Days of __ Lives" (OUR); 25A: One of the Musketeers (ARAMIS); 28A: Paintings by dadaist Max (ERNSTS); 30A: Really little (TINY); 32A: Sport __: family vehicle (UTE); 35A: "Do it, or __!" (ELSE); 41A: Open fields (LEAS); 42A: Modeling session activity (POSING); 43A: Frequently, to a poet (OFT); 44A: Docking spot (PIER); 46A: Black Sea resort (ODESSA); 50A: Offers from a genie (WISHES); 52A: Small bill (ONE); 53A: Favored student (PET); 58A: Pinza of "South Pacific" (EZIO); 60A: Space-saving abbr. (ET AL.); 61A: Many sculptures (TORSI); 62A: Parking lot fillers (CARS); 63A: Complexion problem (ACNE); 64A: Krupp Works city (ESSEN); 65A: Decides (OPTS); 66A: Letters after pi (RHOS); 67A: Color-coded Monopoly cards (DEEDS); 1D: Geronimo's tribe (APACHE); 2D: Route around the construction area (DETOUR); 3D: Ancestors in Darwin's theory (APEMEN); 4D: Spitter's sound (PTUI); 6D: Acquire, as liabilities (INCUR); 7D: Cartoon flapper Betty (BOOP); 8D: Maui, for one (ISLE); 9D: Sailor (SEAMAN); 10D: Carbo-loader's choice (PASTA); 12D: It goes before beauty, so they say (AGE); 13D: __ v. Wade: 1973 Supreme Court decision (ROE); 22D: Get too personal (PRY); 26D: "__ sin to tell ..." (IT'S A); 27D: Witnesses (SEES); 30D: Henry Higgins, to Eliza (TUTOR); 31D: NYSE debuts (IPOS); 35D: Periphery (EDGE); 36D: Go with the __ (FLOW); 37D: Strategy for reducing loan payments, briefly (REFI); 39D: "Shrek" ogress (FIONA); 40D: Obligated to repay a loan (INDEBTED); 44D: Split __ soup (PEA); 45D: "Cross my heart" ("I SWEAR"); 47D: Few and far between (SPARSE); 48D: Became vaguely aware of (SENSED); 49D: Diet guru who wouldn't have recommended 10-Down (ATKINS); 51D: Reform Party founder Perot (H. ROSS); 52D: Looks boldly at (OGLES); 55D: Rash symptom (ITCH); 56D: Prefix with second (NANO-); 57D: Get beaten (LOSE); 58D: Earth-friendly prefix (ECO-); 59D: Reheat, nowadays (ZAP).