Theme: Good Ol' What's-His-Name — Theme answers are real names of professional athletes clued by their nicknames.
- 20A: MAGIC (EARVIN JOHNSON).
- 26A: TIGER (ELDRICK WOODS).
- 46A: PRIME TIME (DEION SANDERS).
- 53A: YOGI (LAWRENCE BERRA).
With all that said, I still liked the puzzle. The awkwardness of the one theme entry didn't really detract from my solving experience. I didn't notice it until later and I only point it out because ... that's what we do here. We point stuff out. About crossword puzzles. We really don't care if people think we're big nerds.
But wait! There's more sports in the puzzle! And each of these six extra sports answers represents a different sport. I've gotta believe that's not coincidental.
- 41A: Palmer with his own "army" (ARNIE). Golf
- 58A: Nastase with a racket (ILIE). Tennis
- 47D: Unit with six outs (INNING). Baseball
- 49D: NFL replay feature (SLO-MO). Football
- 60D: Kareem, formerly (LEW). Basketball
- 14A: Like top-quality beef (PRIME). Oh, ouch. This word should not be in the grid. This is bad.
- 23A: Saint Francis's home (ASSISI). Can never remember where all the Ss go.
- 25A: Little Red Book follower (MAOIST). I thought the Little Red Book had something to do with Mao, but with the M in place, I entered Moonie. Totally different country and everything. Sheesh.
- 40A: Teen detective Nancy (DREW). I wrote my undergraduate honors thesis on Nancy Drew. It was called "The New Nancy Drew: But Can She Still Tap-Dance in Morse Code?"
- 52A: Bath sponge (LOOFAH).
- 5D: Letter opener? (DEAR SIR). I'm gonna guess that I would be completely horrified if I knew the extent to which people still opened their letters with DEAR SIR.
- 9D: City north of Indianapolis (KOKOMO). Not sure why the Beach Boys are singing a song about Indiana ....
- 28D: "Witchy __": Eagles hit (WOMAN). Oh yeah.
Everything Else — 1A: Somewhat warm (TEPID); 6A: Polio vaccine developer (SALK); 10A: Wheel edges (RIMS); 15A: Prefix with logical (IDEO-); 16A: Jacques's state (ÉTAT); 17A: Phi Beta __ (KAPPA); 18A: Earth inheritors, with "the" (MEEK); 19A: Water barrier (DIKE); 30A: Madre's brother (TIO); 31A: Silky synthetic (RAYON); 32A: Volkswagen sedan (JETTA); 36A: Stuff of headlines (NEWS); 38A: Cooking apples (ROMES); 43A: Stories (TALES); 45A: Hagen of Broadway (UTA); 49A: Glossy cotton fabric (SATEEN); 52A: Bath sponge (LOOFAH); 57A: Akron's state (OHIO); 59A: Tells really badly, as a joke (KILLS); 62A: Suvari of "American Pie" (MENA); 63A: Society oddball (NERD); 64A: And the following, in bibliographies: Abbr. (ET SEQ.); 65A: Pigged out (on), as junk food (OD'ED); 66A: Takes one's turn (GOES); 67A: Cinema chain (LOEWS); 1D: Rd. often spanning an entire state (TPK.); 2D: Historical span (ERA); 3D: Shuts up (PIPES DOWN); 4D: Damage (IMPAIR); 6D: California's __ Valley (SIMI); 7D: Yemen's Gulf of __ (ADEN); 8D: Actor Cobb (LEE J.); 10D: Like Rudolph (RED-NOSED); 11D: "Who's calling?" response (IT IS I); 12D: Strong sharks (MAKOS); 13D: Surgical tube (STENT); 21D: Goldsmith's Wakefield clergyman (VICAR); 22D: Trip to Mecca (HADJ); 23D: Health insurance giant (AETNA); 24D: More devious (SLIER); 27D: Former Japanese capital (KYOTO); 29D: Law school beginners (ONE-LS); 33D: Test type with only two possible answers (TRUE/FALSE); 34D: Aquarium fish (TETRA); 35D: Covered with water (AWASH); 37D: Hardly a main drag (SIDE ROAD); 39D: Black Panthers co-founder (SEALE); 42D: Very wide shoe (EEEE); 44D: Coral reef explorer's device (SNORKEL); 48D: Frito-Lay chip (DORITO); 50D: Responded to a massage (AAHED); 51D: Strong string (TWINE); 54D: Egyptian played by Liz (CLEO); 55D: Green land (EIRE); 56D: Dream worlds? (BEDS); 61D: Four-sided figs. (SQS.).