THEME: POKER (69A: Texas Hold 'em, e.g., and a hint to this puzzle's theme) — two-word phrases that start with POKER-related "-ING" words
Not sure about this -ING business. You open, call, raise, and fold. Maybe (likely) this theme has been done before — perhaps multiple times. Maybe the -ING business is supposed to add something new. All in all, kind of boring, and the construction of the grid sets up a disastrous SW corner word: PIVOTER!? (44D: One doing a pirouette, e.g.). With the "I," "O," and "R" immovable, you're kind of trapped down there, construction-wise, though that should have been the FIRST word entered into the grid after the theme answers were laid out. PIVOTER is an especially odd Odd Job when you've already got ELOPER :( in the NW corner (2D: Romeo or Juliet). And what is up with the abbrev. "cust."!? That's accepted for "customer?" "Ugly" is the best thing I can say about that (46D: Brokerage cust.). Wish SCENE I had been tied into "Romeo and Juliet" (4D: First part of an act).
- 20A: Broadway premiere (OPENING NIGHT)
- 28A: Making lots of noise (RAISING A RUCKUS)
- 47A: Start of a wide-area police radio alert (CALLING ALL CARS)
- 57A: Seating for extra guests, maybe (FOLDING TABLE) — wish that this, like the others, had been utterly non-POKER in context. People play POKER on FOLDING TABLEs all the time.
Crosswordese 101: ILIA (58D: Hip bones) — plural of ILIUM, the "the uppermost and largest bone of the pelvis" (wikipedia). ILIA is also the first name of Olympic figure skating gold medalist ILIA Kulik, whose name seems to be popping up in a lot of my puzzles lately. That could just be a fluke.
Loved HASH OUT (9D: Discuss thoroughly). Liked REBOOT (51D: Start again, as after a computer system crash). Boo and hiss at INST., since "INSTitute" is what the "I" in MIT stands for (21D: MIT, for one: Abbr.). I had UNIV. MIL is a unit of measurement I don't see often (40D: Wire diameter measure). TADS is a ridiculous and likely dated word for [Boys] — especially annoying, since it's just one letter off from the much more appropriate / in-the-language LADS. No such thing as a GADGEL, though (49D: Thingamajig).
See you Friday,
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Everything Else — 1A: Cribbage pieces (PEGS); 5A: Shaving gel alternative (FOAM); 9A: More than disliked (HATED); 14A: Power co. product (ELEC.); 15A: "Tickle me" doll (ELMO); 16A: Texas mission to remember (ALAMO); 17A: Volcano feature (CONE); 18A: Equestrian's control (REIN); 19A: Organizes alphabetically, say (SORTS); 20A: Broadway premiere (OPENING NIGHT); 23A: __-card stud (SEVEN); 24A: Corp. honcho (CEO); 25A: Natural spring (SPA); 28A: Making lots of noise (RAISING A RUCKUS); 33A: Genealogist's chart (TREE); 34A: No-treat consequence? (TRICK); 35A: Speech impediment (LISP); 39A: Arises (from) (STEMS); 42A: Till bills (ONES); 43A: Like draft beer (ON TAP); 45A: 1492 Atlantic crosser (NINA); 47A: Start of a wide-area police radio alert (CALLING ALL CARS); 53A: Artist Yoko (ONO); 54A: By way of (VIA); 55A: Athletic shoe's turf grabber (CLEAT); 57A: Seating for extra guests, maybe (FOLDING TABLE); 61A: Yell (SHOUT); 64A: __ club: singing group (GLEE); 65A: Decisive victory (ROUT); 66A: Lower in esteem (ABASE); 67A: Name on many Irish coins (EIRE); 68A: Far Eastern detective played by Lorre (MOTO); 69A: Texas Hold 'em, e.g., and a hint to this puzzle's theme (POKER); 70A: Boys (TADS); 71A: British weapon of WWII (STEN); 1D: __ Bill: legendary cowboy (PECOS); 2D: Romeo or Juliet, marriagewise (ELOPER); 3D: Swiss city on the Rhone (GENEVA); 4D: First part of an act (SCENE I); 5D: Plant with fronds (FERN); 6D: Designer Cassini (OLEG); 7D: Ugandan dictator (AMIN); 8D: Seles of tennis (MONICA); 9D: Discuss thoroughly (HASH OUT); 10D: Often (A LOT); 11D: La Brea stuff (TAR); 12D: CPR giver, often (EMT); 13D: Hair styles (DOS); 21D: MIT, for one: Abbr. (INST.); 22D: Berlin's land: Abbr. (GER.); 25D: Porous organ (SKIN); 26D: Brownish purple (PUCE); 27D: Inquires (ASKS); 29D: Tax-auditing org. (IRS); 30D: Keep after taxes (NET); 31D: Davis who played Thelma (GEENA); 32D: __-Magnon (CRO); 35D: Bonkers (LOCO); 36D: Words before instant or emergency (IN AN); 37D: WWII invasion city (ST.-LÔ); 38D: Good bud (PAL); 40D: Wire diameter measure (MIL); 41D: NBC weekend hit, briefly (SNL); 44D: One doing a pirouette, e.g. (PIVOTER); 46D: Brokerage cust. (ACCT.); 48D: It's nothing (NIL); 49D: Thingamajig (GADGET); 50D: Security devices (ALARMS); 51D: Start again, as after a computer system crash (REBOOT); 52D: Military greeting (SALUTE); 56D: Wyoming's __ Range (TETON); 57D: Firecracker cord (FUSE); 58D: Hip bones (ILIA); 59D: Socially inept type (NERD); 60D: Thousands, in a heist (GEES); 61D: Maple syrup base (SAP); 62D: "True Blood" network (HBO); 63D: Acorn's destiny (OAK).