THEME: SHOOTING STARS (55A: Meteors, and what 20-, 28- and 48-Across all are) — theme answers are people known for their various SHOOTING skills.
An adequate puzzle. Didn't ROCK (60D: Heavy metal is a subgenre of it). Didn't suck. MOSES MALONE is an entirely arbitrary example of a SHOOTING STAR in basketball. He scored a lot, but he never won a scoring title, and was at least as well known for his rebounding. GEORGE MIKAN, BERNARD KING, and (most obvious of all) LEBRON JAMES all won scoring titles and would all have made more more appropriate 11-letter answers here (LEBRON being the obvious choice for a Monday). Other issues: I don't play golf, so the clue on TEE TIME felt clunky to me (43D: Line on a golf course schedule). And AGNEWS (49D: Former V.P. Spiro and family)? If there is only one famous person with a particular name, then don't try to pass off the name as a viable plural. Ugh. Lastly, I've never seen STEP-IN either in the singular, or used to refer to anything other than women's undergarmnets (in the plural). [Intervene] would have been a much better clue there. Still, second-fastest LAT of the year for me.
- 20A: Pool legend portrayed by Jackie Gleason in "The Hustler" (MINNESOTA FATS)
- 28A: NBA center who was a three-time MVP (MOSES MALONE)
- 48A: Wild West show markswoman (ANNIE OAKLEY)
Crosswordese 101: ODEONS (8D: Old music halls) — not usually seen in this plural form. ODEON (sing.) usually gets ODEA as a plural — actually, after looking it up in my actual, enormous, Webster's 3rd Int'l dictionary, I see that "ODEUM" is the preferred spelling there, a Latin word derived from the the Gr. Oideion (now ODEON). So there are two singulars — ODEUM (L.) and ODEON (Gr.) — each with its own plural — ODEA and ODEONS. With their substantial vowel quotient, the ODEON family are crossword regulars — the initial go-to answer for any kind of "theater" clue.
- 35D: Feng ___: Chinese aesthetic system (SHUI) — kind of surprised I don't see this more often, given its obvious use-value as an alternative to ETUI in many constructing situations.
- 3D: Arizonan's neighbor (NEW MEXICAN) — always find state inhabitant nouns clunky. OK, not always — "New Yorker" and "Californian" sound great. but "Utah(a)n" and "Michigander" and the like, ugh. In this case, NEW MEXICAN sounds like someone who just emigrated south-of-the-border.
- 57D: Algerian port (ORAN) — former Crosswordese 101 word. I put in OMAN instinctively ... but OMAN is a country, not a "port."
- 65D: Blowup letters? (TNT) — I had "ENL."
That's all. See you Friday.
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Everything Else — 1A: Grandmotherly nickname (NANA); 5A: Hershey's caramel candy (ROLO); 9A: John who married Pocahontas (ROLFE); 14A: The yoke's on them (OXEN); 15A: In the sack (ABED); 16A: Sci-fi staple (ALIEN); 17A: Small salamander (NEWT); 18A: Therapist's response (I SEE); 19A: Domesticated (TAMED); 20A: Pool legend portrayed by Jackie Gleason in "The Hustler" (MINNESOTA FATS); 23A: 1860s White House nickname (ABE); 25A: Midsection muscles, briefly (ABS); 26A: Pecan or cashew (NUT); 27A: Mingle at the party (MIX); 28A: NBA center who was a three-time MVP (MOSES MALONE); 34A: Big name in elevators (OTIS); 36A: Spider's creation (WEB); 37A: Shoe without laces, e.g. (STEP-IN); 38A: Emulate Rembrandt (ETCH); 39A: Holliday of the Old West (DOC); 41A: Lady's man (GENT); 42A: It's in the eye of the beholder (BEAUTY); 45A: Caveman Alley (OOP); 47A: Top draft status (ONE-A); 48A: Wild West show markswoman (ANNIE OAKLEY); 51A: __ Lanka (SRI); 52A: Food from a shell (EGG); 53A: Female sheep (EWE); 54A: Immigrant's subj. (ESL); 55A: Meteors, and what 20-, 28- and 48-Across all are (SHOOTING STARS); 61A: Dog from Wales (CORGI); 62A: Supermodel Macpherson (ELLE); 63A: Hops drier (OAST); 66A: Fire station signal (ALARM); 67A: Age, as tires (WEAR); 68A: "__, be a pal!" (C'MON); 69A: Actress Zellweger (RENEE); 70A: Stitches (SEWS); 71A: Mild-mannered Clark (KENT); 1D: Oui's opposite (NON); 2D: Gave the __: fired (AXE); 3D: Arizonan's neighbor (NEW MEXICAN); 4D: Naysayer (ANTI); 5D: Word with trout or sherbet (RAINBOW); 6D: Fixated (OBSESSED); 7D: Majors and Trevino (LEES); 8D: Old music halls (ODEONS); 9D: Sound from a woodpecker (RAT-A-TAT); 10D: Name of several Norwegian kings (OLAF); 11D: Peru's capital (LIMA); 12D: Tootsies (FEET); 13D: Conclusions (ENDS); 21D: War site during LBJ's presidency (NAM); 22D: Antacid brand (TUMS); 23D: One-celled organism (AMOEBA); 24D: Attacked by Dracula, say (BITTEN); 29D: Novel on the Net (EBOOK); 30D: Kid's interlocking block (LEGO); 31D: Ali Baba's magical command (OPEN SESAME); 32D: California NFL team, briefly (NINERS); 33D: Involve (ENTAIL); 35D: Feng __: Chinese aesthetic system (SHUI); 40D: Picnic side (COLE SLAW); 43D: Line on a golf course schedule (TEE TIME); 44D: Hindu mystic (YOGI); 46D: Tin alloys (PEWTERS); 49D: Former V.P. Spiro and family (AGNEWS); 50D: Affirmative vote (YEA); 55D: Al Capone feature (SCAR); 56D: Sock darner's target (HOLE); 57D: Algerian port (ORAN); 58D: Giant who's not jolly (OGRE); 59D: Joy (GLEE); 60D: Heavy metal is a subgenre of it (ROCK); 64D: Leif, to Eric the Red (SON); 65D: Blowup letters? (TNT).