THEME: No theme today—It's a themeless/freestyle puzzle
I don't have a good sense of how this puzzle's difficulty compares to the usual Saturday L.A. Times rigor—I was doing it on paper, out of the house, while engaged in conversation. I didn't really love it—I'm a big fan of ME TIME—47D: [Period of self-indulgence]—but the rest of the fill was just sort of there.
Bits and pieces:
- 1A: [Blended condiment] (GARLIC SALT). Yes, salt is a condiment, according to the dictionary. "Blended condiment" makes me think of my husband's various blends of mayo and ketchup or mayo and barbecue sauce.
- 15A: [She received a Best Actress nomination for "A Man and a Woman"] (ANOUK AIMEE). She's one of those film legends of crosswordese, along with Pola Negri and Nita Naldi.
- Military honors trivia: 17A: [2005 award for Leigh Ann Hester, the first woman to win it since WWII] (SILVER STAR).
- We don't really like to see two answers including the same word unless it's a teeny little preposition like ON or an article. Here we get 20A: [Blind dates, e.g.] (SET-UPS) and 51D: [Not likely to be talked out of] (SET ON).
- 29A: [Bushmiller who created the comic "Nancy"] (ERNIE). My kid's teacher this year is named Ernie.
- 32A: [Finns' neighbors] (RUSSIANS). Both nations are represented in the Winter Olympics.
- 49A: [Parts of feet] (LITTLE TOES). I am not posting a photo for this answer. (You're welcome.)
- Odd jobs! We have our SERENADERS (63A: [Wooers, perhaps]) and our TOOTLER (40D: [Flautist]) and a SNOOZER (43D: [Slumber party?]). There's also a passel of TESTERS, but that is not an odd job, that's an actual job. They can be 44D: [R&D employees] or software testers like my husband.
- 3D: [Arrives at last] (ROLLS IN) is terrific. The person who ROLLS IN is tardy and just doesn't give a damn.
- I can't say I am so familiar with the term EDITORIAL WE (11D: [Opinion page perspective]). I'll bet newspaper folks know it much better than I do.
- 13D: [Old rubber?] (SCUMBAG). No, wait! That's a terrible joke. It's ALADDIN, who supposedly rubbed a lamp ages ago. Remember the time Will Shortz ran an NYT crossword with SCUMBAG in the fill? Most of us were fine with the word, but a certain subset (mostly men in their 60s, it seems) were aghast because back in their day, that word meant, um, an old rubber. Who knew? Crosswords sure are educational!
- 23D: Disneyland's Matterhorn, once (E TICKET RIDE). Did Disney World ever do the E ticket thing, or was it always an equal-opportunity wait-in-long-lines sort of place?
- 39D: [McCartney hit about his relatives] (LET 'EM IN):
Crosswordese 101: Ah, classic crosswordese! You know (but probably do not love) your [Jai ___]/ALAI from crosswords, but do you know the sport's terminology? It's played in a place called a fronton, the ball is called a pelota, and the wicker basket used to catch and throw the pelota is a cesta. So 25D: [Fronton gear], 6 letters? Could be PELOTA, but this time it's CESTAS. Jai alai is not an Olympic sport.
See you Wednesday. By then, I hope you will have forgiven me for posting this video to accompany 37A: [Bikini feature in a 1960 hit] (POLKA DOT):
Everything Else — 1A: Blended condiment (GARLIC SALT); 11A: Tricked twin (ESAU); 15A: She received a Best Actress nomination for "A Man and a Woman" (ANOUK AIMEE); 16A: Not sharp (DULL); 17A: 2005 award for Leigh Ann Hester, the first woman to win it since WWII (SILVER STAR); 18A: "My word!" ("I SAY!"); 19A: Corner piece (ELL); 20A: Blind dates, e.g. (SET-UPS); 21A: Youngsters (TADS); 22A: Auvers-sur-__, where van Gogh spent his final days (OISE); 24A: Prompter's cue (TEN SECONDS); 26A: Common front (UNITY); 28A: Royale or Flying Cloud (REO); 29A: Bushmiller who created the comic "Nancy" (ERNIE); 30A: Campus big shot, often (SENIOR); 32A: Finns' neighbors (RUSSIANS); 34A: Take into custody, in a way (CUFF); 36A: "Toodles!" ("TA-TA!"); 37A: Bikini feature in a 1960 hit (POLKA DOT); 41A: NASDAQ neighborhood (WALL ST.); 45A: Dizzy (AREEL); 46A: Napoléon or Yves, e.g. (NOM); 48A: Despicable sort (SWINE); 49A: Parts of feet (LITTLE TOES); 52A: Deal busters, at times (EGOS); 53A: New __ (AGER); 54A: Magic 8 Ball maker (MATTEL); 56A: "Joking!" ("NOT!"); 57A: Author Hoag (TAMI); 58A: Provide armed forces for (MILITARIZE); 60A: Enclosed in (AMID); 61A: Weather station gadget (ANEMOMETER); 62A: Related business products (LINE); 63A: Wooers, perhaps (SERENADERS); 1D: Like neon (GASEOUS); 2D: Polyurethane compound (ANILINE); 3D: Arrives at last (ROLLS IN); 4D: Word on a candy heart (LUV); 5D: Turner and others (IKES); 6D: Proofreader's mark (CARET); 7D: Moon Unit, to Dweezil (SISTER); 8D: Radio part (AM TUNER); 9D: Is dramatically revealed to, with "at" (LEAPS OUT); 10D: To the point (TERSE); 11D: Opinion page perspective (EDITORIAL WE); 12D: Foster title girl (SUSANNA); 13D: Old rubber? (ALADDIN); 14D: Rutherford's predecessor (ULYSSES); 23D: Disneyland's Matterhorn, once (E TICKET RIDE); 25D: Fronton gear (CESTAS); 27D: Southern address (YOU ALL); 31D: Rural mail letters (RFD); 33D: Took in (SAW); 35D: "Suspicion" Oscar winner, 1941 (FONTAINE); 37D: Like some consonants, as the nasal "n" (PALATAL); 38D: Art that requires a folder (ORIGAMI); 39D: McCartney hit about his relatives (LET 'EM IN); 40D: Flautist (TOOTLER); 42D: Soft coal (LIGNITE); 43D: Slumber party? (SNOOZER); 44D: R&D employees (TESTERS); 47D: Period of self-indulgence (ME TIME); 50D: Samms and Lazarus (EMMAS); 51D: Not likely to be talked out of (SET ON); 55D: High holy man? (LAMA); 59D: Elmo's color (RED).