Theme: "Love Is All Around" — Theme answers are phrases that begin with the letters LO and end with the letters VE.
- 17A: *"Get going!" ("LOOK ALIVE!").
- 24A: *1986 Pulitzer-winning Western novel (LONESOME DOVE).
- 53A: *Gunpowder, e.g. (LOW EXPLOSIVE).
- 65A: *Duffer's thrill (LONG DRIVE).
- 38A: 1968 Troggs Top 10 hit, and a hint to the hidden puzzle theme in the answers to starred clues (LOVE IS ALL AROUND).
I liked seeing SWELTER (28A: Feel the heat) and PHENOM (8D: Rising star) in the grid. And it seemed like there were plenty of perfectly-Thursday-pitched clues, such as 4D: Stevenson physician (JEKYLL).
Let's get on with it:
- 1A: Holy pilgrimage (HADJ). Even if you know the answer, you have to check the crosses, because sometimes it's spelled HAJJ.
- 5A: Kids' getaway (CAMP). I wish there was some sort of camp I could send the kids to tomorrow. After five days of being snowed in, PuzzleHusband and I were actually fighting tonight about who gets to go to work tomorrow. Unfortunately, it kinda looks like we won't even be able to get out of the driveway, much less to either one of our offices.
- 50A: Serious-and-funny show (DRAMEDY). I like this made-up word. I first heard it back when I was following the brilliant (and short-lived) Aaron Sorkin show, "Sports Night."
- 71A: __ and all (WARTS). Entered still at first.
- 1D: Bridge position (HELM). Wanted east really bad here. That would be a different kind of bridge though.
- 27D: Islamic leader (EMIR). Tried imam here.
- 28D: __ soda (SAL). I have no idea what this means.
- 30D: Place for Christmas lights (EAVE). Tried tree.
- 34D: Tee choices (XLS). Me: "There are different kinds of golf tees? That can be described with two letters?"
- 51D: Fired up (AVID).
- 60D: Foal's parent (SIRE). Could just as easily have been mare — had to check the crosses.
- 66D: Feature of a two-ltr. monogram (NMI). No Middle Initial.
Everything Else — 9A: "Gimme a break!" ("AW MAN!"); 14A: Nobelist Wiesel (ELIE); 15A: "This looks like trouble" ("UH-OH"); 16A: Leonard Marx, familiarly (CHICO); 19A: Peyotes, e.g. (CACTI); 20A: She played Donna in the film "Mamma Mia!" (MERYL); 21A: Sinus specialist, briefly (ENT); 31A: Food critic Sheraton (MIMI); 32A: "Bingo!" ("AHA!"); 33A: X-Games bike, briefly (BMX); 35A: Run at a red light? (IDLE); 44A: Jeans joint (SEAM); 45A: Yield to gravity (SAG); 46A: Sportage maker (KIA); 47A: Fresh response (SASS); 57A: They're not returned (ACES); 58A: Bosox great (YAZ); 59A: Comforting comment (IT'S OK); 63A: Parts partner (LABOR); 68A: Native Alaskan (ALEUT); 69A: Treater's words (ON ME); 70A: Persian Gulf land (IRAN); 72A: Prime minister before Rabin (MEIR); 73A: Ancient British Isles settler (CELT); 2D: Burn balm (ALOE); 3D: Fashionable Christian (DIOR); 5D: __-de-sac (CUL); 6D: Yellowfin tuna (AHI); 7D: Changes places (MOVES); 9D: N.C. State's conference (ACC); 10D: "Who, me?" ("WHAT'D I DO?"); 11D: Tiny (MICRO); 12D: When Brutus sees Caesar's ghost (ACT IV); 13D: Hullabaloo (NOISE); 18D: Big-time (A LOT); 22D: "I didn't need to know that," informally (TMI); 25D: Birds' bills (NEBS); 26D: Humorist Bombeck (ERMA); 29D: Grinch victims (WHOS); 36D: Gospel writer (LUKE); 37D: Camelot lady (ENID); 39D: Removes gently (EASES OUT); 40D: Eye-opening theater (IMAX); 41D: Fellows (LADS); 42D: Rural prefix (AGRI-); 43D: Beatles' "A __ in the Life" (DAY); 48D: Security threat (SPY); 49D: Course for weavers? (SLALOM); 52D: Like some weights (METRIC); 53D: Bochco series (L.A. LAW); 54D: City NW of Orlando (OCALA); 55D: Brand on a patio, maybe (WEBER); 56D: Hole site (OZONE); 61D: Rink, often (OVAL); 62D: Canterbury's county (KENT); 64D: Some NFL linemen (RTS); 67D: Neighbor of Aus. (GER.).