THEME: IDES OF MARCH (56A: Today, to Caesar — and a hint to the hidden word appearing in this puzzle 15 times (including this one))
I like everything about this puzzle except one thing — IDE is not a word. Hang on ... I take that back. According to Webster's 3rd Int'l Dictionary, IDE is "a European freshwater cyprinid food fish." The dictionary also says that IDE is "one of the IDES," but IDES, though apparently plural in construction, is singular in usage. That's why the expression is not the IDE OF MARCH. I didn't notice the theme when I was solving, and when I finally did see it, after I was done, I went looking for fifteen instances of IDES! "But ... HIDE AND SEEK just has 'IDE' ... that can't be right." So, trying to pass "IDE" off as a "word," boo. Other than that, though, yay. A timely theme that not only gets you into a game of HIDE AND SEEK, but involves as many hidden "words" (15) as there are days represented by that word. That makes the construction much more impressive than it would have been otherwise, even if, as I said, I didn't notice this feat At All while I was solving.
Thought I was headed to a record time, but apparently my hesitation at 41D: Dr. Denton's, e.g. (PAJAMAS) cost me. These PAJAMAS are known to me only from crosswords. I have no idea what they are, when they were popular, etc. What I know is that I thought the clue was asking for a shoe insert. Further, I wrote in WHEW before I ever saw the clue for POLAR CAP (50A: Icy formation at either extremity of the Earth's axis), so had puzzled over what kind of "icy formation" might end in "W" ... but WHEW was supposed to be PHEW (54D: Relieved cry). Also wrote in PHIS for PSIS (50D: Trident-shaped letters). All this was enough to push me back to normal Monday time (low 3s).
- 16A: Kids' game with an "it" (HIDE AND SEEK)
- 10D: Wedding party member (BRIDESMAID)
- 26D: Like most modern TVs, picturewise (WIDESCREEN)
... and 12 others
Crosswordese 101: ROLF (44D: Massage deeply) — while not nearly as common as your ERN(E)S and your EPEES, ROLF is a persistent repeater, and often stymies people who have never heard of it before. It's like that guy's name ... only without the final "E." ("That guy" is John ROLFE ... I had to Google to remember what "guy" I was thinking of) It's also a nice approximation of a wretching, barfing sound. ROLFing was invented by Ida Pauline ROLF, and is trademarked. Hey, constructors: I got a new IDA clue for you.
See you Friday,
P.S. an announcement (one I'll make several more times in the coming month or so) — the Crosswords L.A. Tournament is coming up, Saturday, May 1, at Loyola-Marymount University, and I will be there. I don't know yet if I'm competing, or judging, or just eating sandwiches and watching, but I'll be there. It promises to be a fantastic, friendly tournament, one that is welcoming and open to people of *ALL* skill levels. There are categories for non-speedsters. There's even a TEAMS category that allows you to solve in pairs. It's cheap and it's for a good cause, so you should definitely go. Details here (there's also a link near the top of our sidebar). Go register now. Thanks.
Everything Else — 1A: Month with showers (APRIL); 6A: Auctioned auto, briefly (REPO); 10A: Journalist Nellie (BLY); 13A: Egypt's capital (CAIRO); 14A: Ancient Greek district (IONIA); 15A: Corned beef bread (RYE); 16A: Kids' game with an "it" (HIDE AND SEEK); 18A: Nest egg item, for short (IRA); 19A: Bridge supports (TRESTLES); 20A: Curving pitch (SLIDER); 22A: Garment bottom (HEM); 23A: Suffix with meth- or prop- (ANE); 24A: Alley competitor (BOWLER); 28A: Backyard play apparatus (SWING SET); 33A: Like some college walls (IVIED); 34A: Employed (HIRED); 35A: Caesar's 1,051 (MLI); 36A: Author André (GIDE); 37A: Fall apple drink (CIDER); 38A: Pass's opposite (FAIL); 39A: Single (ONE); 40A: City on the Ruhr (ESSEN); 41A: Group of lions (PRIDE); 42A: Nuclear treaty subjects (TEST BANS); 44A: 9-Down footballer (RAIDER); 45A: Corn discard (COB); 46A: The Atty. General is head of it (DOJ); 47A: Low-level clouds (STRATI); 50A: Icy formation at either extremity of the Earth's axis (POLAR CAP); 55A: Peeper (EYE); 56A: Today, to Caesaróand a hint to the hidden word appearing in this puzzle 15 times (including the one in this answer) (IDES OF MARCH); 58A: Classic Jaguar model (XKE); 59A: Jeans material (DENIM); 60A: "What's in __?": Juliet (A NAME); 61A: Japanese money (YEN); 62A: Has a sandwich (EATS); 63A: Brawn (SINEW); 1D: Eight, in Berlin (ACHT); 2D: Twosome (PAIR); 3D: Bike outing (RIDE); 4D: Enrages (IRES); 5D: Despised (LOATHED); 6D: Perot of politics (ROSS); 7D: Denver-to-Chicago dir. (ENE); 8D: Crusty desserts (PIES); 9D: San Francisco Bay city (OAKLAND); 10D: Wedding party member (BRIDESMAID); 11D: Old Greek stringed instrument (LYRE); 12D: 365 days (YEAR); 14D: As above, in footnotes (IDEM); 17D: Met, Nat or Card (NLER); 21D: Beethoven's "Minuet __" (IN G); 24D: Archie Bunker type (BIGOT); 25D: Like lambs and rams (OVINE); 26D: Like most modern TVs, picturewise (WIDE-SCREEN); 27D: Reb general (LEE); 28D: Square's four (SIDES); 29D: Birdhouse songbird (WREN); 30D: Suffix with bombard (-IER); 31D: Drop in pronunciation (ELIDE); 32D: Flooring specialist (TILER); 34D: Yokel's possessive (HIS'N); 37D: 27-Down's org. (CSA); 38D: End of most work wks. (FRI.); 40D: Oceanic reflux (EBB TIDE); 41D: Dr. Denton's, e.g. (PAJAMAS); 43D: Ode title starter (TO A); 44D: Massage deeply (ROLF); 46D: Dire fate (DOOM); 47D: Like a sheer negligee (SEXY); 48D: Small child (TYKE); 49D: What's on your mind (IDEA); 50D: Trident-shaped letters (PSIS); 51D: Hindu princess (RANI); 52D: Prefix with apple (CRAN-); 53D: Summit (ACME); 54D: Relieved cry (PHEW); 57D: Tolkien tree creature (ENT).