THEME: No theme today—It's a themeless puzzle
Eh, I don't love puzzles whose corners are filled with 7-letter answers. There are some good ones in there, 'tis true, but there are also such answers as FOLIATE, TEARIER, ARRANGE, and EROSION that are just kinda there.
On the plus side, the puzzle was tougher than most L.A. Times crosswords, and hit around a Friday NYT level. Not this Friday's NYT, but the standard Friday NYT difficulty (4:22 for me).
The high spots:
- 1A: To [Google oneself] is to EGO SURF.
- 16A: [Scale used in summer weather forecasts] is the UV INDEX. I'm heading to Florida for spring break, and I believe the UV index may figure into things despite it not yet being summer.
- 24A: The late JFK, JR. is the [Only non-actor ever chosen as People's Sexiest Man Alive, familiarly]. Plenty of non-actors (e.g., a meteorologist for the Weather Channel) make it into the Sexiest Man issue, just not onto the cover for the official title.
- 32A: [Dagwood's boss] is MR. DITHERS. Anyone else try to put BUMSTEAD in there, forgetting that it's Dagwood's surname? I remembered that the boss was married to Cora long before I could extract his last name.
- 43A: [Extemporized] means ad-libbed or WINGED IT.
- 61A: [Pack rat] clues HOARDER. I haven't seen that Hoarders show on TV yet, but my mother's been watching it. She takes comfort in the fact that the people on the show are a half a notch worse than her. "She kept broken shards of a plastic hanger because she thought someone else might use them in a craft project! I would never do that!" So says the woman with socks from the '80s and a collection of used Dunkin Donuts styrofoam cups and plastic lids.
- 1D: Good clue! A [Tip for an exam taker?] is the ERASER on the tip of a pencil. Oh, wait, I never even saw 51A with the same clue, only this time the answer is the NIB of a pen. Man, do I love cherry Nibs. They're awful, really, all sticky sugar and starch and dye, but I like Nibs better than any other sort of licorice.
- 2D: The GAG REEL is a [Common DVD bonus feature]. I have yet to see one that's actually hilarious.
- 6D: [Wrap again, with questionable etiquette] clues REGIFT. There's a fine line between sensible repurposing in a green fashion and unloading your crap on someone who won't want it any more than you do.
- 8D: [Enviable scholarships] are FULL RIDES. If you were the recipient of a full-ride college scholarship, tell me in the comments so I can ooh and aah.
- 38D: On Sesame Street, [Bert has one, but not Ernie]—a UNIBROW.
- 45D: Who doesn't love the ["Doonesbury" hippie] ZONKER? How did he manage to afford to be a sophomore for 13 years? Was he getting an endless full-ride scholarship or what?
Crosswordese 101: EEOis clued as [Want-ads fairness pledge: Abbr]. It stands for "equal employment opportunity." Guess what other answer gets similar clues? EOE, or "equal opportunity employer." So when you see a clue for a 3-letter abbreviation having to do with hiring or help-wanted ads, you know the first letter is E but have to lean on the crossings to know if it'll be EEO or EOE.
Everything Else — 1A: Google oneself (EGO SURF); 8A: Produce greenery (FOLIATE); 15A: Exceeded, as a time limit (RAN OVER); 16A: Scale used in summer weather forecasts (UV INDEX); 17A: Way back when (AGES AGO); 18A: Researcher's garb (LAB COAT); 19A: Mlle. counterpart (SRTA.); 20A: Card game declaration (I CALL); 22A: Start to dominate? (PRE-); 23A: Want-ads fairness pledge: Abbr. (EEO); 24A: Only non-actor ever chosen as People's Sexiest Man Alive, familiarly (JFK, JR.); 25A: Like some kitchens (EAT-IN); 27A: Apology element (REGRET); 29A: Cockpit reading (AIR SPEED); 31A: MGM co-founder (LOEW); 32A: Dagwood's boss (MR. DITHERS); 33A: "Star Trek" (2009) villain (NERO); 35A: Case for notions (ÉTUI); 36A: Life partners (TRUE LOVES); 40A: Chimes in (ADDS); 43A: Extemporized (WINGED IT); 44A: Faux (ERSATZ); 46A: Crawling with creepers (IVIED); 47A: In advance (EARLY); 49A: Dude (BRO); 50A: Tip for an exam taker? (NIB); 51A: Key of Mahler's "Symphony of a Thousand" (E FLAT); 52A: "Kisses Sweeter __ Wine": Jimmie Rodgers hit (THAN); 53A: Italian pistol (BERETTA); 56A: Database with openings (JOB BANK); 58A: Deforestation concern (EROSION); 59A: Orchestrate (ARRANGE); 60A: "__ Creek," TV series that launched Katie Holmes's career (DAWSON'S); 61A: Pack rat (HOARDER); 1D: Tip for an exam taker? (ERASER); 2D: Common DVD bonus feature (GAG REEL); 3D: Pizzeria shout (ONE TO GO); 4D: Cubs' all-time home run leader (SOSA); 5D: The Cavaliers of the ACC (UVA); 6D: Wrap again, with questionable etiquette (REGIFT); 7D: Monastic attire (FROCK); 8D: Enviable scholarships (FULL RIDES); 9D: Many a racetrack (OVAL); 10D: Empowerment word (LIB); 11D: Entrepreneurial monthly (INC.); 12D: Anne of Green Gables, for one (ADOPTEE); 13D: Less stoic (TEARIER); 14D: Stretches (EXTENDS); 21D: Slightly cracked (AJAR); 24D: Like FabergÈ eggs (JEWELED); 25D: Puget Sound, e.g. (ESTUARY); 26D: Rose garden bane (APHIDS); 28D: Back out (RENEGE); 30D: Slowing, in mus. (RIT.); 32D: Oscar night devotees (MOVIE FANS); 34D: Poet McKuen (ROD); 36D: Half a sleeping pair (TWIN BED); 37D: Mediterranean hot spot (RIVIERA); 38D: Bert has one, but not Ernie (UNIBROW); 39D: "Too many more to mention" abbr. (ET AL.); 41D: Expert (DAB HAND); 42D: Idiosyncratic (STRANGE); 44D: Banderillero's foe (EL TORO); 45D: "Doonesbury" hippie (ZONKER); 48D: Indian royal (RAJAH); 51D: Hugh Laurie's alma mater (ETON); 52D: Vanishing slope sight (T-BAR); 54D: Three dots, to Morse (ESS); 55D: Familia member (TIO); 57D: Top at the shore (BRA).