Theme: Turn, Turn, Turn — Theme answers have the letters STILE hidden in them, consecutively but not in the same order reach time.
- 17A: Mah-jongg pieces, e.g. (GAME TILES).
- 28A: Notable achievement (MILESTONE).
- 34A: Site of the Beatles' last commercial concert (CANDLESTICK PARK).
- 43A: Likely to spread disease (PESTILENT).
- 57A: Metro access, and a hint to the circled letters in 17-, 28-, 34- and 43-Across (TURNSTILE).
I'm one of those people who loves names from popular culture in their puzzles, so Paul LYNDE and REDD Foxx (64A: Funny Foxx) were fun to see. Even though Arthur ASHE is crosswordese (41A: "A Hard Road to Glory" author), he was such an awesome guy that I enjoy seeing him regularly. (Funny story about this clue. There's a book about high school wrestling in Iowa that came out a few years ago called "Four Days to Glory" — sort of a "Friday Night Lights" for wrestling — and whenever I see the Ashe book, I always think of the wrestling book and feel a jolt of surprise that the wrestling book made it into a puzzle. Which, of course, it didn't and never will. Along the same lines, I spent quite a bit of time at the ACPT trying to convince Peter Gordon of Dan Gable's crossworthiness and … didn't get very far.)
But it was the Ks, Qs and Zs I liked the most.
- 48A: Film in which Woody Allen voices Z (ANTZ). I either forgot or never knew he was even in that.
- 55A: Hose problems (KINKS). First entered snags. Wrong kind of hose, obviously. Oh yeah, you know what's coming.
- 59A: 1944 Italian beachhead (ANZIO). Huh?
- 11D: "Macbeth" ghost (BANQUO).
- 26D: Swab brand (Q-TIP). No other brand will do!
- 35D: Scatterbrain (DITZ). By the time I got down to this part of the puzzle, I had figured out there were lots of Zs in the grid, so this answer went straight in with no hesitation at all.
- 45D: Song section (STANZA).