Theme: Insurance Reform — First word of each theme answers is related to the insurance industry.
- 17A: Government declaration of its intentions (POLICY STATEMENT).
- 25A: Vietnam War defoliant (AGENT ORANGE).
- 43A: Gold Rush villain (CLAIM JUMPER).
- 55A: High-octane fuel (PREMIUM GASOLINE).
The puzzle. I blew right through this one. Pretty easy with lots of crosswordese. Theme is not particularly sparkly. I mean, when your first theme answer is POLICY STATEMENT? Yeah, zzzzzzzz. But there were some bright spots too. Anytime you get to recall "The GONG Show" is fun (10A: Interrupter of a bad act, on an old game show). ROXIE is an awesome name (32A: Velma's rival in "Chicago"). Unfortunately, there's a dog in our neighborhood named ROXIE, so now ROXIE will forever be a dog name to me. Hate when that happens. And … yeah, that's pretty much it for the sparkle.
- 14A: Word after horse or soap (OPERA). I don't know what a horse opera is. I'm sure I've heard the phrase before, but I got nothin'.
- 21A: Modest shelters (HUTS). Since we're already back in the 70s with "The Gong Show" we might as well reminisce about "Gilligan's Island" too. 36A: Pigs and hogs (SWINE).
- 42A: Betty Ford, __ Bloomer (NÉE). Me: "Betty Ford, Late Bloomer? That's an awfully strange nickname."
- 47A: Hearing requirements (EARS). Weird clue.
- 48A: Displaying buoyancy (AFLOAT).
- 6D: Congregation leader (PASTOR). Raise your hand if you entered priest off the P.
- 44D: Gold and silver (METALS). These days, of course, seems like the answer should be medals.
- 46D: Part of NOW (WOMEN). National Organization for Women.
- 23A: Variety of lily (SEGO).
- 29A: Speed Wagon maker (REO).
- 42A: Betty Ford, __ Bloomer (NÉE).
- 51A: Periodic table no. (AT. WT.).
- 61A: School on the Thames (ETON).
- 2D: Each (A POP).
- 4D: "Entourage" agent Gold (ARI).
- 8D: Mauna __ (LOA).
- 19D: One-named Deco designer (ERTÉ).
- 48D: Church recess (APSE).
- 51D: Culture medium (AGAR).