THEME: No theme today—It's a themeless puzzle
Interesting grid, isn't it? It's got an extra level of symmetry—turn it 90°, 180°, or 270° and the black squares form the same pattern. Usually crosswords just have 180° rotational symmetry. Each quadrant has a pair of 10s that crosses an 8/10/7 stack, and those 8/10/7 bundles criss-cross each other in the middle of the grid.
The puzzle took me 4:35 to solve, so it's on the tougher end of the Saturday L.A. Times spectrum. My only real trouble spot was a misfire at 37A: I answered [Goes ballistic] with WIGS OUT instead of LOSES IT based on that final T, but every other letter was wrong.
Lots of groovy fill! The highlights:
- 17A. PATSY CLINE is the ["I Fall to Pieces" singer]. Man, what a voice.
- 28A. An EXEMPLAR is a [Model]. I have a soft spot for words that end with -AR. Cultivar and exemplar have that Latin swing, as does Simon Bolivar.
- 38A. [Gravel transports] is an accurate but boring clue for DUMP TRUCKS. When my son was a wee bairn, he pronounced "truck" with an F instead of a TR, which provided me with plenty of hilarity when we drove anywhere and passed a truck, as he was wont to exclaim about every last one of 'em.
- 48A. Dammit, there are no POTATO CHIPs in the house, and now I want one. Or more than one. [It's hard to eat one] when 20 are so delicious.
- 55A. [Factory outlet] is a great clue for SMOKESTACK. Barry made you think of factory outlet stores, didn't he? Not me, though. I had so many of the letters before I ever saw the clue.
- 5D. TWYLA! If you ask nicely, Rex will tell you that [Choreographer Tharp] went to the same college he did. Hell, he'll tell you regardless of your level of interest. Then he may say "Chirp, chirp!" We pat his head soothingly and back out of the room.
6D. BOLLIXED UP is my favorite entry after PATSY CLINE. The clue's [Made a mess of].
- 7D. Tough clue at first, and then obvious: [Collectible involving seeds] is the CHIA PET. Ch-ch-chia!
- 10D. Barry's a big Phillies fan, so you know how psyched he was to get COLE HAMELS in here. He's the [Pitcher who was a 2008 post-season standout for the Phillies]. I think there was a World Series win somewhere in there, but I really wasn't paying attention.
- 12D. [It holds water] isn't a GLASS and it isn't a SEWER. It's a LEVEE, which makes for a great destination in your Chevrolet.
- 26D. Literally, the ADAM'S APPLE is a [Lump in one's throat]. Well, provided that one is male.
- 27D. HIPPETY-HOP! Who here saw that goofball Coen brothers movie, The Ladykillers? The old woman complained about that "hippety-hop" music the young people listen to. Whenever I hear someone complaining that they don't like/get rap music, I hear them calling it "the hippety-hop." Clue is [51-Down's pace], 51D being a HARE or [Leveret, e.g.].
- 29D. MILKSHAKES is in a still-commanding third place in Amy's Favorite Answers today. It's clued as [Offerings at some parlors] because "milkshake" is a euphemism for a truly outrageous service offered at sketchy massage parlors. (Alternatively, you order it at an ice cream parlor.)
- 30D. PROSTATE! This all-too-[Male gland] gets its day in the crossword sun, at last.
Crosswordese 101: This feature takes a break today in honor of Barry's 3-less achievement in grid filling.
Everything Else — 1A: Stood for (MEANT); 6A: Lingerie spec (B CUP); 10A: Collectible frames (CELS); 14A: Within legal provisions (AT LAW); 15A: Quite (OH SO); 16A: German auto (OPEL); 17A: "I Fall to Pieces" singer (PATSY CLINE); 19A: Court zero (LOVE); 20A: Silently activated signal (STILL ALARM); 21A: Crossed (out) (EXED); 22A: Left __: rewarded (A TIP); 23A: Words before "I remember it well," in a "Gigi" song (AH YES); 24A: Hardly thrilling (BLAH); 28A: Model (EXEMPLAR); 31A: Gernreich of fashion (RUDI); 32A: Party occasion (RETIREMENT); 35A: Passed by (ELAPSED); 37A: Goes ballistic (LOSES IT); 38A: Gravel transports (DUMP TRUCKS); 40A: Start to type? (LINO); 41A: Doesn't get hung up on (SEES PAST); 42A: Center's job (SNAP); 43A: Authoritative orders (FIATS); 45A: Excellent, in recent slang (PHAT); 47A: Glimpse (ESPY); 48A: It's hard to eat one (POTATO CHIP); 54A: River of Xanadu (ALPH); 55A: Factory outlet (SMOKESTACK); 56A: Bit of Realtor lingo (RELO); 57A: Not at all pleased (SORE); 58A: Destined for markdown: Abbr. (IRREG.); 59A: Choreographer's unit (STEP); 60A: Get rid of (TOSS); 61A: Like non-oyster months, traditionally (RLESS); 1D: Some are genetic (MAPS); 2D: Division politique (ETAT); 3D: Some choir singers (ALTI); 4D: Org. that included the New York Cosmos (NASL); 5D: Choreographer Tharp (TWYLA); 6D: Made a mess of (BOLLIXED UP); 7D: Collectible involving seeds (CHIA PET); 8D: Seagoing mil. readiness force (USNR); 9D: Work with feet (POEM); 10D: Pitcher who was a 2008 post-season standout for the Phillies (COLE HAMELS); 11D: Strong adhesive (EPOXY RESIN); 12D: It holds water (LEVEE); 13D: They have runners (SLEDS); 18D: Reception staff (CATERERS); 23D: They may be brown or cream (ALES); 24D: Gave rise to (BRED); 25D: Pip (LULU); 26D: Lump in one's throat (ADAM'S APPLE); 27D: 51-Down's pace (HIPPETY HOP); 29D: Offerings at some parlors (MILKSHAKES); 30D: Male gland (PROSTATE); 33D: Historic Atlantic crosser (NINA); 34D: Sporty sunroof (T-TOP); 36D: Bernadette et al.: Abbr. (STES.); 39D: Takers of prisoners (CAPTORS); 43D: Chill causes (FEARS); 44D: Key (ISLET); 46D: "__, With Love": 1967 hit (TO SIR); 48D: "Hey, you!" ("PSST!"); 49D: Novel with the chapter "Farming in Polynesia" (OMOO); 50D: PC key (CTRL); 51D: Leveret, e.g. (HARE); 52D: Summer coolers (ICES); 53D: FedEx truck filler: Abbr. (PKGS.).