Theme: Breaking News — Theme answers are familiar phrases that end with a word that can describe a type of break.
- 17A: Manhattan rail hub (PENN STATION).
- 32A: Mattress support (BOXSPRING).
- 39A: Cherished (NEAR TO ONE'S HEART).
- 46A: "Hold your horses!" ("NOT SO FAST!").
- 63A: 1980s Nell Carter sitcom, and a hint to the puzzle theme found in the ends of 17-, 32-, 39- and 46-Across (GIMME A BREAK).
Okay, I totally want to talk about this puzzle, but I'm a little distracted today. Why, you ask? Because it turns out I get to go to the Crosswords L.A. Tournament on May 1! I'm so excited! I didn't think there was any chance of me even hoping to go this year, but then PuzzleSister said she would like to go and would take me as a birthday present. Coolest. Sister. Ever. Right?? So now I get to spend another couple days with some of the awesomest people in the world. Oh hey! You should go too! I know that just because you do the L.A. Times crossword puzzle doesn't mean you necessarily live in L.A., but if you do live in L.A. (or anywhere close), you should seriously consider attending the tournament. It's going to be a blast! And it really doesn't matter if you think you can be competitive. Sure, there will be a couple people who actually win something, but that's not really the point. The point is that puzzle people are the nicest, smartest, funniest people in the world and if you yourself are a puzzle person, you owe it to yourself to hang out with a bunch of them when you get the chance. May 1 in L.A.: that's your chance. I sincerely hope to see you there!
The puzzle! The puzzle is fine. The puzzle is delightful. I only had a couple minor trouble spots where I tried curb for EAVE (69A: Gutter site) and ward for WING (3D: Hospital section). Other than that, smooth sailing. Oh, and when I got down to the reveal answer, all I could think of was "What's Happening!!" Was Nell Carter on that? No, doesn't look like it. I guess I didn't ever really watch either of those shows enough to know. Did I mention I'm going to California for a crossword tournament in a couple weeks?!?
- 5A: Royal headgear (DIADEM). Learned it from crosswords.
- 11A: "... __ an ill cook that cannot lick his own fingers": "Romeo and Juliet" ('TIS). I don't know the context here, but it sure doesn't sound sanitary.
- 52A: Fast partner? (LOOSE).
- 7D: Firm pro: Abbr. (ATT.). I don't really like this abbreviation for attorney, but I'm sure it's legit. I usually use ATTY.
- 36D: The Coasters' record label (coincidentally, all its letters appear in their name) (ATCO). Um … what?
- 48D: Pageant winners' wear (TIARAS). For reasons I won't go into right now, I was looking at clips of old Miss USA pageants last night. Reminded me of Jay Smooth's awesome take on the recent controversy surrounding Miss California and her response to a question about same-sex marriage. He said "Watching that clip raises a lot of questions for me. Questions such as … why do beauty pageants still exist?"
Everything Else — 1A: Fuzzy fruit (KIWI); 14A: Viking war god (ODIN); 15A: Draw in (ENTICE); 16A: Pictures on the wall (ART); 19A: Vert. opposite (HOR.); 20A: Lose support (SAG); 21A: Go bad (ROT); 22A: Ida of Hollywood (LUPINO); 24A: "The March King" (SOUSA); 27A: British boarding school (ETON); 28A: First name in spydom (MATA); 35A: Like many notebooks (SPIRAL); 38A: Unmoved (ALOOF); 44A: Hi-tech greeting (ECARD); 45A: Dogpatch cartoonist (AL CAPP); 50A: Highland toppers (TAMS); 51A: Part of BTU (UNIT); 55A: Social service? (TEA SET); 58A: R.E. Lee follower (REB); 59A: Hef's party wear (PJS); 62A: Downed Russian orbiter (MIR); 67A: Educator LeShan (EDA); 68A: Worldwide (GLOBAL); 70A: One of the states of matter (GAS); 71A: Summer ermines (STOATS); 72A: Oedipus' arrogance, e.g. (FLAW); 1D: "Keystone" bunglers (KOPS); 2D: Inventor's starting point (IDEA); 4D: Quaint stopover (INN); 5D: "Star Wars" surname? (DETOO); 6D: Where to find three men? (IN A TUB); 8D: CCLI x II (DII); 9D: Earth Day sci. (ECOL.); 10D: List of options (MENU); 11D: Island from which the Bounty sailed (TAHITI); 12D: Attach, as a patch (IRON ON); 13D: Able-bodied (STRONG); 18D: 18-yr.-old high schoolers, usually (SRS.); 23D: Ideal (PERFECT); 25D: What's-her-name (SO-AND-SO); 26D: Car bar (AXLE); 28D: AOL rival (MSN); 29D: Barbary beast (APE); 30D: Relative of Juan (TIA); 31D: Rap sheet listings (ARRESTS); 33D: Former Cubs slugger (SOSA); 34D: Sci-fi author Frederik (POHL); 37D: Bread knife target (LOAF); 40D: Like some tough tests (ORAL); 41D: Org. for drivers (AAA); 42D: Tach no. (RPM); 43D: "Decorates" with bathroom tissue, for short (TPS); 46D: Nog spice (NUTMEG); 47D: New York tribe, city or lake (ONEIDA); 49D: Tried to rip open (TORE AT); 53D: Shuts tight (SEALS); 54D: Recede (EBB); 56D: Quiche base (EGGS); 57D: Pinball foul (TILT); 59D: Ring out (PEAL); 60D: Joe (JAVA); 61D: Depict in a biased way (SKEW); 64D: Bovine bellow (MOO); 65D: Wall St. exec's degree (MBA); 66D: NFL whistle blower (REF).