Theme: Rhyme Time — Theme answers are familiar two-part phrases where the two parts rhyme.
- 20A: Blondness (FAIR HAIR).
- 22A: There may not be one "in the house" during a tearjerker (DRY EYE).
- 32A: Cat's pajamas (BEE'S KNEES).
- 37A: Like some stockings (THIGH-HIGH).
- 47A: Captain Ahab feature (PEG LEG).
- 50A: Fan of Jerry Garcia's band (DEADHEAD).
- 3D: Flight of scientists to another nation, e.g. (BRAIN DRAIN).
- 27D: "The original gourmet" candy bean (JELLY BELLY).
Lots of snappy fill including the colloquial POP IN, "I'M EASY" and "NO RUSH" (9A: Stop by unexpectedly / 5D: "No argument from me" / 33D: "You can get it to me later").
Rex mentioned the K-CAR (7D: 1980s Chrysler product) over at his blog this weekend: "If a car is going to be named after a letter, that is the letter to name it after, I say." Agreed! And finally, I love seeing PET ROCK in the grid (9D: Faddish '70s toy that came in a box with air holes), but it sure does make you think about how gullible we all were back then. Kids these days still have those dumb "pets" but now they're electronic. Does that make it better or worse? I'm really not sure.
So, okay. The one box I didn't like? That would be the W in WHANG (35D: Cymbal sound). WHANG? Really? CHING maybe. CLANG okay. WHANG? Not so much. Go ahead and explain to me in the comments why it's totally acceptable, it's in a dictionary, anybody who knows anything about music, blah, blah, blah. It just sounds wrong to me and I don't like it. Also, I wasn't completely sure of 35D: Houdini's family name (WEISS). Of course, W seems like the most likely letter there, but with a name it could be almost anything. The good news, though, is that the puzzle totally redeemed itself in a very tricky way that I completely love. Did you notice that both constructors' names are in the grid? Yes they are! Nice job, Pete and Sue! (47D: Tennis's Sampras (PETE); 52A: "What are you gonna do about it?!" ("SUE ME!").)
Everything Else — 1A: Subway alternative (CAB); 4A: Floppy storage media (DISKS); 15A: Apples since 1998 (IMACS); 16A: Ivory neighbor? (EBONY); 17A: "Michael Collins" org. (IRA); 18A: Honda Accord, for one (SEDAN); 19A: Has a proclivity (to) (TENDS); 23A: Neural impulse junction (SYNAPSE); 24A: Big hairdos, for short (FROS); 25A: Cart for heavy loads (DRAY); 26A: Coalition (BLOC); 27A: Boeing product (JET); 30A: County on San Francisco Bay (MARIN); 34A: "__ See for Miles": The Who hit (I CAN); 35A: Houdini's family name (WEISS); 40A: Word with Big or top (TEN); 41A: "Great" dog (DANE); 42A: "It's __!": bargain hunter's words (A BUY); 43A: Coffee holders (URNS); 44A: "Flying" toy (FRISBEE); 51A: Author Jong (ERICA); 53A: Shirt size: Abbr. (LGE.); 54A: Laid vinyl on, as a floor (TILED); 55A: Speak off the cuff (AD LIB); 56A: Quarterback Dawson (LEN); 57A: Ingress (ENTRY); 58A: Befitting a slob (MESSY); 59A: Soph and jr. (YRS.); 1D: Elaborate dos (COIFS); 2D: Striking spread (ARRAY); 4D: Old-style kitchen washing receptacle (DISHPAN); 6D: __ Hawkins Day (SADIE); 8D: Tax form ID (SSN); 10D: Does as told (OBEYS); 11D: Fried Dixie bread (PONE); 12D: __ 500 (INDY); 13D: Big Board letters (NYSE); 21D: __ to go: psyched (RARING); 22D: Metallic refuse (DROSS); 24D: Shylock's pound (FLESH); 26D: Light brown (BEIGE); 28D: Very wide, shoewise (EEEE); 29D: General __ chicken: Chinese dish (TSO'S); 30D: Catcher's glove (MITT); 31D: Throb (ACHE); 32D: Some '60s war protests (BE-INS); 35D: Cymbal sound (WHANG); 38D: Like many large-screen TVs (HD READY); 39D: Follow, as rules (ABIDE BY); 42D: A Musketeer (ARAMIS); 43D: Stomach woe (ULCER); 44D: Senses (FEELS); 45D: Ready for action (EAGER); 46D: Paradises (EDENS); 48D: Common name for an Irish lass (ERIN); 49D: Gold-plated (GILT); 50D: Bro (DUDE); 52D: Uncle on a poster (SAM).