A bouncy and entertaining puzzle, and by far the hardest one of this week so far. I especially like that the constructor cared enough to give us five different theme answers that appear in alphabetical order, with a different vowel leading off the wacky phrase in each instance. There are some ugly abbrevs. in the grid — ECUA, IDENT, and *especially* TOC, which I only just this second figured out ("Table Of Contents") — but most of the rest of the fill is pretty solid, and the theme answers are good enough that the infelicities in the grid hardly matter.
- 20A: Works in Satan's museum? (ART OF DARKNESS)
- 27A: "Tell Senator Bayh to take a number? ("EVAN CAN WAIT!")
- 38A: Egotism? (I ESTEEM)
- 47A: Resistance quashers? (OHM WRECKERS)
- 55A: Evidence of a love-hate relationship? (UGHS AND KISSES)
Worst of the lot, by far, is I ESTEEM. I didn't realize it was a theme answer until after I was done — figured it was some odd colloquial phrase I just hadn't heard before. Of all the "HIGH" phrases in the world, you go with "HIGH ESTEEM" as your base phrase?! That's a cop out of the first order. SOCIETY? SCHOOL? ANXIETY? BROW? CHAIR? DEFINITION? FIBER? Etc. etc. etc. Guess ESTEEM's many ultra-common letters were too hard to resist. A shame. Speaking of HIGH phrases ... what is up with the clue on SIERRA (9D: Saw-toothed ridge)? That is a new one on me, though the "ridge" part suggested mountains enough that I was able to piece it together. Can't say I'm thrilled to see SIERRA and CIERA in the same grid (67A: Olds Cutlass model).
Crosswordese 101: BIFF (1A: Willy Loman's favorite son) — crosswords are the only reason I know this bit of literary / theatrical trivia. BIFF also occasionally gets clued as the bully in "Back to the Future." I do not remember this character, but then again I haven't seen "Back to the Future" since it came out in the mid-80s.
- 36A: One objecting to a called strike (SCAB) — I think the SCAB benefits from the strike. How is he "objecting" to it, exactly? I get that the clue is trying to make you think baseball, but the clue's gotta make sense on some level, esp. w/o a "?" at the end of it.
- 8D: Alhambra wall artwork (MOSAIC) — very nice clue. "Artwork" in clue for answer that crosses ART OF DARKNESS probably should have been rethought, but that's a minor detail.
See you Memorial Day!
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Everything Else — 5A: Clothes lines (SEAMS); 10A: Sweet Sixteen initials (NCAA); 14A: Like some history (ORAL); 15A: Ballade's closing stanza (ENVOI); 16A: Aloe, for one (BALM); 17A: Fictional princess (XENA); 18A: Pretense (GUISE); 19A: First Nations tribe (CREE); 23A: More felicitous (APTER); 25A: "Dies __" (IRAE); 26A: Hugh Capet, par exemple (ROI); 34A: List of chaps. (TOC); 35A: Amarone or Barolo (VINO); 36A: One objecting to a called strike (SCAB); 37A: Where, to Brutus (UBI); 42A: __ Friday's: restaurant (TGI); 43A: Tabula __ (RASA); 45A: Cousin of hibiscus (OKRA); 46A: Three-time NHL MVP (ORR); 51A: Beatty of "Network" (NED); 52A: Andean nation: Abbr. (ECUA.); 53A: Patella sites (KNEES); 61A: 1934 role for Claudette, briefly (CLEO); 62A: Birth cert., e.g. (IDENT.); 63A: Casualty of German reunification (WALL); 66A: "Kinsey" star Neeson (LIAM); 67A: Olds Cutlass model (CIERA); 68A: Syrup brand (EGGO); 69A: Cutting the mustard (ABLE); 70A: Moray catcher (EELER); 71A: Out of concern that (LEST); 1D: Place for letters (BOX); 2D: More than annoyance (IRE); 3D: Santayana defines it as "redoubling your effort when you have forgotten your aim" (FANATICISM); 4D: Common skirt feature (FLARE); 5D: Utah state flower (SEGO); 6D: Adequate, slangily (ENUF); 7D: Gung-ho (AVID); 8D: Alhambra wall artwork (MOSAIC); 9D: Saw-toothed ridge (SIERRA); 10D: "The Chris Matthews Show" producer (NBC NEWS); 11D: __ package (CARE); 12D: Pub quaffs (ALES); 13D: Central Iowa city (AMES); 21D: Rome's Fontana di __ (TREVI); 22D: Central U.S. state (KAN); 23D: Conductor Toscanini (ARTURO); 24D: Authority (POOBAH); 28D: Contest (VIE); 29D: Yvette's years (ANS); 30D: Far from fine (NOT OK); 31D: Be mature (ACT ONE'S AGE); 32D: "Hear, hear!" ("I AGREE!"); 33D: Cars designed to compete with Corvettes (T-BIRDS); 39D: Scrape together, with "out" (EKE); 40D: Stray (ERR); 41D: Hides (MASKS); 44D: "Totally rad!" ("AWESOME!"); 48D: "His Master's Voice" co. (RCA); 49D: Carol Burnett persona (EUNICE); 50D: One carrying a bag (CADDIE); 54D: Banister post (NEWEL); 55D: The Bruins of the 10-Across (UCLA); 56D: Like con artists (GLIB); 57D: Make sound (HEAL); 58D: Stem-to-stern part (KEEL); 59D: Memo words (IN RE); 60D: High light (STAR); 64D: Some HDTVs (LGS); 65D: Developer's unit (LOT).