THEME: No theme today—It's a themeless puzzle, just like every other Saturday.
With a 4:06 finish, we remain in the Thursday/Friday NYT difficulty zone.
Nothing particularly grabbed me in this one. Nor did anything repulse me. The puzzle's sort of just there for me. Let's check out the content:
- 1A: [Beachgoer's pursuit] clues a SUNBATH. Very few people say that a sunbather is taking a SUNBATH.
- 8A: [A film may be shown in it] clues THREE-D. Yep, it looks like the mysterious THREED in the grid. ONED and TWOD confuse people even more. The World's Best Movie Critic, Roger Ebert, has been vocal in his opposition to slapping 3-D on too many movies for inorganic reasons. I love his enthusiastic embrace of Twitter. If you're on Twitter, you should follow @ebertchicago.
- 25A: [Trois counterpart] is DREI. Weird to use a French word in a clue for a German one. Trois and drei both mean three.
- 35A: [Mobile home site] isn't a TRAILER PARK here but a TRAILER CAMP, which is a term that I don't recognize but my kid says he knows it. I don't know how that can be!
- 38A: [Actress Benaderet who first voiced Granny in Tweety cartoons] is the hard way to clue BEA. The more accessible pop-culture route is Bea Arthur, and there's also the two-word partial approach (BE A).
- 39A: ["Count on me"] is an awkward clue for "I WON'T LET YOU DOWN," necessitated because the word "you" can't appear in both the clue and the answer.
- 43A: [Sound of locks being changed?] is the SNIP of a hairdresser or barber's scissors.
- 47A: ["Flash of Genius" actor] is ALDA. Alan? Did anyone see this movie? I remember hearing nothing about it. Alda plays a supporting role. This, I say, is not a great way to clue ALDA. Luckily, the crossings aren't obscure names.
- 49A: ["I ran away from you once. I can't do it again" speaker] is ILSA Lund in Casablanca. She's not in this scene:
- 50A: [Russian emperor after Catherine II] is PAUL I. Who?
- 53A, 1D: [Pops] means DAD and [Pop] is SODA.
- 23D: [Forward raises strengthen them] clues your DELTS. I don't know what "forward raises" are. My physical trainer has spared me that.
- 30D: [Scale notes, e.g.] are an OCTET. Do, re, mi, fa, sol, la, ti, do = 8.
- 34D: [Aster family plant] is a TANSY, rhymes with pansy.
Crosswordese 101: COTE is clued here as 56D: [Dove shelter]. Maybe the rest of you are more involved with doves and sheep in your daily lives, but I seldom encounter COTE outside of crosswords. Other common clues: sheep shelter, pigeon coop, farm shelter. It's also CÔTE, French for "coast," as in Côte d'Ivoire in Africa and Côte d'Azur of the South of France.
Everything Else — 1A: Beachgoer's pursuit (SUNBATH); 8A: A film may be shown in it (THREE-D); 14A: Like some bandits (ONE-ARMED); 16A: Item in the news, perhaps (COUPLE); 17A: "Be realistic" ("DON'T KID YOURSELF"); 19A: "I'd hate to break up __" (A SET); 20A: Salon stuff (GEL); 21A: Thin piece (SHEET); 22A: She played Carmela in "The Sopranos" (EDIE); 25A: Trois counterpart (DREI); 27A: Return recipient (SENDER); 30A: Dedicated verse (ODE); 31A: Influential Harper's Weekly cartoonist (NAST); 35A: Mobile home site (TRAILER CAMP); 38A: Actress Benaderet who first voiced Granny in Tweety cartoons (BEA); 39A: "Count on me" ("I WON'T LET YOU DOWN"); 41A: Lip (RIM); 42A: Promotional campaigns (SALES DRIVES); 43A: Sound of locks being changed? (SNIP); 45A: "Unlikely!" ("NOT!"); 46A: Queen of fiction (ELLERY); 47A: "Flash of Genius" actor (ALDA); 49A: "I ran away from you once. I can't do it again" speaker (ILSA); 50A: Russian emperor after Catherine II (PAUL I); 53A: Pops (DAD); 55A: Some mil. personnel (NCOS); 59A: "Who knows?" ("IT'S A MYSTERY TO ME"); 63A: Put (together) (PIECED); 64A: Arrive, with some difficulty (MAKE IT IN); 65A: Highlight (STRESS); 66A: "Ozymandias" et al. (SONNETS); 1D: Pop (SODA); 2D: Ones in Madrid (UNOS); 3D: Island goose (NENE); 4D: Driven home (BATTED IN); 5D: Chest with tablets (ARK); 6D: "More than I need to know!" ("TMI!"); 7D: Waffle (HEDGE); 8D: Fort Worth sch. (TCU); 9D: Dressage trainee (HORSE); 10D: Raid the joint, say (RUSH IN); 11D: Olympics weapon (ÉPÉE); 12D: Cosmo rival (ELLE); 13D: Handy (DEFT); 15D: Color (DYE); 18D: Past (OLD DAYS); 23D: Forward raises strengthen them (DELTS); 24D: Cork's place (IRELAND); 26D: Do over (REMODEL); 27D: Moves slightly (STIRS); 28D: "Desert Fox" Rommel (ERWIN); 29D: Woman in the Book of Ruth (NAOMI); 30D: Scale notes, e.g. (OCTET); 32D: Over (ABOVE); 33D: Escape site in "Les Misérables" (SEWER); 34D: Aster family plant (TANSY); 36D: Puts in a new clip (RELOADS); 37D: Knitting stitches (PURLS); 40D: Anticonvulsive drug (DILANTIN); 44D: Regal residence (PALACE); 48D: Bartender's supply (LIMES); 49D: They can be bright (IDEAS); 50D: Card marks (PIPS); 51D: Busy (AT IT); 52D: __ ID (USER); 54D: Cash source, briefly (ATM); 56D: Dove shelter (COTE); 57D: Cut (OMIT); 58D: D.C. VIPs (SENS.); 60D: NFL gains (YDS.); 61D: Old MGM rival (RKO); 62D: Hunger (YEN).