THEME: No theme today—It's a themeless puzzle, just like every other Saturday.
4:06 places this in the difficulty range of a Thursday NYT (or an uncommonly easy themeless Friday NYT).
The grid's got a triple stack of 15s across the middle, crossed by a couple more 15s running down. Those anchor entries are as follows:
- 34A: [Minor league team with a locomotive in one of its logos] are the READING PHILLIES. Barry's a big Philadelphia Phillies fan.
- 38A: [He played Will Scarlet in "Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves"] clues CHRISTIAN SLATER. Never saw that movie, but he's a cutie.
- 39A: [New England setting] is the EASTERN TIME ZONE. I think EASTERN STANDARD was in another recent puzzle, so I tried that here. TIME ZONE makes for better fill.
- 5D: [Someone to build a team around] is a FRANCHISE PLAYER. Sports, schmorts. I want to put together a crossword team. You really can't go wrong with any of the first-round draft choices when it comes to crossword competitors.
- 10D: [Runway displays] include FALL COLLECTIONS. I feel like the designers have fall and spring collections, but not summer and winter. Is this true?
Highlights, lowlights, midlights:
- 1A: If you [Move to new places?] but don't get very far, you SHUFFLE.
- 18A: [Source of relief?] is the BULLPEN where they store the extra pitchers at a baseball game. Good gravy, Barry, that's three baseball things. You couldn't stick one of these in your NYT puzzle yesterday?
- What an unsightly pair these are. 21A: [Look at, to Livy] clues the Latin ECCE, and 24A: [Suffix with fluor-] is -ESCE. There are some other ugly little fillers, too. Like abbreviations—SBA, CIC, OSS. Fragments—DRI, 'ELD elided from "held," LA-Z, AT A. So many short names!—POE, NED, TEO, ALF, LEN, APU, ALLIE, INEZ, LOREN, LEHAR, LISZT, BEENE. Not one of these lends any real sparkle to the grid. The long answers are great, and the 7s are fine. It's the short stuff that's bringing me down.
- 57A: The [Mexican salamander] with frilly gills is the AXOLOTL. I'm a big fan.
- 59A: ["New York Mining Disaster 1941" was their first U.S. hit in 1967] did not at all tell me the answer. The BEE GEES!
Crosswordese 101: LEHAR has been covered here.
Everything Else — 1A: Move to new places? (SHUFFLE); 8A: Exotic vacations (SAFARIS); 15A: Bird known for hovering in a headwind (KESTREL); 16A: Like some birthstones (OPALINE); 17A: Bunratty Castle site (IRELAND); 18A: Source of relief? (BULLPEN); 19A: Best Actress winner for "Two Women" (LOREN); 20A: Wagner's father-in-law (LISZT); 21A: Look at, to Livy (ECCE); 24A: Suffix with fluor- (ESCE); 26A: 1930s Kansas governor Landon (ALF); 29A: Cupcake (HON); 30A: Racer Fabi (TEO); 31A: Entrepreneur-aiding org. (SBA); 34A: Minor league team with a locomotive in one of its logos (READING PHILLIES); 38A: He played Will Scarlet in "Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves" (CHRISTIAN SLATER); 39A: New England setting (EASTERN TIME ZONE); 40A: Soft & __: Dial product (DRI); 41A: "MS. Found in a Bottle" author (POE); 42A: Pres. title (CIC); 43A: Nancy Drew's boyfriend (NED); 44A: Problems (ILLS); 45A: Where some "SNL" regulars got their start (SCTV); 47A: New England cheer word (BOOLA); 50A: Child's retort (I AM SO); 54A: Seek acceptance at (APPLY TO); 57A: Mexican salamander (AXOLOTL); 59A: "New York Mining Disaster 1941" was their first U.S. hit in 1967 (BEE GEES); 60A: Like some academic positions (TENURED); 61A: They aren't on the program (ENCORES); 62A: Gives in (ASSENTS); 1D: Black & Decker competitor (SKIL); 2D: Long lunch? (HERO); 3D: Beta tester, e.g. (USER); 4D: Army post named for a CSA general (FT. LEE); 5D: Someone to build a team around (FRANCHISE PLAYER); 6D: Author Deighton (LEN); 7D: "We '__ our bloomin' own": Kipling ('ELD); 8D: ___ sister (SOB); 9D: "The Simpsons" shopkeeper (APU); 10D: Runway displays (FALL COLLECTIONS); 11D: DivorcÈe Lowell in an '80s sitcom (ALLIE); 12D: Tough currents (RIPS); 13D: Spanish name meaning "chaste" (INEZ); 14D: Elated (SENT); 22D: Restraint (CONTROL); 23D: Locomotives (ENGINES); 24D: Cultural group members (ETHNICS); 25D: Like many tsunamis (SEISMIC); 26D: Like rainbows (ARCED); 27D: Operettist Franz (LEHAR); 28D: Modern Persian (FARSI); 31D: Squelch (SIT ON); 32D: Designer Geoffrey (BEENE); 33D: Comparable to a beet (AS RED); 35D: Morse "E" (DIT); 36D: Light hit (PAT); 37D: __-Boy recliner (LA-Z); 44D: Volunteer's words (I'LL GO); 46D: Prize (VALUE); 47D: Symbol of innocence (BABE); 48D: Exposed (OPEN); 49D: Nigeria is its most populous member (OPEC); 51D: Poetic period (MORN); 52D: Go back on the dele? (STET); 53D: Defunct GM line (OLDS); 55D: Beginning of Time? (TEE); 56D: Org. in the 1946 film "Cloak and Dagger" (OSS); 57D: One step __ time (AT A); 58D: Strikes (out) (XES).