Theme: "Name Changes" — Theme answers are familiar phrases that end in words that can be men's names.
- 20A: Robinson and Thomas? (BALLPARK FRANKS).
- 37A: Owens and Henry? (COUPLE OF BUCKS).
- 54A: Garfunkel and Tatum? (PERFORMING ARTS).
Back to the puzzle!
- 5A: Half a '60s pop group (MAMAS). Seems like an awful lot of music in today's puzzle and it really covers the spectrum, from The Mamas and the Papas to Jay-Z (43A: Jay-Z's genre (RAP)), to …
- 15A: Dedicatee of Beethoven's "Bagatelle in A Minor" (ELISE). Of course you know this tune. You've heard it a million times. Every young person who has ever had a piano lesson knows this song. But have you ever heard it like this?
- 27A: "Impossible!" ("NO WAY!"). I'm a fan of the colloquial phrases. See also 8D: "Yeah, right!" ("AS IF!"). Both of which are connected to 46D: Like lies (UNTRUE)!
- 29A: Where the buffalo roam (LEA). I think LEA is more often clued in relation to sheep. I think of buffalos roaming the plain.
- 40A: PBS science series (NOVA). Is there a science show called "Omni"? 'Cuz I always think "Omni" before "Nova."
- 2D: Italian region known for its cheese (ASIAGO). Mmmmm, cheese.
- 7D: Weasel cousins (MINKS). I was also once with a group of friends trying to determine who had worked at the worst job. One of the girls had worked (for, like, a day) at a place where it was her job to cut off the little paws of minks. Eww.
- 13D: Wrestling surface (MAT). Mmmmm, wrestling.
- 37D: Bargain for reduced charges (COP A PLEA). This looked all kindsa wrong in the grid until every single letter was there.
Everything Else — 1A: Indiana senator Evan (BAYH); 10A: News article (ITEM); 14A: Start of a crystal ball user's prediction (I SEE); 16A: Haydn sobriquet (PAPA); 17A: __ monster: lizard (GILA); 18A: Patty Hearst's SLA alias (TANIA); 19A: Landed (ALIT); 23A: Sense of self (EGO); 24A: Poor offering (ALMS); 25A: Skewered fare (KABOB); 31A: Fruity refreshment (ADE); 32A: Argue (QUARREL); 36A: Passed with flying colors (ACED); 41A: Most corpulent (FATTEST); 42A: Do an impression of (APE); 44A: Point of contention (ISSUE); 48A: City of Light, to Cole Porter (PAREE); 50A: Memphis middle name (ARON); 53A: Cease (END); 58A: Lively style (ELAN); 59A: Sylvan setting (WOODS); 60A: Muddy area (MIRE); 61A: Legendary Asian beast (YETI); 62A: Sweden neighbor, to a Swede (NORGE); 63A: Heavy hammer (MAUL); 64A: Let up (EASE); 65A: Marksman's game (SKEET); 66A: Corrida encouragements (OLÉS); 1D: Nickname of London's Great Bell (BIG BEN); 3D: Brick road color (YELLOW); 4D: Cure (HEAL); 5D: Heavy rock? (METAL); 6D: Frighten (ALARM); 9D: Char (SEAR); 10D: Bucky Beaver's toothpaste (IPANA); 11D: Sass, with "to" (TALK BACK); 12D: 45-Down parts (EPISODES); 21D: Settle a debt (PAY UP); 22D: Wanted poster letters (AKA); 26D: Garden plot (BED); 28D: Color similar to robin egg blue (AQUA); 29D: Baseball field? (LEFT); 30D: Hamburg's river (ELBE); 33D: A, in communications (ALFA); 34D: Gather (REAP); 35D: Balderdash (ROT); 36D: Play segments (ACTS); 38D: Pigs out (OVEREATS); 39D: Taking advantage of (USING); 40D: Doze (NAP); 43D: Court arbiter (REF); 45D: Story published in installments (SERIAL); 47D: Ford failures (EDSELS); 49D: Ford from Tennessee (ERNIE); 50D: Luigi's love (AMORE); 51D: Mountain feature (RIDGE); 52D: Start (ONSET); 55D: Holds the deed to (OWNS); 56D: Rank-and-file chess piece (ROOK); 57D: Firearm filler (AMMO); 58D: CBS symbol (EYE).