THEME: "What's Up Your Sleeve?"—Four clues for ACE become theme answers clued with [ACE].
This one took me 3:36, which means it was a little tougher than the typical mid-week L.A. Times crossword. Weirdly, at least one newspaper printed this puzzle on Tuesday. This sentence is also a non sequitur. That word looks weird. What else ends with -tur but is still an English word?
- 17a. This [ACE] means FLAWLESS SERVICE in tennis.
- 28a. VENTURA IN FILMS refers to the Jim Carrey character Ace Ventura, Pet Detective.
- 45a. BANDAGE ACRONYM—really?? I had no idea. I figured it was just a random brand name. The 3M website tells us ACE is short for "All Cotton Elastic," and that the ACE bandage has been around since 1914. One of my college roommates used ACE bandages a lot. She strapped her bosom down before heading to wrestling practice with the guys.
- 59a. The ACE is one HALF OF BLACKJACK. The other half is a ten, jack, queen, or king.
- 1a. [Pest control target] is a ROACH. Icky start to the puzzle!
- 6a. [Get down the road?] is a tricky clue for PAVE. I don't like this repurposing of "get down." "Get down the road" means "go down the road." "Get the road down" could be loosely interpreted as "pave it by laying down the asphalt." We don't say "get down the ___" for putting anything down.
- 10a. [Hired soldier, briefly] clues MERC, short for "mercenary." You know anyone who uses this abbreviation? Me neither. Or if they do use it, it's short for Mercury, the car make.
- 22a. ["Gerontion" poet's monogram] is TSE, for T.S. Eliot. I majored in English but never heard of this poem. No matter—the top poet's monogram in crosswords is TSE. EAP (Edgar Allan Poe) was also a poet.
- 36a. [Dried plum] is the government-authorized term for PRUNE now. People who were embarrassed to have prunes in their kitchen feel much better (and more regular) with their stash of respectable dried plums.
- 52a. [Drink with a string in it, perhaps] clues TEA. My first thoughts were of cocktails and tampons.
- 3d. [Phillips, e.g.: Abbr.] is an ACAD., an elite East Coast prep school. I learned all about it from The Preppy Handbook in the early '80s. I can't wait for the sequel, True Prep.
- 25d. [They're often sensitive to allergens] clues SINUSES. Knock on wood—I have had allergies only once in my life, in London one May, and they responded to antihistamines.
- 27d. ELEANOR [Rigby of song], a classic:
- 44d. [Nocturnal noisemaker] is an OWL. No, wait, it's gotta be a SNORER. No, sorry. It's a CRICKET. I don't think of them as nocturnal, but that's probably a factor of living in a low-cricket urban area.
- 49d. [Mirthful sounds]…HOOTS! No, wait, it's ZZZZZ. No, of course they're HA HAS. We're no longer nocturnal.
- 53d. [New newts] are wee EFTS. New newts is good newts, as everyone knows.
- 62d. [It holds the mayo] looks like it could be trying to trick us into thinking of condiments rather than the Spanish word for the month of May. What's a 3-letter Spanish word for "calendar"? Oh. It's a mayonnaise JAR. Our mayo is in a squeeze bottle. Jars are for suckers who want to get mayo on their knuckles.
Everything Else — 1A: Pest control target (ROACH); 6A: Get down the road? (PAVE); 10A: Hired soldier, briefly (MERC); 14A: Big name in foil (ALCOA); 15A: Ongoing auction site (EBAY); 16A: Asian domestic (AMAH); 17A: ACE (FLAWLESS SERVICE); 20A: Abe Lincoln's boy (TAD); 21A: "__ Got to Crow": "Peter Pan" song (I'VE); 22A: "Gerontion" poet's monogram (TSE); 23A: Just out (NEW); 24A: Acts as lookout, say (ABETS); 26A: Lascivious looks (LEERS); 28A: ACE (VENTURA IN FILMS); 33A: Knotted scarf (ASCOT); 34A: Reunion attendee (NIECE); 35A: Ripped (TORN); 36A: Dried plum (PRUNE); 38A: Help for a busy mgr. (ASST.); 42A: Small amounts (IOTAS); 44A: 100 clams (C-NOTE); 45A: ACE (BANDAGE ACRONYM); 49A: Door squeaker (HINGE); 50A: Flight component (STAIR); 51A: "Spider-Man" director Lee (ANG); 52A: Drink with a string in it, perhaps (TEA); 55A: Letters in a business name (LLC); 56A: One of the three states of matter (GAS); 59A: ACE (HALF OF BLACKJACK); 63A: Geometry calculation (AREA); 64A: Casual tops (TEES); 65A: Message obeyed by Alice (EAT ME); 66A: Part of CBS: Abbr. (SYST.); 67A: Narrow aperture (SLIT); 68A: Cornered (TREED); 1D: Huck's ride (RAFT); 2D: Earthenware pot (OLLA); 3D: Phillips, e.g.: Abbr. (ACAD.); 4D: Leather source (COW); 5D: Largest flatfish (HALIBUT); 6D: Dinero replaced by the euro (PESETA); 7D: Six-pack muscles (ABS); 8D: Seemingly endless (VAST); 9D: Places for pupils (EYES); 10D: Dallas cager, familiarly (MAV); 11D: "8 Mile" rapper (EMINEM); 12D: The Andrettis, e.g. (RACERS); 13D: Masticates (CHEWS); 18D: At any time (EVER); 19D: Dig find (RELIC); 24D: Making reparations (ATONING); 25D: They're often sensitive to allergens (SINUSES); 27D: Rigby of song (ELEANOR); 28D: Napa Valley vessel (VAT); 29D: Juan's "that" (ESO); 30D: Maker of bar code scanners (NCR); 31D: "Collages" novelist (NIN); 32D: Professional charge (FEE); 36D: School org. (PTA); 37D: Joplin work (RAG); 39D: Young fellow (SON); 40D: Porcine abode (STY); 41D: President pro __ (TEM); 43D: Keats's "__ a Nightingale" (ODE TO); 44D: Nocturnal noisemaker (CRICKET); 45D: Like computer code (BINARY); 46D: Geometry calculations (ANGLES); 47D: Words of relief (AT LAST); 48D: Advanced math subj. (CALC); 49D: Mirthful sounds (HAHAS); 53D: New newts (EFTS); 54D: Genesis victim (ABEL); 56D: Concert receipts (GATE); 57D: Wile E. Coyote's mail-order house (ACME); 58D: List of appts. (SKED); 60D: Dietitian's concern (FAT); 61D: Flowery welcome (LEI); 62D: It holds the mayo (JAR).