Barry treated us to a tough one today! Not NYT tough, but certainly LAT tough. I had little pockets of trouble all over the grid, but the roughest spot for me was that southwest corner. I knew 62A: Past ended in -ND so wanted it to be [something]END. I knew 60A: Torino's home ended in -IA but had a severe brain cramp and couldn't think of any country ending in -IA besides Serbia. I knew 56A: Apt to change ended in -ILE but, as it turns out, I don't believe I know the word LABILE. I knew 43A: Plan to minimize losses was some kind of STRATEGY, but was at a loss for what kind. It wasn't until I threw WOMEN on the front of 30D: Betty Friedan cause that I was able to conquer the rest of that corner. I wanted 30D to be feminism, which obviously didn't fit. WOMEN'S LIB didn't come to mind immediately even with the WOMEN part in place because, well, I can't remember the last time I heard feminism referred to as WOMEN'S LIB. I'm sure it was at least 30 years ago. Which means, of course, that the clue is absolutely perfect, in that when The Feminine Mystique was published, yes indeed WOMEN'S LIB was a common term.
There was a super mini musem theme with TATE and PRADO (36D: Where Gainsboroughs hang / 51D: Madrid must-see). I'm not familiar with Thomas Gainsborough so TATE took pretty much every cross (plus it's over there in the southwest where I had so much trouble). And PRADO, well, let's just say the only issue was the last letter because I have a great deal of difficulty remembering the difference between PRADO and PRADA.
We also had a Reefer Madness theme going with the clues for ALTO and HAUT (25A: High guy / 47A: High in the French Alps?) and the answers to 38D: Step on it (HIE) and 59D: River through Beijing (HAI). (I'm not actually sure how to pronounce the river, but in my head it sounds like a homophone of "high.")
Other than that, WRITER'S BLOCK is a cool entry (26A: Plotting problem, perhaps) and BETCHA not so much (18A: Slangy "got that right!"). WPM stands for Words Per Minute, a way of measuring an office typist's efficiency (30A: Office efficiency meas.). And 5D: 1964 British Open winner LEMA? Yeah, his first name is Tony. I knew that off the top of my head.
Oh, one more thing. Don't you think PICKLOCKS (12D: Thieves' tools) is a weird word? I always thought it should be lockpicks.
Crosswordese 101 Round-Up:
- 42A: Tom Hayden's '60s org. (SDS).
- 49D: Some parodists (APERS).
- 57D: 1969 Peace Prize-winning agcy. (ILO).
Everything Else — 1A: Voter reaction of sorts (BACKLASH); 9A: Come forward (STEP UP); 15A: Liqueur often used to flavor tiramisu (AMARETTO); 16A: Benedict XIII's family name (ORSINI); 17A: Emeril might make one with provolone (TUNA MELT); 19A: Certain Honshu native (OSAKAN); 20A: Followers: Suff. (-ITES); 22A: Auntie Em's st. (KAN.); 23A: A transfer might entail one, briefly (RELO); 24A: Gang follower? (-STER); 33A: Jungian archetype (ANIMA); 34A: Caf´ drinker's request (LECHE); 35A: Big talk (ORATION); 37A: Jell-O shot ingredient (WHISKEY); 39A: Simple organism (MONAD); 40A: Milo, e.g. (GRAIN); 46A: Luxor's river (NILE); 48A: Organization with many boomers (AARP); 52A: Wee (SMA'); 53A: __ Mawr (BRYN); 54A: Google Earth, e.g. (MAPPER); 58A: Ojibwa speakers (CHIPPEWA); 60A: (ITALIA); 61A: Cramped (HAMPERED); (BEYOND); 63A: Waits for, at an intersection (YIELDS TO); 2D: Tickle (AMUSE); 3D: Place for a low bridge (CANAL); 4D: Former capital on the Vistula River (KRAKOW); 6D: Rate __: be perfect (A TEN); 7D: N.L. Central team (STL); 8D: Brisk seller (HOT ITEM); 9D: Gets serious (SOBERS); 10D: A third of nueve (TRES); 11D: Pawtucket hrs. (EST); 13D: Like a dinosaur embryo (UNHATCHED); 14D: They activate hammers (PIANO KEYS); 21D: Huge amount of power (TERAWATT); 24D: 1963 Chevrolet debut (STINGRAY); 25D: They're often drawn (ALES); 27D: Speakeasy owners' concerns (RAIDS); 28D: Rescuer of Odysseus (INO); 29D: Rappers' accessories, in slang (BLING); 31D: Close (PROXIMATE); 32D: 1898 battle site (MANILA BAY); 41D: Like dirty jokes (RAUNCHY); 44D: Nut feature (THREAD); 45D: Went on and on (YAPPED); 50D: Keep from drying out (REWET); 53D: Russian pancake (BLIN); 54D: Some street art (MIME); 55D: Kitchen item: Abbr. (APPL.).