- 20A: Oil company's penchant for employee transfers? (EXXON MOBILITY).
- 29A: Measure of neighborhood drug traffic? (OPIUM DENSITY).
- 46A: Egotism that brings you to tears? (MOVING VANITY).
- 56A: Pigmentation variations? (SKIN DIVERSITY).
I have to admit I'm a little disappointed in the theme in that two of the phrases are plural, which kind of seems like cheating to me. I actually thought for a quick second that the theme might be adding ‑SITY to the ends of the phrases instead of just ‑ITY. Sometimes a theme's inconsistency doesn't really bother me until I'm done with the puzzle and am reviewing it again. But today, it actually bothered me during the solve. For what it's worth.
- 1A: W.E.B. Du Bois was among its founders (NAACP). I do so love it when 1 Across is a bit, fat gimme.
- 6A: Coot's cousin (RAIL). Are these some type of animal? … Yes, birds. Apparently, a coot looks (and acts) rather like a duck.
- 19A: Far Hills, N.J.-based sports org. (USGA). United States Golf Association.
- 23A: Pennzoil letters (SAE). According to Wikipedia, this refers to the Society of Automotive Engineers' "numerical code system for grading motor oils to their viscosity characteristics."
- 24A: Carrier with a hub at LAX (UAL). Why did I try UAW first? Anybody know? No? Okay.
- 35A: Where Charlie was trapped, in a Kingston Trio hit (MTA).
- 41A: "Liz: The Elizabeth Taylor Story" star Sherilyn (FENN). This is the first entry of the mini-theme of Actresses Who Look Like Other Actresses. Here's Sherilynn FENN and Julianna Margulies.
See also 9D: LEELEE Sobieski of "Joy Ride" (2001) and Helen Hunt.
I looked through Sobieski's past work on IMDb but don't think I've seen a single one of her movies or television shows. Which is weird, because I absolutely know her as "that actress who looks like Helen Hunt."
- 44A: "__ Woman": 1975 hit (I'M A). Raise your hand if you tried "I AM Woman" first. Only off by a couple years.
- 66A: Like many a motel air conditioner (NOISY). Ain't that the truth.
- 69A: One who's generally bottled up? (GENIE).
- 4D: Puccini's "O mio babbino __" (CARO). I totally guessed on this one. It just sounded right. I would translate this is "Oh my sweet baby." How'd I do? … Darn. "Babbino" is actually "papa," and "caro" is "dear."
- 31D: Hardly the drill sergeant type (SOFTY).
- 33D: Fowl on a menu (CAPON). Again with the birds. What is this, a duck? I sure don't know much today. A CAPON is actually a castrated rooster.
- 39D: Man, e.g. (OMNIVORE). I'm not a big fan of the word "man" used as a substitute "human."
- 40D: See, and then some (RAISE). Poker reference.
- 48D: Family gathering staples (VIDEOS). Me: "Why would a family be gathering staples?"
- 57D: F and G, but not H (KEYS). This is a music reference. Notes of the scale only go from A to G. So you might hear a song in the key of F or G, but you'll never hear a song in the key of H.
- 60D: Sportscaster Costas (BOB). Love him.
Crosswordese 101 Round-up:
- 10A: Barcelona-born muralist (SERT).
- 15A: Coastal predator (ERNE).
- 62A: Like Erté's art (DECO).
- 29D: '90s "SNL" regular Cheri (OTERI).
Everything Else — 14A: Of an arm bone (ULNAR); 16A: Hawaii neighbor (MAUI); 17A: "The Wreck of the Mary __" (DEARE); 18A: Benefit (SAKE); 25A: Con opening (NEO-); 32A: Part of CPA: Abbr. (ACCT.); 36A: Doomed city (SODOM); 37A: Red (RARE); 38A: Peruvian address (SEÑOR); 42A: Puccini offering (OPERA); 45A: Muy, across the Pyrenees (TRÈS); 50A: "Wheel of Fortune" buy (AN A); 51A: Half a cocktail (TAI); 52A: "Kinda" suffix (-ISH); 53A: Half-witted (DIM); 60A: Pedestal (BASE); 63A: Any Frankie Avalon song (OLDIE); 64A: Follow (OBEY); 65A: Gardener, at times (HOER); 67A: Crown's girl, in a 1935 opera (BESS); 68A: "Gotcha" ("I SEE"); 1D: Sculptors' subjects (NUDES); 2D: Billy Joel's daughter (ALEXA); 3D: Has __ to grind (AN AXE); 5D: Asset protection plan, briefly (PRE-NUP); 6D: Determined (RESOLUTE); 7D: __-Israeli War (ARAB); 8D: Equitable way to pay (IN KIND); 10D: Blue books? (SMUT); 11D: 1969 road movie (EASY RIDER); 12D: Toupee (RUG); 13D: Madre's hermana (TIA); 21D: Injures badly (MAIMS); 22D: They're not free of charge (IONS); 30D: Frenzy (MANIA); 32D: Coffee asset (AROMA); 34D: Climbers' obstacles (CREVASSES); 43D: Fighting (ANTI); 47D: Kingsley role (GANDHI); 49D: Crowd (THRONG); 53D: Slew (DID IN); 54D: Formal doorstep response (IT IS I); 55D: "Yeah, right!!" ("MY EYE!"); 58D: Slurpee alternative (ICEE); 59D: __ gin (SLOE); 61D: Harlem Globetrotters founder Saperstein (ABE).