Theme: Lazy River — Theme answers are familiar two-word phrases where the meaning of the last word can relate to a river.
- 17A: Soft mattress topper (FEATHER BED).
- 26A: Edison's electrical preference (DIRECT CURRENT).
- 44A: Government-owned financial institutions (NATIONAL BANKS).
- 57A: "Show Boat" classic, and where to find the ends of 17-, 26- and 44-Across (OL' MAN RIVER).
Seems like there are a few entries in this puzzle that are a little surprising for a Monday. Not off-the-charts or anything, and crosses are all good, so I'm not saying their unfair. In fact, I think I'm saying it's nice to see a little something different on Monday. I'm talking, of course, about RADNOR, FABI and, to a certain extent, even SASHAYS (which I wanted to be "struts") (9D: Philadelphia suburb / 52D: Formula One racer Teo __ / 41D: Walks with attitude).
I'm not exactly sure what to make of the theme. I get it that the last words can relate to rivers, but why "Ol' Man River" specifically? I thought maybe BED, CURRENT, and BANKS were actually words in the song, but they're not. And, obviously, BED, CURRENT, and BANKS aren't exclusively to the Mississippi (which is what "Old Man River" generally refers to), so yeah. It's fine. But it's not awesome. We are, however, treated to a little Scrabbliness with NIKITA, CAPSIZE, SHAQ, and MR. X (21A: '50s-'60s USSR leader Khrushchev / 43D: Turn over at sea / 51D: NBAer O'Neal / 59D: Mysterious guy), so we've got that going for us.
- 23A: Grafton's "__ for Corpse" (C IS). Have we talked about these books before? Sue Grafton writes a series of mystery novels that starts with "A Is for Alibi," and goes through the alphabet from there. I don't know how far she's gotten. I listened to an audiobook of one of them several years ago and didn't love it, so I haven't really kept up.
- 31A: Bills with George on them (ONES). See also 8D: Prez on a penny (ABE).
- 33A: "No Strings Attached" pop group ('N SYNC). Justin Timberlake's old group. I just happened to be watching this clip yesterday:
- 48A: Big mouth, in slang (YAP). As in "Shut yer yap!"
- 60A: Scold severely (FLAY). I'm thinking that FLAY has a much more violent meaning than "scold." … Yep: "to strip off the skin or surface of." I'd prefer if "scold" was the first definition that came to my mind instead of the other.
- 45D: Customs levy (IMPOST). I'm pretty sure I've never heard this word before. Is that possible?
- 49D: Big Broadway hit, in slang (BOFF). We talked about BOFFO in CW101 not too long ago. I guess that extra syllable is just too much sometimes.
- 54D: __ Ration: pet food (KEN-L). Is it my imagination or have we been seeing this a lot lately?
Other crosswordese in the puzzle that we've already covered:
- 56A: Workplace protection org. (OSHA).
- 63A: Online help pages, briefly (FAQ'S).
- 53D: Nike competitor (AVIA).
Everything Else — 1A: Money in Mumbai (RUPEE); 6A: Lose effectiveness, as painkillers, with "off" (WEAR); 10A: Wild or Old region (WEST); 14A: Pole vault, e.g. (EVENT); 15A: Palindromic pop group (ABBA); 16A: Big fair (EXPO); 19A: Eagerly excited (AGOG); 20A: Monterey County seat that's the birthplace of John Steinbeck (SALINAS); 24A: Set aside for later (STORE); 32A: Roman moon goddess (LUNA); 36A: NBA position (CTR.); 37A: Grazing land (PASTURE); 39A: Small taste (SIP); 40A: Composer of marches (SOUSA); 42A: Like most pets (TAME); 43A: Fashion's Chanel (COCO); 47A: Super Bowl XXI MVP Phil (SIMMS); 49A: Diocese leader (BISHOP); 52A: Abandon (FORSAKE); 61A: Croat's neighbor (SERB); 62A: Online read (E-ZINE); 64A: City transport (TAXI); 65A: Real bargains (DEALS); 1D: NFL arbiters (REFS); 3D: Ring loudly (PEAL); 4D: Draws in (ENTICES); 5D: Cultural, as cuisine (ETHNIC); 6D: Major conflicts (WARS); 7D: Flow away, as a tide (EBB); 10D: Loses strength (WEAKENS); 11D: Former soldier (EX-GI); 12D: Dick and Jane's dog (SPOT); 13D: Forum garb (TOGA); 18D: "Born in __": Cheech Marin film (EAST L.A.); 22D: Good-night girl of song (IRENE); 24D: Beach bronzings (SUNTANS); 25D: Psychological shock (TRAUMA); 26D: Medicos (DOCS); 27D: Division word (INTO); 28D: Show over (RERUN); 29D: Standard practice (CUSTOM); 30D: Boxing's "Iron Mike" (TYSON); 34D: Shaver's mishap (NICK); 35D: USN noncoms (CPO'S); 37D: Barbecue site (PATIO); 38D: Trust, as a friend (RELY ON); 46D: Kept out (BARRED); 50D: Land in el mar (ISLA); 55D: "__ Tu": 1974 hit (ERES); 58D: Grazing land (LEA).