- 18A: Engages in fanciful storytelling (SPINS A YARN).
- 28A: Bench squad (SECOND STRING).
- 46A: Connecting idea (COMMON THREAD).
- 61A: Start acting independently (CUT THE CORD).
- 14A: Show that launched Kelly Clarkson's career, familiarly (IDOL). I only watched one season of "American Idol" and think that's going to have to be enough. I might have to tune in once or twice to see how Steven Tyler is doing, but for the most part I just don't think the show will be very good without Simon (going out on a limb there, I know).
- 16A: Actor Wilson (OWEN). I've seen him a few things and he's pretty entertaining. I laughed really, really hard whe he started singing "Don't Give Up On Us Baby" in the "Starskey & Hutch" movie.
- 33A: Watson of Harry Potter films (EMMA). I believe she plays Hermione.
- 37A: Middle Corleone brother (FREDO). I don't have to explain that this is from the Godfather, do I? Okay, good.
- 54A: Prepare to drive (TEE UP). Golf!
- 1D: Nine-to-__ (FIVE). I don't think I've ever worked a nine-to-five job. My job right now is eight-to-five. How about you all?
- 3D: Wine cellar tool (CORKSCREW). I'm not exactly a wine connoisseud, so I just have to ask: is there some reason you would use the CORKSCREW in the wine cellar instead of waiting until you bring the wine upstairs?
- 9D: Saint Francis's home (ASSISI). I can never remember where the Ss go.
- 21D: Salsa fruit (MANGO). PuzzleSister made a salsa one time with jicama. It was delish.
- 34D: Came to terms (with) (MADE PEACE). My favorite entry in the grid.
- 40D: Usual fourth down play (PUNT). I'm not a football expert by any means, so this is a serious question. Is "usual" a fair characterization? I mean, I know a teams often PUNT on fourth down, but do they usually?
- 41D: Wedding party member (USHER).
- 51D: Modern witch's religion (WICCA). Here's the thing about Christine O'Donnell. Who really cares if she "dabbled in witchcraft" when she was younger? And I don't mean that in a she's-not-important-enough-to-think-about way. What I mean is: what's the problem with dabbling in witchcraft?
Other crosswordese in the puzzle that we've already covered:
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Everything Else — 1A: Payroll tax with Soc. Sec. and Medicare components (FICA); 5A: Tibet's capital (LHASA); 10A: Joe in a cup (JAVA); 15A: Vague emanations (AURAS); 17A: "Give" or "take," e.g. (VERB); 20A: Mukluk wearer (ESKIMO); 23A: The Beatles' "__ Just Seen a Face" (I'VE); 24A: Trap (SNARE); 26A: Subjects of wills (ESTATES); 32A: Ballpark entrance (GATE); 39A: Band booster (AMP); 41A: Carrier renamed in 1997 (USAIR); 42A: "... __ forgive those who trespass ..." (AS WE); 43A: "__ in Boots" (PUSS); 45A: Seventh-century date (DCI); 51A: "Yee-haw!" ("WHOOPEE!"); 55A: K+ or Na+ (ION); 56A: McDonald's symbol (ARCH); 58A: Father to many? (PRIEST); 64A: Intl. defense gp. (NATO); 65A: Ornery type (CRAB); 66A: Seasonal sleigh driver (SANTA); 67A: Micro or macro subj. (ECON.); 68A: Egyptian vipers (ASPS); 69A: Disapproved vocally (TSKED); 70A: Damp at dawn (DEWY); 2D: Mid-month time (IDES); 4D: White whale, e.g. (ALBINO); 5D: Hall of Fame manager Tommy (LASORDA); 6D: Drill sergeant's "one" (HUP); 7D: Diva's moment (ARIA); 8D: Potential splinter remover (SANDER); 10D: "Ode to __" (JOY); 11D: Watch for (AWAIT); 12D: Zeal (VERVE); 13D: Authors Rice and Tyler (ANNES); 19D: Bus. letter directive (ATTN.); 25D: Juanita's "this" (ESTA); 27D: "Middle" period (AGES); 28D: Family room piece (SOFA); 29D: Goofs (ERRS); 30D: Conductor's beat (TEMPO); 35D: Flaky mineral (MICA); 36D: Like the Mojave (ARID); 38D: 1920s-'40s art style (DECO); 44D: Blended-family parent (STEPDAD); 48D: Most insignificant (MEREST); 49D: Tourist draws (MECCAS); 50D: Unrepairable (RUINED); 52D: Doctor's time in the office (HOURS); 53D: Like much pub ale (ON TAP); 57D: Traffic complaint (HONK); 59D: Pack away (STOW); 60D: Cereal spokestiger (TONY); 62D: "Very funny" TV station (TBS); 63D: U.S. 1, for one (RTE.).