This was a nice puzzle to tackle after a long day of shopping. PuzzleHusband's office holiday party is tomorrow night so I needed a new fancy dress. And, oh my God, you wouldn't believe the sparkly shoes I got! I'm not really into dressing up that much, but I'm kinda looking forward to putting this particular outfit on. Sparkly shoes!
Anyway. I had a little trouble in the northeast but everywhere else I was able to piece together from crosses more or less smoothly. The first problem I had was entering "ghosts" where GHOULS was supposed to go (22A: Halloween sightings?). That gave me *AGET for 7D, which obviously didn't work. It also gave me LSSTRE for 20D: Brilliance, in Bristol, a mistake I didn't notice for quite a while and which turned out to be the key to the whole mess. The L finally made BAGEL appear (7D: Follower of everything?) and then ::head-slap:: BEN E. KING! (7A: "Spanish Harlem" singer) That's a really tricky answer, dontcha think?! With the middle initial and all? I kept thinking "Is there someone named Gene King? Is it just a last name I've never heard of? Lenekind? Wenekint?" Yeah, it was ugly.
Highlights of the grid for me include CONCRETE JUNGLE (30A: Dangerous inner city area), PANDORA'S BOX (24D: Repository of Greek mythology), and NANOTECHNOLOGY (38A: Subject of Michael Crichton's "Prey"). Awesome long answers.
- 17A: Dalí had a pet one (OCELOT). I learned this while looking for a picture to post with a Dalí reference recently. I knew it was an unusual animal, but couldn't actually come up with it without crosses though.
- 18A: Sitcom with a robot named Hymie (GET SMART). This show is far enough before my time that I don't know a lot of the details, but I'm nonetheless always happy to see it.
- 48A: Inventor who received a lifetime achievement Grammy in 1970 (MOOG). He died recently. Let me see when … 2005. Man time really flies. Even when you're not having fun.
- 49A: Tarot suit (CUPS). Other tarot suits are swords and … pentacles and, um, some other stuff.
- 1D: Event for 41-Across (PROM).
- 4D: Woody Allen film (ZELIG). I've always had some vague knowledge of this particular movie, but the only reason I came up with it quickly today is because it appeared in a Woody Allen–themed New York Times puzzle recently.
- 12D: "Wicked Game" singer Chris (ISAAK). I prefer this song.
- 31D: She "sets my heart awhirl," in a 4 Seasons hit (CANDY GIRL). This answer made me go watch a video of New Edition's 1983 version of "Candy Girl" (totally different song). Wow. There are several points in the video where the boys do some kind of dance move that looks like they're trying to be sexy. I'm sure back in the day I thought that was cool but oh my God! They're like twelve years old! Now that I'm at *ahem* a different period in my life, I see how mismatched tween boys and girls look when it comes to maturity. In one part of the song, they refer to their "old ladies" and when they show the girls I honestly thought for a minute that maybe they were showing their moms. But I'm rambling. I was going to post the video here but I'm going to spare you. If you just can't help yourselves, it's here.
- 37D: Part of MS-DOS: Abbr. (SYS.). I only know what the O and the second S stand for, so I was in luck today.
- 28A: New York and Chicago have the oldest ones in the Americas (ELS).
- 39A: "The Chronic" Dr. (DRE).
- 10D: Cincinnati trio? (ENS).
- 42D: Nice friends (AMIES).
- 46D: Cousins of foils (ÉPÉES).
Everything Else — 1A: Psychiatrist's recommendation (PROZAC); 15A: NFL team named for a Poe poem (RAVENS); 16A: Male models, often (ADONISES); 19A: Reason for an award (MERIT); 20A: TV host with a substantial car collection (LENO); 21A: Morning choice (JAVA); 24A: __ face (POKER); 25A: Music-licensing org. (BMI); 29A: Circulation aid (FAN); 36A: Munsee-speaking people (DELAWARE INDIANS); 40A: Gas: Pref. (AER-); 41A: 1-Down attendees: Abbr. (SRS.); 42A: Polyester used in casting (ALKYD); 45A: Topsy-turvy state (BEDLAM); 50A: Old Asian title (SAHIB); 54A: Gall (IRRITATE); 56A: Scour, e.g. (ABRADE); 57A: Weaken (ENERVATE); 58A: Easy to handle (DOCILE); 59A: Great Lakes routes (SEA LANES); 60A: O, in many cases (OXYGEN); 2D: Tear (RACE); 3D: Through (OVER); 5D: Synonymous with, with "for" (ANOTHER WORD); 6D: Gary hrs. (CST); 8D: Perfect places (EDENS); 9D: Say __: refuse (NO TO); 11D: Eastern leader since 1994 (KIM JONG-IL); 13D: Courage (NERVE); 14D: The sun is one (G STAR); 23D: Fatty acid ester (OLEATE); 25D: Alphabet trio (BCD); 26D: Big name in faucets (MOEN); 27D: At Dodger Stadium, briefly (IN L.A.); 29D: Pouring aid (FUNNEL); 32D: Continental trade gp. (EEC); 33D: Holy wars (JIHADS); 34D: Vientiane's land (LAOS); 35D: Caltech grad's occ., often (ENGR.); 43D: Greene of "Bonanza" (LORNE); 44D: North __, 11-Down's country (KOREA); 45D: Mesa's cousin (BUTTE); 47D: Mount __, New York's highest peak (MARCY); 49D: "Brian's Song" Emmy nominee (CAAN); 51D: Reagan secretary of state (HAIG); 52D: Not engaged (IDLE); 53D: "It's __ too long" (BEEN); 55D: Knoxville-based agcy. (TVA); 56D: Bother (ADO).