I don't recall seeing Tom Heilman as a NYT constructor. I wonder if we have another debut on our hands.
The theme of the puzzle is revealed at 60D, clued simply as Theme of this puzzle (bees). The four theme answers are:
17A: Police ploys (sting operations).
30A: End-of-day spousal salutation (Honey, I'm home).
46A: "Call when you get the chance" (Give me a buzz).
62A: Bogart/Hepburn film (The African Queen). I've definitely heard of it, but I don't think I've ever seen it. It may be one to add to the Netflix queue.
I didn't even notice there was a theme until I got to 60D...I was just workin' the puzzle.
I like the four long down answers--each a two-word phrase that adds some pizzazz to the grid.
8D: What a welcome sight relieves (sore eyes).
10D: Lofted approaches to the green (chip shots).
36D: Social workers' work (case loads). I'll be full time the first of September, so mine will be picking up soon. Wednesday we break ground on our new permanent supportive housing project, which will provide 23 studio apartments for chronically homeless adults with mental and/or physical disabilities. While we're in the building process, I'll be developing protocols, designing forms, and taking referrals. We're very close to our fundraising goal, which will allow us to build without having to mortgage the property.
41D: Pastries in "Sweeney Todd" (meat pies). Didn't see Sweeney Todd, so I wonder about the significance of the meat pies. Were they that big a part of the movie?
There were a few things I didn't know, but all were easy to get from crosses.
22A: Omar of TV's "House" (Epps).
29D: Russian ballet company (Kirov). I don't know much about ballet, and I know absolutely nothing about Russian ballet.
31D: Outlying community (exurb). I've never heard that word before. Maybe it only applies to large cities.
I really liked 27D: Holder of a dog's name and owner info (ID tag), mostly because I got it. I generally get tripped up by clues like this, but I had most of it from the acrosses.
Nice to see a reference to reader profphil...54A: Univ. lecturer (prof). I'm sure there are many others out there, but he's one I know for sure.
There are several crossword favorites in this puzzle:
15A: Double-reed woodwind (0boe).
20A: Old Russian ruler (Tsar).
21A: Lid trouble (stye)...although it was freshly clued
39A: When said three times, a W.W. II movie (Tora).
69A: "Got it" (I see).
59D: Island garlands (leis). Less than five weeks to Hawaii. If anyone is interested in guest blogging during that time, let me know via the comments section. I'm willing to pay as much as I've been paid for my guest blogging at several sites.
I enjoyed seeing 70D: Full of lip (sassy) in the puzzle. Actually, I don't like the clue near as much as I like the answer. I think sassy is a cool word. When I bought my Solara, a friend described it as a Sassy Old Lady car. He didn't mean that it was an old lady car...it was a car that a Sassy Old Lady would drive.
I'm off to bed. Here's the grid.
See you tomorrow.