If I'm not mistaken, Victor Fleming is a judge. He teams up with Joe Krozel to give us a puzzle that's laden with legalese.
I had no idea that twenty years as a paralegal would make me a better crossword solver. It did at least one time.
The seven theme answers--each fifteen letters long--all refer to some aspect of the legal process...and they are:
14A: Serious crimes (capital offenses).
17A: Perry Mason line (the defense rests). That's actually a real life line as well.
32A: Order sought by an accused before trial (admission to bail).
39A: Hearing, e.g. (court appearance).
40A: Lawyers' requests at trials (motions to strike).
57A: Equals at a trial (jury of one's peers).
63A: Specialist's offering (expert testimony).
The last two were gimmes, but I didn't really struggle with any of them. Once I had a few letters in place from the downs, they all just fell nicely into the grid. I can't help but wonder how difficult this must have been for anyone without a legal background.
A few things I didn't know:
2D: Family name in Olympic skiing (Mahre). Never heard of them.
26A: "__ Robin Gray" (classic Scottish ballad) (Auld). Definitely not the Monday clue for that word.
28A: Dr. __ Schneider, historian who was a love interest of Indiana Jones (Elsa). Again, it wouldn't have been such an out-there clue early in the week.
42A: De bene __ (of conditional validity) (esse). Similar words I didn't know were 11D: Mythical mount (Ossa), 13D: What she is in Italy (essa) and 41A: You are, in Aragón (eres). Actually, I do know that one...from this song.
It made me smile to see 4A: Johnny Carson persona (Swami). I don't remember much about him, but I do remember that role.
Favorite clues include 35D: Lucky sorts? (Irish) and 44D: Key component (ivory).
Foreign words that were easy to guess were 22D: Meal, in Milan (pasto) and 37D: French cup (tasse). You know, like antipasto (food served before the meal) and demitasse (little cup).
I liked the crossing of homonyms at 60D: Abbr. on a firm's letterhead (Esq.)...very appropriate for this puzzle...and 65A: Relative of -ish (esque). We have frequently discussed hononyms vs. homophones, but my understanding is that the word homophones more appropriately describes identical letter sounds, such as the C in civil and the S in servant. Either way, I liked it.
I just realized we have a pangram. Damn, these guys are good!
I've never heard the expression if say (8D: Suppose), and I don't quite get 51D: From Nineveh: Abbr. (Assyr). Maybe someone can shed some light on those two.
Time to call it a night. Here's the grid...
...and I'll see you tomorrow.