I've put off blogging for more than an hour because I was so tired. Now I can't stop yawning. I'm guessing this will be a quick one.
Not that Alan Arbesfeld doesn't deserve more...in addition to a theme with five long answers, he's given us some good fill to chew on.
The theme is revealed at 59A: What the starts of 17-, 26-, 37- and 52-Across are (things drawn)...and the theme answers are:
17A: Play follower, usually (curtain call).
26A: Loofah, e.g. (bath sponge).
37A: Circulatory system flow (bloodstream).
52A: Shoot-'em-up figure (gunslinger).
The two long down answers are mighty nice.
11D: Saroyan novel, with "The" (Human Comedy). Struggled to come up with a name for 32A: Pest control brand (d-CON), so this looked pretty strange for a time.
25D: Hoops coach with the most N.C.A.A. Division I wins (Bobby Knight). A few months ago I didn't know about the man...tonight, it was a gimme.
Some of my favorite clues/answers:
14A: Sign of spring (Aries). Got the answer but didn't get it at first...clever.
20A: Amateurish (bush). This was priceless. I hadn't thought of that definition of the word before.
31A: Start the pot (ante up). Ante shows up fairly often, but there's something about this one that I like.
41A: Singer __ P. Morgan (Jaye). I remember her from game shows a hundred years ago...didn't know she was a singer. Here she is with Kermit.
48A: For dieters (nonfat). That was my third answer for that clue. I immediately put lowcal, then changed it to lowfat. I finally got it because of 38D: Old Dodge (Omni).
55A: Clobber, biblically (smite)...absolutely the funniest clue ever.
68A: Site of Ali's Rumble in the Jungle (Zaire). A great word, as is its cross at the Z...57D: Wood-shaping tool (adze). That's one I learned from Scrabble games with my mother in the late sixties.
10D: Primrose family member (oxlip). Such an ugly name for such a pretty flower. I'm too tired to include pictures tonight, but here's one.
12D: "It slipped my mind!" (I forgot). That's almost not funny...it happens far too often.
13D: Letterman lists (top tens).
24D: "Wheel of Fortune" buy (an O). Far better clue than referring to a year in Spain.
34D: Red Sox div. (AL East). If it weren't for the Rockies and their bid for the World Series, I wouldn't have known this. For the record, I'm not a huge sports fan, so the Bosox fans out there needn't razz (phooey...that was yesterday's word) me about the upcoming games. I'm just excited that the Rockies made it this far.
39D: Singer of the 1962 hit "The Wanderer" (Dion). Talk about a double standard...if a woman had done a song like that, you know what they'd say about her.
41D: Tools for making twisty cuts (jigsaws)...good Scrabbly word.
42D: Barnard grads (alumnae). It sure didn't help that I'd originally read the clue as Barnyard grads.
49D: Fakes, as an injury (feigns).
Things I didn't know but got from crosses:
21A: "__ economy is always beauty": Henry James (In art).
47A: Actress Chase of "Now, Voyager" (Ilka). Here's a picture of her from the trailer for that movie.
46D: "Deal or No Deal" network (NBC). Never heard of it...the show, I mean. Of course I've heard of NBC.
61D: Here, in Paris (ici).
Here's the grid...
...and I'll see you tomorrow.