Barry Silk really knows how to stack things up....with three ten-letter stacks top and bottom and six seven-letter stacks left and right.
With only one exception, the words or phrases are smooth as Silk (I've always wanted to say that.)
Stacked horizontally at the top:
1A: He had a hit with "The Joint is Jumpin" (Fats Waller). Knew this one thanks to History of Popular Music...an easy A class that was also fun and informative.
15A: First #1 hit by the Beach Boys (I Get Around). We didn't cover the Beach Boys in that class, but I was a big fan of theirs.
17A: City of the Transcontinental Railroad (Reno, Nevada). I love when the answer includes city and state, although I typically struggle to figure it out. This was no exception.
And at the bottom:
55A: Block head? (auctioneer). Great clue, Charlie Brown.
58A: Committed a sports no-no (interfered). Even a novice like me knows that's not a good thing.
60A: Succulent African shrub popular as a bonsai (Desert Rose). Here's a picture of one...although not as a bonsai.
Stacked at upper left:
1D: Internet Explorer alternative (Firefox). That was one of the answers that just hung somewhere in my brain and wouldn't come out without a lot of coaxing.
2D: Facial feature, later in life (age line). I had age spot...although you'd rarely see just one of the damn things.
3D: Carpenter, at times (tenoner). This is the one. It's better than most -er words, though, because tenon is a much better word than, say, nail or saw.
Moving to the right...
12D: Big name in credit reports (Equifax). In case you didn't know, you can get a free credit report once a year from each of three companies (Equifax, TransUnion and Experian). Go to this site every four months, alternating the company you use. It's a good way to check and make sure no one's using your credit information.
13D: Greyhounds may run in it (bus lane). Raise your hand if you were trying to think of another word for the track in dog racing.
14D: Wilde things? (satires).
At bottom left:
35D: Fictional doctor (Zhivago). That one took me far too long to get.
36D: "This is no joke!" (I mean it)...a gimme for some reason. I think we've had it a few times.
37D: Letter writing, some say (lost art). I love it...the answer, not the fact that it's a lost art. Sad but true.
And, finally, the bottom right:
40D: Like some surgery (in utero). Probably gross to some, but a good answer. Truly, it's amazing what they're able to do before birth.
41D: Group that starred in the 1968 film "Head," with "the" (Monkees). Hey, hey...
42D: Match-starting cry (en garde). I know that's been in the puzzle before, but not recently.
Before calling it quits, there were a couple of other things that I really liked:
The connected answers beginning with 25A: With 52- and 39-Across, gradually (one / step / at a time).
The line consisting of 29A: They're not originals (Xeroxes) and 31A: Materials used as inert paint fillers (silexes). Three Xs in one line!
28A: One of a primer pair (Jane).
35A: Whole slew of (zillion).
7D: Hippie happenings (love-ins).
It's way past bedtime. Here's the grid...
...and I'll see you tomorrow.