A football theme...and I got 'em all. Woo-hoo!
Okay, so they weren't very difficult, but I'll take sports points wherever (and however) I can get them.
The four theme answers consist of two football team names, with the new word then clued...
17A: Big spender's woe? (Giant Bill).
25A: Revolver toter? (Colt Packer).
37A: MasterCard-carrying ecclesiastic? (Cardinal Charger)...the funniest answer.
45A: Peter? (Chief Saint)...the best of the four.
...and all wrapped up with 56A: Where this puzzle's theme pairs would like to meet (Super Bowl).
None of the theme answers were gimmes, but I had several others, including 1A: Missing Jimmy (Hoffa), 14A: Paula of "American Idol" (Abdul), 19A: "Mule Train" singer, 1949 (Laine), 22A: Where to find the headings Books, Dolls & Bears, and Collectibles (eBay)...I've spent way too much time (and money) there, 27A: The Ewings' soap (Dallas), 42A: Greene of "Bonanza" (Lorne)...one of my childhood heroes/crushes, 52A: Country singer Milsap (Ronnie)...I haven't heard his name in years, 53A: Quick Pick game (Lotto), and 62A: Condor's nest (aerie)...a word I only know from doing crossword puzzles.
Also 4D: 1975 arbra Streisand sequel (Funny Lady), 6D: Richard's first vice president (Spiro), 9D: Spock, on his father's side (Vulcan), 10D: Asimov of sci-fi (Isaac), 12D: Bert's Muppet pal (Ernie)...named for the cab drivers in It's a Wonderful Life, and 23D: Kiddie lit elephant (Babar).
I can never remember 7D: Superman's birth name (Kal-El), and I don't imagine I will the next time I see it.
I didn't know 33D: Reggie Jackson nickname (Mr. October). It almost sounds like he was Playgirl's Playmate of the Month...but ESPN says here that it has to do with hitting home runs.
Clues and/or answers that I really liked:
16A: Take forcibly (usurp). I just like the word, although I had seize at first.
20A: Bête __ (noire). This was in a puzzle not long ago, and I managed to remember it. It's a beautiful French word that means black beast, and it can refer to something unwanted...even hated. Such a pretty word, though.
21A: Gum arabic-yielding tree (acacia). Another good word.
44A: "Blah, blah, blah..." (etc etc). I'd like to see it clued in reference to The King and I.
65A: Pasta sauce brand (Prego). I just Googled to find the literal translation of the word. It brought up several sites about Jennifer Lopez. I didn't think the term prego was still used to indicate a baby on the way. What do I know?
22D: Papal bull, e.g. (edict). Okay, I grew up Catholic, and I've never heard this. Don, on the other hand, grew up Lutheran, and he knew it. Go figure. Anyway, the clue sounds extremely disrespectful if you don't know what it means. According to Wikipedia, a Papal bull is "a special kind of patent or charter issued by a pope...named after the bulla that was appended to the end to authenticate it." Here's a papal bull, sealed with a leaden bulla. I learn something new every day.
Well, that's my third picture, so it's time to wrap things up for the night. Here's the grid...
...and I'll see you tomorrow.