Jim Page has had some good puzzles since I started this Madness...here's one of my favorites from about six months ago. That was some fun theme.
Today's was pretty enjoyable as Wednesdays go. The theme is revealed at 36A: Slogan popularized in the 1980s...and a hint to 17-, 25-, 28-, 48-, 51- and 60-Across (JUST SAY NO).
But in this case, we don't say it.
17A: À la a free-for-all (holds barred).
25A: Really easy decision (brainer). Here's where I caught on. Knew the answer (it was a no-brainer), and I took it from there.
28A: Bum (goodnik).
48A: Restricted airspace (fly zone).
51A: Pitcher's coup (hit game). Having recently watched plenty of baseball games, I wanted no-hitter (or hitter, in this case). Don't know how I finally figured it out. There were some tough crosses in that area.
60A: Mediocre (great shakes)...my favorite.
I always love to get 1-Across, and I hate when I don't. Today I didn't. The only NPR person I know of is Noah Adams...they wanted [NPR host __ Conan] (Neal). Didn't help that I didn't know if he was Neil or Neal, and I absolutely did not know the cross at 3D: Wing part (aileron). That just looks like it's spelled wrong, but I checked it out. Airplane wing, not chicken wing. Here's where you'll find out all about ailerons...and to the right is Neal Conan.
One of my favorite legal words makes another appearance today. 5A: Prevents, in legalspeak (estops). He was estopped from taking their children across the state line. Does that not sound so very cool? Was estopped...
15A: Blubber (boo hoo) made me laugh. I wanted a word that had to do with whale blubber.
I am totally clueless on 36D: Self-professed ultrapatriot (Jingo). I'm pretty certain about all the crosses, though, so I don't think that's the wrong word. I'm sure someone will set me straight on this. Jingo and aileron...the only two never-before-heard words in this puzzle.
There were several gimmes, in addition to my beloved estops.
30A: Mimieux of "Where the Boys Are" (Yvette). I think I've said here before that I remember her from an episode of Dr. Kildare called Tiger, Tiger. She played a surfer who had epilepsy. Despite Dr. Kildare's warnings, she continued to surf, had a seizure and drowned. So very sad.
32A: World Series prize (ring). I guess I didn't really know this. I know a ring is the Super Bowl prize, so it seemed likely.
46A: Hunky sort (Adonis). I can't hear (or read) the word without thinking about someone I knew about 35 years ago. He once commented that women loved his Adonis body. I worked with seven or eight women, and none of us thought that. A legend in his own mind...
2D: Wind and rain cause it (erosion).
8D: "The Dick Van Dyke Show" catchphrase (oh, Rob). Can't you just hear Laura?
12D: Wheaties box adorner (athlete).
22D: Muralist Rivera (Diego). Here he is with his equally artistic wife, Frida Kahlo.
26D: "__ calling!" (Avon).
43D: Handle (moniker). Love the word.
Others I liked, either because of the clue or the answer...or both. 23A: Become bored by (tire of), 35A: Double curves (ogees), 39A: Fabled "snowmen" (Yetis), 53A: Good horseshoe toss (leaner), 67A: Hal David output (lyrics)...Raindrops Keep Fallin' on my Head, 9D: "The bill and coo of sex" per Elbert Hubbard (poetry), 11D: Warming, of sorts (detente), 41D: 100 percent (totally), 44D: Like Carter's presidency (one term), 47D: Excessively flattering (smarmy), and 50D: 1952 Brando role (Zapata).
58A: "Whoso diggeth __ shall fall therein": Proverbs (a pit)...there's a lesson for all of us.
64A: Suffragist Bloomer (Amelia). A good guess on my part...I only had one vowel in place, but I don't remember which it was.
That's all for tonight. Here's the grid...
...and I'll see you tomorrow.