When I saw David Quarfoot's name on the byline, I was a little nervous. I scanned the clues and saw several gimmes...even thought I might be able to nail this one.
I was wrong.
Which is not to say that I didn't do fairly well, given that it was a Quarfoot puzzle. I ended up with only a few blanks...all filled in after a quick visit to Dogpile.
9A: 23-Across and others (beiges)...23A: Shade shade (ecru). Don't ask me how I got that immediately.
15A: One and only (true love). I thought it was too corny to be true.
18A: Key that doesn't include 58-Across (E major)...58A: It's almost a B, scorewise (A sharp). I am truly thankful for piano lessons...some things have stayed with me.
25A: Biblical miracle setting (Cana).
26A: Powerful piece (queen).
47A: Meccan pilgrim (Hadji).
55A: Spotter's confirmation (I see it).
65A: Judge of films (Reinhold). I love his name...love that I got it.
1D: Henry Clay or William Jennings Bryan (statesman).
3D: Versatile actors may play them (dual roles).
11D: Stuck (in a rut).
12D: 11 1/2" soldier (GI Joe).
I liked the identically clued...but very different...34A: Pilot's place (sky) and 60A (gas range).
I also liked the words I could make by different parsing of multiword answers. 63A: Fancy haberdashery item (ascot tie) becomes A SCOTTIE...46D: Calm (at ease) becomes A TEASE. I came up with entertaining clues as well.
Speaking of multiword answers, others include 1A: War-torn Baghdad suburb (Sadr City), 16A: Weather Channel topic (El Niño), 29A: Call from home (yer out), 31A: 1936 N.L. leader in slugging percentage (Mel Ott)...the two names tripped me up, 37A: Part of Manhattan's Alphabet City (Avenue C), 39A: "Be honest" (don't lie), 2D: It forbids religious tests for political office (Article VI), 7D: It might hold a couch potato's potato (TV tray), 34D: Enter gently (slide into), 35D: Head of state known to his people as "Dear Leader" (Kim Jong-il), 36D: "Of course" (yes, indeed), and 43D: Swee' Pea's creator (E. C. Segar).
This was some of the best fill I've seen in a long time. Maybe I was just more on Quarfoot's wavelength tonight...as opposed to other times when I've had fewer than a dozen solid answers.
It wasn't a gimme, but it didn't take long to remember 17A: Fleet runner of myth (Atalanta) when I had just a couple of letters in place.
Tripped up on 53D: Underhand? (peon)...thought I was so clever when I filled in palm.
I have an early meeting tomorrow and a long day to boot. I'm so ready for my Saturday at home. Have I mentioned how much I'm lovin' my no-driving day?
That's it for tonight. Here's the grid...
...and I'll see you tomorrow.