Yesterday's puzzle featured rebus as an answer...used correctly...and I reserved the right to use it incorrectly in the future. Today I had the opportunity.
Kevin Der has hidden the word cow eight times in this puzzle. Although we aren't told that it's a hint to the theme, one appears at 38A: 1980s catchphrase (WHERE'S THE BEEF). I somehow got that with only the R in place...but it was one of the only answers I had for the longest time.
This took me almost an hour to finish. I managed to figure out the theme early on, but the random placement of theme answers made for a very slow, difficult solve.
The theme answers:
5A: Freaked out (had a cow), crossing at 9D: One tied for first place (cowinner).
10A: Looks unhappy (scowls), crossing at 11D: Place for grazing (cow pasture). Because I had pasture, the theme revealed itself.
16A: Soup or salad ingredient (cow pea), crossing at 10D: Barges (scows).
17A: Beloved film character with a tail (cowardly lion)...with 1D: It makes livestock go crazy (locoweed).
41A: Baseball cover (cowhide)...with 41D: Surfer's exclamation (cowabunga)
42A: Pens together (cowrites)...with 31D: Its coat of arms features a horseman spearing a dragon (Moscow).
61A: Cry just before someone gets some big bucks? (ride 'em cowboy)...with 63D: Shrink (cower).
68A: Battle site in "Animal Farm" (cow shed)...with 44D: It may be milked for all it's worth (dairy cow).
There will be some of you who didn't like the theme at all. It was a bit clunky in spots...cow is actually part of some answers (cowhide, cowboy, cow pasture), but just consecutive letters in others (locoweed, cowrites, cower). As tough as it was, I still found it entertaining.
Most of my trouble came in the southeast corner. I was missing huge chunks, including three consecutive downs...47D: Eye in the heavens (Hubble), 48D: Ancient (age old) and 49D: "As a matter of fact, I do" (why, yes). I don't remember how it finally broke, but I just kept chipping away...guessing a few things here and there that panned out, including 66A: Catherine Deneuve was on its first U.S. cover (Elle). I just spent ten minutes looking for the cover...this will have to do.
Things I didn't know:
1A: Benjamin Harrison's vice president, __ P. Morton (Levi).
19A: Car with an acronymic name (Saab). I know the name, of course, but didn't know it was an acronym...for Svenska Aeroplan Aktiebolaget (Swedish Aeroplane Company), according to Wikipedia.
6D: __ prima (painting technique) (alla).
36D: Knife, slangily (shiv). I think I should have known this...we've probably had it more than a few times.
Things that came to me from who-knows-where:
25A: One of the so-called Southern Ivies (Emory).
37A: Mexican silver dollars (duros).
43A: Whence the line "Whatever it is, I fear Greeks even when they bring gifts" (Aeneid).
33D: Hill, in Spain (cuesta).
On the heels of a recent theme...we have at 35D: Food brand whose name is a portmanteau of two state names (OreIda).
Favorite clues include 14A: Big pullers (oxen), 15A: Out (alibi) and 46A: Spring break? (thaw).
There's so much more to this one, including some good multiword answers...but it's late and I have an early appointment.
Here's the grid...
...and I'll see you tomorrow.