Nice Wednesday puzzle from C. W. Stewart...good theme answers, some out-of-the-ordinary fill.
The theme is revealed at 38A: Word that can follow the starts of 17-, 21-, 58- and 64-Across and 3- and 40-Down (balls).
The theme answers:
17A: Fund-raiser wear, perhaps (black tie).
21A: Yellow flower (buttercup).
58A: Artist's smudge remover (gum eraser).
64A: 1952 Gary Cooper western (High Noon). If you missed KarmaSartre's "Don't Forsake Me, Darlin' Blogger," be sure to check it out here. He gets much of the credit (the blame?) for the swift end to my sabbatical.
3D: "All in the Family" nickname (Meathead).
40D: Cajole (soft soap). This was the last theme answer to come to me. I was sure I had something wrong in that southeast corner. The cross at 60A: Goes for (costs) and 51A: Aqualung, e.g., in the 1971 Jethro Tull album (lecher) just wasn't coming together.
Some of my favorites:
14A: Chief Hun, in Scandinavian legend (Atli).
15A: Bygone political council (Soviet).
19A: Superlawyer Gerry (Spence).
25A: Metric volume measure (stere).
33A: Lacking subtlety (blatant).
63A: Cure-all (elixir)...crossing at the X with 53D: Either President Bush (Texan). I could think of several appropriate answers...but I had trouble coming up with one that had five letters.
6D: Out (alibi). That seems like a much-tougher-than-Tuesday clue. I just realized that this is Wednesday...so I changed the first sentence of the post. These three-day weekends can be confusing.
30D: Iraqi port (Basra)...finally remembered that from previous puzzles.
34D: Breaks in concentration (lapses). I've had a few of those since I started this post. My computer wasn't cooperating, and I had to reboot in the middle of posting. That's one of my pet peeves...another is that I'm so impatient when I have to reboot. What are we talking? Five minutes or less...
47D: Repeller of evil (amulet).
48D: Pizza box logo (domino). The next time you get a Domino's pizza, be sure to read everything on the box...including (especially!) the bottom.
I caught some improper parsing as I was reading over the grid. 44D: Arranging in rows (tiering)...not tie ring.
Time to wrap up for tonight. These early morning meetings may be an indication of what's in store as my job morphs into a new shape.
Here's the grid...
...and I'll see you tomorrow.