An unfamiliar duo, Ronald and Nancy Byron, turn small talk about the weather into a theme for today's puzzle.
The three theme answers are all clued in relation to a song from the sixties:
20A: 1960s weather song by Peter, Paul and Mary (Blowin' in the Wind).
36A: 1960s weather song by the Beatles (Here Comes the Sun)...from Abbey Road, one of my all-time favorite albums.
51A: 1960s weather song by the Cascades (Rhythm of the Rain). This one was less familiar to me, and I needed a couple of downs to get it. The RH beginning had me thinking something was wrong with my down answers.
Favorite clues and answers include 23A: Sacagawea dollar and others (coins), 25A: Secret matters (arcana), 44A: Animals with brown summer fur (stoats)...pictured at left, 46A: Clear jelly used as a garnish (aspic), 49A: "__ Gavotte," "My Fair Lady" tune (Ascot), 58A: Prospero's servant in "The Tempest" (Ariel), 59A: Mallorca or Menorca, por ejemplo (isla), 61A: New Orleans's Vieux __ (Carré)...more commonly known as the French Quarter, 9D: Egyptian symbol of life (ankh), 10D: Lamebrain (nitwit), 39D: Self-aggrandizing acts (ego trips), 43D: Some '60s protests (sit-ins), 44D: Carry, slangily (schlep) and 48D: Combustible funeral structures (pyres).
I read the clue for 17A: Voice below soprano (alto) but totally missed the similar cluing at 28D: Voice below baritone (bass).
The clue for 18A [Follow persistently, as a celebrity] was a bit too mild for the answer. Stalk implies some sort of perversion or sickness...often heading toward the criminal side.
46D: Criminal burning (arson) was a sad reminder that the arsonist was released last week, pending further investigation. I'm sure there is an eye on his every move...fortunately, there haven't been any more fires.
That's it for tonight. I'm off to join Don...working the puzzle in the living room. He's not enjoying it as much as I had hoped. That's okay...he enjoys running a lot more than I do.
Here's the grid...
...and I'll see you tomorrow.