Theme: The Fonz
In each theme entry, AY is replaced with EY, to create new takes on familiar phrases.
17-A. Luminous Spanish king? : REY OF LIGHT. I was looking for a ray of light to shine down on me for finishing this puzzle unassisted. (Didn't happen.) (The light, I mean.) (I did finish.) (Unassisted.)
29-A. Chart containing only threes? : TREY TABLE. TREY usually refers to a card, die or domino with three pips, rather than the number itself.
49-A. Turkish sty leader? : BEY OF PIGS. BEY is the Turkish word for "lord." The failed Bay of Pigs invasion was a serious blot on JFK's record.
61-A. Rock in actress Susan's path, perhaps? : DEY TRIPPER. This one evoked a chuckle. Susan Dey was in "LA Law," and nothing seemed to trip her up. "Day Tripper" was a 1966 Beatles song. 2:24
10-D. Casual greeting craze? : HEY FEVER. Another chuckle. All I could think of was Willie Mays, the "Say Hey Kid."
39-D. How owls know when mice are bluffing? : PREY TELL. Guffaw! Can you picture owls and mice playing poker together? Who do you think would win, pray tell?
Six theme entries for a total of 54 squares is a nice chunk for a weekday puzzle, and they are all solid. Not too much dreck in the rest of the fill, either. Michael Sharp writes the blog "Rex Parker Does the N.Y.T. Crossword Puzzle." It's rare that we get one of his puzzles in the LAT. So, let's see what he has to offer. Marti here, back in the Thursday seat.
1. Polynesian tongue : MAORI. Ouch to start. I forgot that New Zealand, where the Maoris live, is part of Polynesia.
6. Early Democrat's foe : WHIG. I can never remember which is whig.
10. Diary closer : HASP.
14. Pump name : EXXON.
15. Premoistened cloth : WIPE. Ubiquitous freebies in stores next to the shopping carts around here, especially during flu season.
16. Still-life subject : EWER.
19. Practitioner of meditation : YOGI. Before or after he steals your pik-a-nik basket?
20. Lassie's "In a pig's eye!" : NAE. I was trying to figure out how Lassie would refuse to go get help for Timmy.
21. Monopolize : HOG.
22. Seed source of omega-3 : FLAX.
23. Back-of-the-book items : ADDENDA.
27. Bloodhound's 48-Across : NOSE. and 48-A. Plus : ASSET.
31. Salt's "Halt!" : AVAST. Nice rhyming clue.
35. Flat hat : TAM. Short for Tam o'Shanter, named after the Robert Burns character.
36. Like a comics pea? : SWEE. Poor thing was left on Popeye's doorstep.
37. Close tightly, as one's hand : CLENCH.
38. Groggy response : I'M UP.
40. "Welcome to Maui!" : ALOHA.
42. Seldom seen, to Seneca : RARA. Seneca the Roman philosopher, who was ordered by Nero to kill himself for supposedly being involved in an assassination attempt. Seneca took it stoically.
43. Grinch portrayer : CARREY. His makeup scared even me.
45. Myrna's "Thin Man" role : NORA. Tough to find new clues for this crossword staple.
47. KoKo or Yum-Yum, in Lilian Jackson Braun mysteries : CAT. All her novels' titles start with "The Cat Who..."
51. Bulldogs' home : YALE. Gimme.
53. Seven-time MLB All-Star Soriano : ALFONSO. Here I should insert some well-known fact about him, to cement his name into my memory...(From C.C.: Yankees traded Soriano for A-Rod)
54. Fair : JUST.
57. Sighing sounds : AHS.
59. Consume : EAT.
60. Bee's charge : OPIE. Aunt Bee, on the old "Mayberry RFD" TV show. [Update: The show was "The Andy Griffith Show." "Mayberry RFD" was a spin-off, and did not have either Opie or Andy in it.]
66. Hon : DOLL.
67. Lang of Smallville : LANA.
68. "Monster" (2003) co-star : RICCI. Christina. Never saw the film. I was trying to think of John Goodman's co-star in this one.
69. Like many LAX flights : INT'L. International.
70. First place? : EDEN.
71. Trap : SETUP. or SET-UP. or SET UP. I wasn't exactly sure whether to make it one word, hyphenated or two, since both the clue and the answer could be the noun or the verb form.
1. Large body of eau : MER. French for water in the clue hints at the French word for "sea."
2. Dismiss : AXE. or 49-D. Execute, in old France : BEHEAD.
3. Acne treatment brand : OXY.
4. Longtime "60 Minutes" pundit : ROONEY. The inimitable Andy. I miss his humor.
5. Babies : INFANTS.
6. Teens conflict, briefly : WWI. Oh. Not a fight between the Sharks and the Jets, but a war that took place in the teens (1914-1918). I should have noticed the missing apostrophe...Bill G., I bet it didn't get you!!
7. Up in the air : HIGH. I bet Tinbeni will have a different take on this one.
8. Droid alternative : iPHONE.
9. Day one, informally : GET GO.
11. One who might get caught off base : AWOL. "Absent without leave."
12. Company with a hedgehog mascot : SEGA. Sonic the Hedgehog.
13. ___ fixe : PRIX. I had "idée" at first....and could not get it out of my head!
18. Took out in handcuffs, say : LED AWAY.
23. 1971 prison riot site : ATTICA.
24. Works on stage : DRAMAS. Nice misdirection. I wanted something like "acts" or "plays a role..."
25. Expresses doubts : DEMURS.
26. Biblical brother : ABEL.
28. ESPN reporter Paolantonio : SAL. Move over, Mineo. There's a new sheriff in town.
30. Sierra ___ : LEONE.
32. Analgesic brand : ANACIN.
33. Skinny types : SCRAGS.
34. "Oh, really?" : THAT SO?
37. Itinerant Yuletide singer : CAROLER.
41. Georgetown player : HOYA. "What's a Hoya?"
44. LAX posting : ETA.
46. Business matters : AFFAIRS.
50. Deep-dish comfort food : POT PIE.
52. Soup dispenser : LADLE. Oh, not Nazi.
54. Author Picoult : JODI. I knew the name, but don't think I have read any of her books. Any recommendations?
55. Supported by : UPON.
56. Bank deposit : SILT. I don't think anyone is fooled by this clue any more.
58. Last word on New Year's Eve? : SYNE. "...for auld lang syne."
62. Brown in a bed : TAN. But only for us Northerners. Would anyone in Florida really need a tanning bed?
63. Loan no. : PCT. Percent.
64. Old French coin : ECU. Real old. Discontinued in the French revolution, and worth about $25 today.
65. Upholsterer's target : RIP. I will now let this post Rest in Peace.
That's all I have for now. See you on the other side!