Theme: PUNish us Marti! Wow, an old fashioned punfest from another of our resident creative corner. The first word of each four common phrases is morphed into a side-splitting sound-alike synonym of "story". What a joy to be here for this one:
20A. Mount Olympus and environs?: MYTH UNIVERSE. MISS UNIVERSE.
34A. Thinking like Aesop?: FABLE MINDED. FEEBLE MINDED. Are you talking about me?
40A. One majoring in traditional knowledge?: LORE STUDENT. LAW STUDENT.
54A. Quills for Chaucer?: TALE FEATHERS. TAIL FEATHERS.
Very straight forward and amusing theme, in the Dan Naddor tradition, wrapped in a puzzle with many of the same delights as a DN. Marti has captured the multi-word misdirection. Lemonade, now ready to lead the parade to the promised land of answers.
1. Small amount: DRIB. Well okay, a little drab but we have to start somewhere.
5. Otherwise: ELSE. Well, it could be somewhere else, but we are rolling now.
9. Rare score note: C FLAT. I will leave this to our resident music man JzB to explains C FLAT B Natural, or any other questions you all may have.
14. Spanish actress Chaplin (Charlie's granddaughter): OONA. really Marti, OONa O'Neill, Charlie's wife is not obscure enough for you you had to go for the GRAND DAUGHTER ? Well, she is cuter, and was in Quantum of Solace.
15. Songdom showgirl: LOLA. At the Copa, and Barry Manilow's house.
16. French garlic sauce: AIOLI. I see another trend here of ridiculous words with almost only vowels, and I do like my garlic sauces garlicky. Right GG?
17. Sauvignon __: GRIS. Ah, I see a mini theme here and more about our constructor, because we also have 6D. California's self-proclaimed "Zinfandel Capital of the World": LODI. GRIS means grey in both French and Spanish (French lesson of the day) and the not Blanc Sauvignon is rare, and is pinkish like many Zins.
18. Some govt. lawyers: A DAS. See what I mean about words that hard to parse, like Naddor, assistant district attorneys (yes another attorney clue).
19. They don't mix with just anybody: SNOBS. I am so glad.
23. Court statistic: ASSIST. She fooled you here, not court of law, but basketball court, go HEAT!
24. Get ready for a competition, bodybuilder-style: OIL UP. You ladies would not want see THAT.
27. Eighth-century Japanese capital: NARA. This was the capital from 710 to 784, and is now part of the Kansai region in southern Japan.
29. Met: RAN INTO. Another double word.
31. Levels: KOS. Knocks Out. Not to be confused with 3D. Some OKs: INITS. Some are initials and some are abbreviations,
36. Simple step: A TO B. or a similar trick, 30D. Eat to excess: OD ON. Overdose on and another weird letter string, or 44D. Exactly: TO A T.
38. Nuke: ZAP. Have you ever microwaved a Moon Pie? Seen that movie?
39. First name in architecture: EERO. Mr. Saarinen, and more vowels. 57D. City north of Pittsburgh: ERIE. I wonder if Mr. Saarinen ever lived there.
45. Howard of Hollywood: RON. Our little Opie all grew up and making movies, with a few Happy Days on the way.
46. It may be tapped: BEER KEG. When my son says he tapped that, I do not have to get nervous because he is pointing at a Keg.
47. Sainted pope called "the Great": LEO I. I had this guy last Friday, so you know where to go to get more information.
49. Escargot: SNAIL. For anyone out there who did not know this fact, and has eaten and enjoyed escargot, I am sorry to disillusion you.
50. Sinus-clearing condiment: WASABI. This Japanese favorite is a relative of horseradish, cabbage and mustard.
58. Up and about: ASTIR. Oh, Marti, ans A-word.
61. Early Macy's Day Parade balloon designer: SARG. A really fine Friday clue, this PUPPETEER was a mentor to Bil Baird, who was popular when I was growing up.
62. Highchair component: TRAY. Simple, but true.
63. One of the Allman Brothers: DUANE. He like so many other musicians died too young, and was the inspiration for the southern rock movement, GREGG, his younger brother married Cher for a week or so.
64. "Grand" or "demi" ballet move: PLIE. Did you all spot any of this knee bending move (PLIER is to bend in French, lesson 2) in this MOVIE ?
65. Auxiliary: AIDE. Very popular at hospitals.
66. Game with blocks: JENGA. I have never played this game of careful building and un building.
67. Card, e.g.: NLER (National Leaguer). Very tricky, a St. Louis Cardinal, like Albert Pujols.
68. Break: REST.
How thoughtful of Marti to give us a pause before we start
1. Matter of faith: DOGMA. My favorite interpretation of this CONCEPT .
2. Golfer Sabbatini and actor Calhoun: RORYS. What an odd couple, an ill-tempered South African golfer and a handsome western actor from the 50s, who began his life robbing jewelry stores, and spent time in San Quentin. We could have gone all golf with RORY McIlroy, since RORY is Gaelic for Red King.
4. Knock down during a raid: BASH IN. Elliot Ness was famous for that maneuver.
5. Hyundai sedan: ELANTRA.
7. Pole, for one: SLAV. Polish women are beautiful, but they are only part of this diverse ETHNO-CULTURAL group.
8. Facility: EASE. Not a place to stay, but a way to do it.
9. Kennedy designer: CASSINI. Oleg designed most of Jackie's wardrobe.
10. Small distinction: FINE LINE. I really like this tricky little fill.
11. Where to go in London?: LOO. Or WC, just not on a bobby's foot.
12. Eastern N.Y. airport: ALB. Albany.
13. "Angela's Ashes" sequel: 'TIS. Frank McCourt's autobiographical follow up.
21. Govt. jet set?: USAF. United States Air Force, nice clue and fill, the Govt. tells you it will be an abbreviation, the rest is nicely visual.
22. Go nowhere special: ROAM. Like the deer and the antelope and the jackalopes.
25. Fail, after "go": UNDER. Many businesses have suffered this fate in the last 6 years.
26. Wing: Prefix: PTERO. Our friend the flying dinosaur, the pterodactyl, for example. How many believe all dinosaurs were birds, even T-Rex? Who doesn't love a word with PT starting.
28. '70s congresswoman known as "Battling Bella": ABZUG. A wonderful woman who loved her HATS.
29. Ward off: REPEL. Yes, wear garlic and no vampires will be biting on you.
31. De__, Illinois: KALB. Named after a German national who died helping fight the Brits during the revolution, Also a county in Georgia.
32. Chiwere speakers: OTOES. Marti loves them vowels, and once again we have TOES in our puzzle, this time of the O nature. All perps for me, but I will try and remember for next time.
33. Philosopher Kierkegaard: SOREN. A very influential THINKER who discoursed on many subjects, and is considered the father of existentialism.
35. Boy: LAD. After our earlier debates, I have no comment.
37. Dressing down: BERATING. Yes, my father liked to give us a dressing down, but he would forget the "R."
41. Mountain destination: SKI AREA. Yes, just back from European skiing, she said.
42. Spill: TELL. 56D. Spill : FALL. Clecho alert!
43. Yanni fan, maybe: NEW AGER. DEAF GUY also fits.
48. 1987 Beatty/Hoffman flop: ISHTAR. Has anyone seen it? All of it?
51. Isolated nest: AERIE. Crosswordese.
52. Finishing nails: BRADS. Not your finger ones.
53. "The best __ to be": Browning : IS YET. Considering our average age, Robert Browning said it for us, "Grow old along with me! The best is yet to be, the last of life, for which the first was made."
55. Jazz venue?: ESPN. Oh, our sports fan has deceived with the Utah Jazz NBA team. Go HEAT!.
58. Trans. or intrans.: ADJ. The absolute hardest fill for me as I know these terms only with verbs not adjectives, but as always I am WRONG .
59. Go after, in a way: SUE. Enough lawyer jokes, already.
60. Avoid burning, perhaps: TAN. On that note, your very TAN humble servant has once again finished his mission, having had a great ride through the mind of our dear HeartRx, who put a perfect book end on a week with JL CC and Hard G, next time you need to get your name in grid Ms. D-C. (Are you related to the comic books?)
Note from Marti (a ski bum, hence the great entry SKI AREA)
The "seed" entry for this puzzle was MYTH INFORMATION. But, I had to scrap that one in order to get better fill. I will never give up good fill for a theme entry, and am always willing to re-work a grid several times before I am satisfied that it will meet with The Corner's approval! I think MYTH UNIVERSE fills the bill in this case, though. I originally had LORE CLASSES ("lower classes") and TALE FORTUNES ("Tell fortunes"), neither of which is really "in the lingo". So, this is the final product that I came up with, along with Rich's brilliant (devious?) editing of the clues, which make it a Friday-friendly (?) offering. I hope it gave you all a challenge!