Theme: Sounds Like I ate it. The first word in each of the two-word theme answers is transformed from a "EYT" sound ending into a different word with the similar "EYD" sound ending, creating a new, and rib tickling phrase. There is a A B B A pattern to the replacement word ending.
Well, our first offering in some time from Mr. Harrison, who was the very first constructor we encountered when the original cast of the Corner was switched to the LA Times puzzles. Lemonade here, so let's see what Pancho has learned in the last two years.
17A. Family member whose age is showing?: GRAYED UNCLE. The beautiful boy and girl whose pictures I have posted make me a GREAT UNCLE, who also happens to have GRAYED.
27A. Horse-cavalry soldier who's hardly capricious?: STAID TROOPER. Most STATE TROOPERS are rather serious, scaring looking people.
46A. Aggressive drug enforcement strategy?: RAID INCREASE. I wish the bank would arrange a RATE INCREASE on our savings accounts; my first thought was it could have been clued as needing more bug spray.
61A. Bride's unraveling problem?: FRAYED TRAIN. Well, I guess a few honeymooners without any cash hopped on a FREIGHT TRAIN to see the world, and the brides were likely to have an old gown.
On to the show:
1. Pilfer: SWIPE. Well, STEAL also has five letters, starting with S, tough start.
6. Massenet opera: THAIS. Wow, follow that up with this opera (pronounced TA EES) based on the novel of the same name by Anatole France, and we are going very slowly. It is from the French lack of a soft TH we get T'ank You, T'ursday and T'em.
11. JFK, but not LGA: DEM. Not the airports, but the politicians they are named after, as Kennedy was a Democrat, and Fiorello LaGuardia was a Republican.
14. Distinctive characters: AURAS. I think this must be a typo, as an aura is a distinctive CHARACTERISTIC.
15. Wrap-up: RECAP.
16. Chill: ICE. Dear, it is time to chill the champagne.
19. Co. led by David Sarnoff until 1970: RCA. They owned NBC also for many years; his son went to the Rectory School, which is the reunion I am just back from attending.
20. Tivoli's Villa d'__: ESTE. This magnificent home and grounds were built by Cardinal Este, who was a son of Lucrezia Borgia, if anyone is watching the new miniseries. It has magnificent GARDENS.
21. Staff entry?: REST. This tricky clue refers to a musical notation, I believe. JzB?
22. Worn down: EATEN. The waves of the ocean eat away the shoreline.
24. Solid alcohol: STEROL. Sterols are also known as steroid alcohols. We all are familiar with the important animal one called CHOLESTEROL. They are not Scotch, frozen and eaten with a fork.
26. Vortex: EDDY. A shout out to Eddy B.
33. Line of clothing?: HEM. My mother was a wonderful nurse, but we used to have to stand by a staircase to mask the different lengths of our pant legs.
36. Jubilant cry: HOORAY. Hip, hip!
37. Pool game, perhaps: POLO. Nice deception, as water polo is played in a pool, a serious game, unlike its cousin MARCO POLO. Not to be confused with 11D. Unsportsmanlike conduct: DIRTY POOL. And as Jerome would point out a POOL can become a POLO.
38. "Unlimited free mileage" rental pioneer: ALAMO. This company began in Florida back in the 70s and was a boon to the business traveler with mileage free.
40. Washington Sq. campus: NYU. Greenwich Village New York.
41. Bikini, e.g.: ATOLL. Not the bathing suit, the islands.
42. Vacation site: ISLE. More islands.
43. Baker's container: PIE PAN. Whatever happened to the Mother Butler's Pie Shops?
45. Golfer Westwood who replaced Tiger Woods as World #1 in October 2010: LEE. Since replaced by Martin Kaymer and now Luke Donald.
49. H.S. math course: CALC. Calculus, not your easy math.
50. One who digs your jive: HEPCAT. Old beatnik talk from the 50s.
54. Swindle decoy: SHILL. The paid associate who plays the game and wins, so others will try.
56. Feint on the ice: DEKE. Any BRUIN or CANUCK fans out there? It is just an abbreviation of DECOY.
59. 39-Down recipient: HERO. 39D. Award for a 59-Across: MEDAL. One of those combinations that can't be solved on their own.
60. John of England: LOO. Not Elton, but the WC.
64. Homer's donut supplier: APU. Are you doubters beginning to see the Simpsons are an important part of Americana?
65. Dog-__: EARED. As a reader, I do not like when people do this to books.
66. Western party: POSSE. Again, deceptive, not a hoe down, but a group put together to chase bad guys.
67. Junio, por ejemplo: MES. June for example, months. We have had this before.
68. Titles: DEEDS. Titles to real property, and our first legal word of the day.
69. Unsettling expression: SNEER. My favorite is this FACE
On to the other half.
1. Wise guys: SAGES. Not the Sopranos, actual smart people.
2. Knack attachment?: WURST. This German food is not spelled KNOCKWURST
3. Hot: IRATE. I wanted to put in HOT DOGS in the wurst way.
4. Sugar daddies, e.g.: PAYERS. Finally old enough to be one, and I spent all the money already, damn.
5. Ethnic ending: ESE. Japanese, Portuguese etc.
6. "__ Lies": Schwarzenegger film: TRUE. I liked the MOVIE but maybe not anymore.
7. Brooding group: HENS. Nice imagery.
8. Invoice abbr.: ACCT. Usually followed by NO.
9. Editor's add-on?: IAL. Editorial.
10. Muscle beach brand: SPEEDO. Tight and tighter.
12. Behold, to Livy: ECCE. A bit of Latin crosswordese, meaning BEHOLD.
13. Ornery: MEAN. A good western word.
18. Traveling circus organizer in a 1964 film: DR LAO. A wonderful MOVIE with Tony Randall
23. Take in: ADOPT. I would love to adopt those four puppies.
25. First century Roman emperor: OTHO. Ah, the unexpected benefit of having a son who wants to be a Roman Archaeologist, and explaining to me about the YEAR OF FOUR EMPERORS . A very obscure answer.
26. Hatch back?: ERY. HATCHERY, another way to disguise a suffix.
28. Greek column style: IONIC. Which do you like best, Doric, Corinthian or Ionic?
29. Where some pairs are separated: DRYER. The case of the missing sock.
30. Brownish gray: TAUPE.
31. Glamour rival: ELLE. The magazines.
32. Part: ROLE. In a play.
33. Narrow margin: HAIR. He won by a hair.
34. "Lohengrin" soprano: ELSA. If you click no other link, listen to this MUSIC .
35. Motivated by spite: MALICIOUS. From the Latin MAL, meaning bad.
41. "As I Lay Dying" father: ANSE. One Faulkner's best NOVELS .
43. __ Park: Pirates' field: PNC. I can never remember if this is for Pittsburgh National Corporation or Provident National Corporation, so I looked it up, and they merged to form PNC.
44. Sounded satisfied: AAHED. Are you ooers or aahers?
47. Skinny or small, probably: ILL-FED. I associate this with skinny only, but I guess it is correct.
48. "You've Got Mail" writer/director: EPHRON. NORA is a very talented woman.
51. Belay: CEASE. A nice nautical term as we near the end.
52. Surface: ARISE. What kind of problems were coming out for Jim Tressel at Ohio State?
53. Office supply: TONER. Messy stuff.
54. Grand __: SLAM. How fitting during the French Open.
55. Optimism: HOPE. I hope you have enjoyed this Friday presentation.
56. Show gumption: DARE. I dare to believe it has turned out well.
57. Got a load of: EYED. Once you have eyed the work of this resident eye patient.
58. Converse competitor: KEDS. Yes, I wore, as converse were for basketball players and I was too short after 7th grade.
62. Actress __ Dawn Chong: RAE. Tommy Chong's pretty little daughter is now 50 .
63. Decorates in a prankish way: TPS. Toilet Papers, which I guess will be my exit line as we have put another Friday to bed. Enjoy all. No French lesson, but a very fun and doable puzzle with a couple of very hard clues, and a witty, concise theme. Thanks Pancho (oh Cisco!).