Theme: Wide-Eyed - W is attached to the start of one word in each common phrase, which also goes through a spelling change. The resulting vowel sounds remain the same. Neither I nor Argyle gets the title though. Marti?
23A. Sale at the helicopter dealer? : WHIRLYBIRD SPECIAL. Early bird special.
39A. Breakfast table expos�? : THE WAFFLE TRUTH. The awful truth.
60A. Bittersweet title for a waterskier's memoirs? : WAKES AND PAINS. Aches and pains.
84A. Lacking lingerie? : OUT OF THIN WEAR. Out of thin air.
104A. Sweater under the tree? : CHRISTMAS WEAVE. Christmas Eve.
123A. Charge against an illegal fly-fishing conspirator? : WADING AND ABETTING. Aiding and abetting.
16D. Comment to an out-of-shape runner who reaches the finish line? : WHEEZY DOES IT. Easy does it.
67D. Homo sapiens' cleverness? : THE WILE OF MAN. The Isle of Man.
Notice there's no extraneous W in any of the theme entries? An important factor to consider in this letter dropping/adding/substituting gimmick.
I think this might be Paul Hunsberger's LA Times debut. If so, congratulations! I like the theme entry arrangement & overall fill. Very well done. Smooth! Several V-8 clues. Could be from Rich. That's his lovely wife Kim on the left, sharp wordsmith as well.
1. Builder of paper houses : WASP. Did you nail it, JD?
5. [Yawn] : HO-HUM. First thought was ENNUI.
10. Avenue before the Income Tax square, in Monopoly : BALTIC. I've never played Monopoly.
16. Bath bathrooms : WCs. Bath the city in England.
19. Guitarist's effect : WAWA
20. Where the puck stops ... and starts : ARENA. Hockey, just for eddyB & Splynter.
21. Iberian wine city : OPORTO. North of Lisbon. Porto also.
22. Prosciutto, e.g. : HAM
26. Poet's "before" : ERE
27. Press-on cosmetic : NAIL. Wanted LASH.
28. It's nothing in Normandy : RIEN. De rien = You're welcome.
29. Down Under dog : DINGO
30. Greek "H" : ETA
31. Ticker tape, briefly? : ECG. Or EKG.
33. White team : SOX. White Sox.
35. "La Vie en Rose" singer : PIAF (Edith)
37. Air purifying gadget : IONIZER
44. Pastoral poems : IDYLs
45. Animated explorer : DORA
46. Cause for a shootout : TIE. Not gunfight.
47. Smoky places : FLUEs. Was picturing a smokey bar.
49. Some green rolls : SOD. Not money.
50. Buzz together : SWARM
52. Weak, as an excuse : LAME
55. Make swell : BLOAT
57. Green lights : OKs
64. "Twin Peaks" Emmy nominee Sherilyn : FENN. Total stranger to me.
65. Play kickoff : ACT ONE. Made me think of football.
68. Beats by a nose : EDGES
69. Loc. __ : CIT
70. Cruising : ASEA
71. Hawaiian priests : KAHUNAS. Nice entry.
73. 2000s leadership nickname : DUBYA. I like Sr.
75. Requiring slower driving : CURVIER
77. Smooth : EVEN
78. Some like it hot : TEA. I do. I've never watched the movie though.
80. Money : LUCRE. Filthy.
82. Mosey : TOOTLE. New meaning to me.
83. Salacious : LEWD
87. "Take me __ am" : AS I
88. Kodak prefix : INSTA. Instant?
89. Get a whiff of this : ODOR
90. Actors without lines : MIMEs
94. Civil Rights Memorial architect : LIN (Maya). Lin is a quite popular surname in China, meaning "forest".
96. The Concert for Bangladesh instrument : SITAR. I know Ravi Shankar was involved.
99. Antique auto : REO
101. Color on a Florida Marlins uniform : TEAL. C'est vrai.
102. Spy : AGENT
108. Got free, in a way : MOOCHED
111. Nutmeg spice : MACE
112. Trans-Canada Hwy. rate : KPH. Kilometers/Kilometres per hour.
113. Conducted : LED
114. '80s sitcom puppet : ALF
115. Avoid a reception : ELOPE. Wedding reception.
118. Staked shelter : TENT
120. "Don't play" symbol : REST
122. Dandy guy? : JIM. Jim Dandy.
128. Reproductive cells : OVA
129. Tout de suite : AT ONCE. Would be nice to see TOUT DE SUITE as an answer someday.
130. Psychology __ : TODAY. Unaware of this magazine. Maybe Lois reads.
131. Le Havre lady friend : AMIE
132. Cartoon Chihuahua : REN
133. Emphatic acceptance : YES, YES
134. Hitches : SNAGs
135. Get loud : YELL
1. Dot-com start-up? : WWW
2. Hot tub reaction : AAH
3. Benny Goodman is credited with starting it : SWING ERA. My favorite fill today.
4. Trooper lead-in : PARA. Paratrooper.
5. Rural storage area : HAYLOFT
6. __ weaver: spider : ORB
7. Next in line : HEIR
8. Like green peppers : UNRIPE. Tricky clue.
9. Arrived : MADE IT
10. Jazz genre : BOP
11. Mimicked : APED
12. Hubs : LOCI
13. Singer Lopez : TRINI. Learned from doing Xword.
14. Give __: try : IT A GO. Two partials in this grid. Not bad.
15. Mayflower passenger : COLONIST
17. Price-fixing group : CARTEL
18. Slings mud at : SMEARS
24. Overachieving Simpson : LISA
25. Wolf (down) : SNARF
31. Deicing may delay them: Abbr. : ETDs
32. Grub : CHOW
34. Folder for Mulder : X-FILE. Fox Mulder. Nice rhyme.
36. Lust ending : FUL. Lustful.
38. Short agreement : I DO
40. Battle scar : WAR WOUND. Thought of the Marlboro marine.
41. Car dealer's offer : LEASE
42. Low wind : TUBA. Wind instrument.
43. Spiral: Pref. : HELIC
48. Former Seattle NBAer : SONIC
51. "Death in Venice" author : MANN (Thomas)
53. None-for-the-road gp.? : MADD. No alcohol!
54. Swamp : ENGULF
56. Sharp : ASTUTE
58. Be in the front row in a team photo, say : KNEEL. Vivid image.
59. Trap : SNARE
61. "Annie Hall" Oscar winner : KEATON (Diane). Hence sometimes we see "Hall of fame" for ANNIE.
62. Unveiling : DEBUT
63. Hitchcock classic : PSYCHO
64. One paying the least : FAVORITE
65. Cub Scout leader : AKELA
66. Troglodyte homes : CAVEs. Did not know the meaning of "troglodyte".
72. "The Sneetches" author : SEUSS
74. Not greenery-friendly : ARID
76. Drift : ROAM
79. Place with dusty keepsakes : ATTIC. Where's the shoebox with old baseball cards?
81. Vast, in odes : ENORM
85. Colorful words : OATH
86. Unleash, as havoc : WREAK
88. Like obstacles : IN THE WAY
91. Periodic table period? : MEALTIME. Not chemical.
92. A downspout may begin under one : EAVE
93. Husky's burden : SLED
95. Part of many bus. names : INC
97. One of a swinging pair? : ARM. Another devious clue!
98. Calf catcher : RIATA
100. Hawks once threatened by DDT : OSPREYs. Unaware of this trivia.
102. Key of Beethoven's "Kreutzer Sonata" : A MAJOR. Music is always my blind spot.
103. Cut to a roving reporter : GO LIVE. I like this entry too.
105. Bloodhound pickups : SCENTS
106. Muscle/bone connection : TENDON
107. Pique : WHET. Any tip on how to pick a good avocado at grocery store?
109. Thrill : ELATE
110. Bygone birds : DODOs. Hey, Dodo!
116. Like some air fresheners : PINY
117. Differ finish : ENCE. Difference.
119. "All finished!" : TADA
121. "Don't move a muzzle!" : STAY
124. Some light bulbs : GEs. GE's stock performance has been dismal.
125. Sack : BAG
126. Not a bit : NIL
127. Shaver's option : GEL