Theme: oh, bother. the first word of each theme phrase is a synonym for predicament.
17A. *Aid for loose-leaf filing : HOLE PUNCHER
10D. *Pay for a verdict : FIX THE JURY
14D. *Random sample : SPOT CHECK
29D. *Improvisational gig : JAM SESSION
32D. *Deli container : PICKLE JAR
61A. Trouble at the starts of the answers to starred clues : PREDICAMENT
melissa here. right up my alley today. what else? problem, mess, trouble, quandary, dilemma. and a few other unmentionables. pretty straightforward theme, but fun when the theme answers are both across and down.
1. Highlands miss : LASS
5. Soup and a sandwich, sometimes : LUNCH. bill g., what's on the menu today?
10. "The dog ate my homework," e.g. : FIB. my first thought was 'excuse.'
13. Issues : EMITS. tricky.
15. Opener : INTRO
16. Hosp. area : ICU. intensive care unit.
19. '90s collegian, probably : X-ER
20. Chemistry subject : ISOTOPE. dr. dad?
21. Actor Matthau : WALTER. HIGH-larious.
23. Certain two-seater : TANDEM. '...but you'd look sweet, upon the seat ..'
26. Quite : OH SO
27. Goal : OBJECT
31. Go by : ELAPSE. time.
33. Refuse : TRASH. sneaky, noun - not verb.
34. Done, in Dordogne : FINI. french.
35. Piece of work : JOB. nice.
38. Former Fiesta Bowl site : TEMPE. arizona.
39. Geese flight formation : VEE. as each bird flaps its wings, it creates an uplift for the bird immediately following. i can think of another reason, too.
40. Unrefined : CRUDE. but no one here, of course.
42. Hosp. areas : ORS. operating rooms.
43. Highlands family : CLAN
45. Popular Japanese beer : KIRIN
46. American realist who painted "The Gross Clinic" (1875) : EAKINS. i had no idea. the painting depicts physician samuel david gross overseeing a surgery and lecturing to a class of medical students.
48. Was overly sweet : CLOYED. echh.
49. Bridge call : PASS
51. Sprout incisors : TEETHE.
53. Apartment dweller, often : LESSEE
55. Commits piracy, in a way : HIJACKS
60. Former press secretary Fleischer : ARI. thought of this ari.
64. __ Pepe: sherry brand : TIO
65. Consumer : EATER
66. He's got the life : RILEY. the life of riley.
67. Egg producer : HEN
68. Serengeti grazer : ELAND
69. Like variable work time : FLEX. flex-time.
1. Mormon prophet, or the Utah city named for him : LEHI. not up on my mormon prophets.
2. Israeli writer Oz : AMOS. or my israeli writers. he is also a professor of literature at ben-gurion university in ve'er sheva. my favorite amos.
3. Missile housing : SILO. scroll down this page for pics.
4. "Let it stand" : STET
5. Summer suit material : LINEN
6. Auntie's mate : UNC
7. Utmost degree : NTH
8. Sailor : CREWMAN
9. Dance involving a chair, perhaps : HORA. tradition.
11. Frozen sodas : ICEES. never really thought of it as a frozen soda.
12. Sancho Panza's mount : BURRO and clecho 47. Biblical mount : ASS
18. __ the crack of dawn : UP AT. or if you're a teen, the crack of noon.
22. Spanish article : LOS
24. Moat purpose : DEFENSE
25. Writer Wiesel : ELIE. jewish-american writer, professor, political activist, nobel laureate and holocaust survivor.
27. "Beetle Bailey" dog : OTTO. relied on perps, did not remember his name.
28. Uncle Remus title : BRER
30. Psychic power : ESP. extra sensory perception.
36. "Garfield" dog : ODIE. big tongued dog.
37. Road turn : BEND
39. Roof spinner : VANE
41. Brazil's capital until 1960 : RIO
44. Word-for-word : LITERAL
48. � la mode : CHIC
49. "The Bell Jar" author : PLATH. sylvia.
50. Eagle's home : AERIE
52. Wade Boggs's base : THIRD
54. Fencing blade : EPEE
56. "I __ you are": "Ready?" answer : AM IF
57. An amoeba has one : CELL. cute.
58. Patella's place : KNEE
59. Charon's river : STYX. mythology.
62. Part of a pilot's announcement, briefly : ETA. estimated time of arrival.
63. TV room : DEN. a little dated ... anymore, this could be any room.