Not sure why, and nothing to cry about, but I saw the theme immediately after filling in SAND CRAB. It still takes some solving to find the right car companies, but it was all good and the reveal, the tricky 'tear apart' meaning for rent masking the simple theme of taking an automaker name, split it, and use the front for the beginning of first word of a two word phrase and the rest for the end of the second word. The theme phrases went from very good (BUILDING BLOCK and DOCKING BRIDGE) to FIRE HAT. The fill had some fun non-theme like AGATHA, BYE NOW, KING ME, LOFTED, ROCOCO, URBANE, RATLINE, DON’T DELAY and SIDEKICKS. It looks like Mr. McDermott, (who has one prior LAT back in June 2012, but had two NYT publications in 2013, his NYT debut on my birthday) is still hedging on too much long fill, but he used minimal blocks to get this one done. Let us see where Jacob has driven us.
17A. *Beach scuttler : SAND CRAB (8). When I moved down here and visited a house near the ocean, I was shocked by the number of these guys in the yard. My favorite English Teacher in College drove an old SAAB which had no reverse. Made driving and parking a challenge.
24A. *Platform used when mooring ships : DOCKING BRIDGE (13). I will let the boaters explain this, as I DODGE my responsibility.
39A. *Headwear for a hose user : FIRE HAT (7). Not sure of this phrase (Fireman's Hat?). My girl friend weighs 100 pounds and wants this FIAT.
50A. *Lego unit : BUILDING BLOCK (13). I wonder if this was the seed entry. My father used to always drive a BUICK.
And the reveal:
62A . Wheels on loan ... or, as the circles show, what four puzzle answers have done? : RENT A CAR. As I always say, the reveal is the key to the fun and the renting (tearing apart) of the car names is cool.
1. Went through with : DID. Good start for me.
4. Places to get stuck : RUTS.
8. Mr. Miyagi's art : KARATE.The movie was brought back to many by the constant references on How I Met Your Mother. Pat Morita of Happy Days fame was great.
14. Prefix with hazard : ECO.
15. Oft-fried vegetable : OKRA. There are only a million vegetables that people fry.
16. Army chopper : APACHE.
19. One concerned with show horses? : BETTOR. My degenerate gambler friends always bet Win/Place not Show. Very cute clue.
20. 101 course, briefly : INTROduction.
21. "Later" : CIAO. Italian, now, like AmEx, accepted world wide.
23. Filmmaker Riefenstahl : LENI. I have had this controversial filmmaker BEFORE.
27. "Later" : BYE NOW.
29. Phrase of clarification : AS IN.I had trouble sussing this one, though it looks easy.
30. Part : ROLE. Mine is to explain.
31. Selma, to Bart : AUNT. Not sure I can tell her from her sister Patty Bouvier.
34. Shindigs, ultimately? : FESTS. Wanted FETES for some reason; I blame Steve and NC.
38. Scandinavian rug : RYA. Another repeat Friday word, this one from JW in May.
41. Soc. Sec. supplement : IRA. This clue for Individual Retirement Account took me longer than it should have. It was a...
42. Kind of pain? : ROYAL.
44. Victim of Atalanta in the Calydonian Hunt : BOAR. I do not want to bore you with this MYTH, but if you want to get a glass of wine and sit and READ....
45. Sixth-day creation : ADAM. Man, this was tricky too.
46. Verdi motif : TEMA. More Italian, hmm, McDermott?
48. Places to see bowlers : ALLEYS. Not the cricket pitch this time, eh Boomer?
55. Tolstoy title name : ANNA. One way to look at this title for all you BOOK CLUB people.
56. Secure, in a way : SEAL. He should not have been as Heidi left him.
57. Impose fraudulently : FOIST. It makes me think of the three stooges and what comes before second.
60. Disconcerting looks : STARES.
64. Demand upon reaching the other side : KING ME. Very difficult to parse, but good Friday clue/fill.
65. Fictional blue bovine : BABE. Paul Bunyan.
66. The Wildcats of the Big 12 Conf. : KSU. Never to be confused with the boys from Manhattan, the JayHawks.
67. Rains hard? : SLEETS. I wanted sheets, as in it is coming down in sheets.
68. Dutch town : STAD.
69. Ella, in the States : SHE. Some Spanish (Italian too?).
1. Fred : William :: Ricky : __ : DESI. Did you Love Lucy?
2. Positive words : I CAN. I think I can, I think I can....
3. Urgent ad words : DON'T DELAY. order now!!!!!
4. Florid 18th-century style : ROCOCO.
6. Bingham of "Baywatch" : TRACI. Lots of stuff on the internet.
7. '50s vaccine pioneer : SABIN. Polio oral vaccine.
8. Skewered fare : KABOBS. Kebab, tomato, tomahto.
9. Arboreal critter : APE. Anyone seen the Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, yet?
10. Rope ladder rung : RATLINE. Complete unknown term. More for the boaters to explain, Jeannie where are you?
11. Pretended to be : ACTED.
12. Adventurous beachwear : THONG. Look if you must. LINK 1. LINK 2.
13. Creepy : EERIE.
18. Go on and on : DRONE. No longer what we think of with this word.
22. Mystery award : AGATHA. Dame Agatha Christie.
25. River in a 1957 Best Picture title : KWAI. Really fine MOVIE. (3:09)
26. One may lead to a feud : RIFT.
27. Cold response : BRRR. I was thinking figuratively at first.
28. Fluctuate wildly : YO-YO. Big dieting word these days.
32. Cosmopolitan : URBANE. David Niven for me....
35. Robin and others : SIDEKICKS. I got this solely from the perps as there are entirely too many Robins.
36. Room service item : TRAY. "Yes, I would like to order a tray please."
37. BJ's competitor : SAM'S. These places are just too big, but great if you have a large family.
39. Bolted : FLED. Not Usain.
40. Sea once fed by the Amu Darya River : ARAL. No idea, but the letters are easy.
43. Out there : AT LARGE. I am not sure which one was meant.
Idiom: at large
1. Not in confinement or captivity; at liberty: a convict still at large.
2. As a whole; in general: the country at large.
3. Representing a nation, state, or district as a whole. Often used in combination: councilor-at-large.
4. Not assigned to a particular country. Often used in combination: ambassador-at-large.
5. At length; copiously.
45. Metal giant : ALCOA. ALuminum COmpany of America.
47. Air balls, e.g. : MISSES. Used often in basketball telecasts.
49. Hit in the air : LOFTED. A soft fly ball to left...
50. Luxuriates : BASKS. Here, it is in the sun.
51. Up to : UNTIL.
52. Silly : INANE. An apt word for much of my blogging style.
53. Clothes : GARBS. It used to mean stylish ones; from the French garbe meaning graceful outline, which may explain why Greta Guftasson chose her stage name..
54. Pasture call : BLEAT. A word I have not heard in years. This SOUND.(0:18).
58. Ceremonial accessory : SASH. The sash is critical.
61. ER staff member : EMT. Emergency Medical Technician. Nit, they work for the fire department or the ambulance services, IMO..
63. Spurs' org. : NBA. National Basketball Association.
Well another month flying by, another puzzle from a constructor named Jacob (thank you JMc); I leave you with the image of the 2012 Miss Universe from Rhode Island, Olivia Cuplo, who reminds us even the smallest garden can grow roses. Lemonade out.