Theme: Saturday Silk
I had a feeling this was going to be a Silkie, and I was right - and a tough one, at least the first two across and down passes for me - and then my WAG at 57A sliced it open for me. Two hard to place 14-letter spanners;
33A. Ancient inhabitant of Western Europe : NEANDERTHAL MAN - tried to make NETHERLANDIAN fit, not that this has ANYthing to do with the clue....
39A. 1997 Spacey/Crowe movie : L.A. CONFIDENTIAL - a movie I am sad to say I have not seen - IMDb
and two just-as-difficult-to-place 11-letter climbers;
10D. Hot air : IDLE CHATTER
24D. Variance issuer, often : ZONING BOARD - we call it the 'building department' here, and a variance is a deviation from the building code - usually something like how close to the property line a structure can be - and in my experience, the code and the people who enforce them has gotten WAY out of control....
Ultimately, I solved it with only two "cheats". but on the whole, too many proper names, dates, and foreign words made this one less than enjoyable for me....oh well....
1. Calm : AT PEACE
8. High chairs? : SKI-LIFT - I was hip to this one, but not right away - HeartRx got it, right?
15. Experts : MAESTRI - plural of maestro
16. Harvard's __ Library : WIDENER - this guy, who perished on Titanic
17. Attacked on the fly : STRAFED
18. 1996 Olympics city : ATLANTA - my first "cheat" - I tried CALGARY, with the "L" in the right place, but Calgary was the host in '88, and their NHL Flames were the Stanley Cup winners in '88-89
19. 1984 Nobel Peace Prize winner : TUTU - Desmond
20. Per diem hire : TEMP - my first and only confident fill
22. Longish blog post : ESSAY - I was hoping it was not going to be "E-page" - that's a long post for our little corner, no?
23. Blue Note's parent co. : EMI - music publishing
24. Diddly : ZERO; and 38A. Diddly : NOT A BIT
25. BYU, e.g. : SCHool - Brigham Young University
26. What gets Obama started? : LONG O - I was hip to this mis-direction - the ō to start Obama
28. Reaction at the gas pump : OUCH~!!! - I can still find regular for $3.95
30. Juillet is in it : ETE - The month of July, in summer, as seen on a "Fraunch" (French) calendar
37. Cite : MENTION
41. Around-the-world journalist : BLY - not familiar with her - the Wiki - interesting
42. __ country : GOD's - isn't this Florida? Oh wait, that's "God's Waiting Room"
43. Pelé's given name : EDSON - Edson Arantes do Nascimento - Soccer player
45. Like many dicts. : ABRidged
46. Naturalist on California's state quarter : MUIR
49. Sold-out letters : SRO - Standing Room Only
50. Thrifty rival : ALAMO - Car rental - I am hoping to use Budget - see the bottom of the blog
53. Red states?: Abbr. : SSRs - Getting to be a regular bore here, now
54. Sylvia of jazz : SYMS - again, not familiar with this person
55. Tommy's forte : PINBALL - Tommy, from The Who, the Pinball Wizard - not a fan, at all.
57. Follower of the Bushido code : SAMURAI - sounded Japanese, and it fit, so....
59. Western port named for a fur tycoon : ASTORIA - John Jacob Astor, and a little geography, too - at the top of Oregon
60. Trendy : À LA MODE - straight French, "according to the fashion" - definition
61. Time to relax : LAZY DAY - When it rains, I like to call it a "lazy day"
62. Crowd annoyance : ELBOWER - one who elbows
1. Pilsner choice : AMSTEL - Beer
2. Youngest Oscar winner : TATUM O'NEAL - HEY~! I knew this one ~! I liked her in "Rescue Me", right fermatprime?
3. Relevance : PERTINENCY - I had "E" at the end, with BLE 41A - had to peek to see the "Y"
4. Old Testament twin : ESAU
5. Org. that added "Explosives" to its name in 2003 : ATF -Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms - if they reworked it, they could be "F.E.T.A" (see 13D.)
6. Center of the Minoan civilization : CRETE
7. Large sea duck : EIDER - I knew this from the book "Journey to the Center of the Earth"
8. Meet deal : SWAP
9. Young beaver : KIT
11. __ law : LEASH
12. Some seaside retreats : INNS
13. Spanakopita need : FETA - NO clue what this is - but with F_T_, I had the WAG
14. Inbox, sometimes : TRAY - the 'analog' version
21. Early Alcázar castle resident : MOOR - slightly foreign, but I know castles..
25. "Bei Mir Bist Du __": 1930s song : SCHON - foreign words...
27. Enemy of un ratón : GATO - MORE foreign words; I am guessing rat and cat....
29. "The Best of the Alternative Press" magazine, familiarly : UTNE and MORE foreign words.....
30. International Washington neighborhood : EMBASSY ROW - this area of D.C.
31. Custom : TAILOR-MADE
32. Tolkien creature : ENT - The trees that walk ( Clerks II, but I won't link it )
34. Help with : DO FOR - what can I DO YOU FOR~???
35. Chisholm Trail city : ENID
36. Installed, as brick : LAID - or, er, 34A
37. Org. with an "At Bat" app : MLB - is this true, C.C.? I have the NHL app, of course - and our first team to move on, the Nashville Predators - sorry JazzB (From C.C.: Have to ask Seen/Husker Gary. True?)
40. Mil. honors : DSMs - Distinguished Service Medals
44. Comparatively curious : NOSIER
45. South __, N.J. : AMBOY - I knew this, but then again, I was born in Paterson, NJ - don't hold it against me....
47. Latin bears : URSAE - Ursa Major and Minor, the big and little bears of the night sky
48. "That __": signoff : IS ALL - 's ALL, Folks~! did not fit
50. "C'mon, be __!" : A PAL
51. Crossword-solving Simpson : LISA - from the cartoon "The Simpsons" -she's the brainy one with saxophone chops
52. 1998 animated film : ANTZ
53. Leave rolling in the aisles : SLAY
54. Ring contest : SUMO
56. __ Fáil: Irish coronation stone : LIA - this monolith - easy, lois
58. Fairy queen of folklore : MAB
I am curious about those Mid-west regulars who stop in here at the blog - I am praying to be moving to Las Vegas in June, and I will be driving across the country at a "leisurely pace" - anyone need a deck built? Or maybe just a quick visit from a Saturday blogger??
P.S. - Am I the first to blog with the "new" format? It sucks for us authors, let me tell you....
(From C.C.: Argyle does not like the new format either. No change on my side yet. Maybe it varies by regions?)