Theme: "Invitees" - T is inserted into each common phrase.
23A. Heavenly ruler? : ST. PETER'S T-SQUARE. St Peter's Square. So I listened to John Thavis interview with "Fresh Air" the other night. Wow, was I disillusioned. Corruption, turf battle.
35A. Game with swinging and dancing? : DISCO T-BALL. Disco ball.
43A. Theban king's dinosaur? : OEDIPUS T. REX. Oedipus Rex. King of Thebes.
69A. Economy-boosting govt. issue? : STIMULUS T-BILL. Stimulus bill. Been more than 4 years.
96A. Steaks served at roasts? : FUNNY T-BONES. Funny bones.
102A. Contraption that gives skiers a lift in more ways than one? : COFFEE T-BAR. Coffee bar.
118A. Motto for the Untouchables? : STAND BY YOUR T-MAN. "Stand by Your Man".
Neat to see those stalwart T* words we often see in Xwords elevated into theme entries today. Very clever gimmick.
Liz Gorski also constructed one of the puzzles for the coming ACPT. That's truly an All-Star lineup.
1. Sympathy seekers : MARTYRS. Thought of that Tunisian guy who set himself on fire. Without him, there probably would not have been Arab Spring.
8. Spring title on a beefcake calendar : MR. MAY. To me, Dave Winfield is the "Mr. May". Steinbrenner wanted a "Mr. October" (Reggie Jackson). Like Paul Molitor, Winfield was born in St. Paul.
13. Chills out : RESTS
18. Almond-flavored liqueur : AMARETTO
20. Ocean floor : SEA BED
22. Strain : EXERT
25. "The War Between the Tates" author Alison : LURIE. Not familiar with the book or the author.
26. Cub with many dingers : SOSA. He'll never make the Hall.
27. Wight or Man: Abbr. : ISL
28. Party org. : DNC. Or RNC.
29. Alarm : STARTLE
31. Best-selling physician : DR. SPOCK
37. "I'm responsible" : BLAME ME. How nice!
40. Cohn played by Pacino in "Angels in America" : ROY. Is it as good as "City of Angels"?
42. Sea eagles : ERNES
46. Bond girl Ekland : BRITT. No memory of this girl. She's in "The Man with the Golden Gun". Splynter's kind of girl.
47. Hubbub : ADO
50. Polish targets : NAILS. I still maintain that a man who's fully capable of taking care of himself should not visit a nail salon.
51. Surfer's gadget : REMOTE
53. Stereo on one's shoulder : BOOMBOX
55. Handed down, in a way : ORAL. Like folklore.
56. Still in the game : ALIVE
58. Kemo __ : SABE
60. The Green Wall of China is designed to slow its expansion : GOBI. Oh I read it "The Great Wall of China" and said "What?". This project started in 1978. Will be completed in 2050, supposedly. Lots of trees have been planted along the desert line.
61. City whose police cars sport a witch logo : SALEM. New trivia to me.
63. __ Nostra : COSA
64. Surpassed : OUTDID
66. Klutz : OAF
73. Bootery spec : EEE
74. Absolutely awful : STINKO
76. Writer Bagnold : ENID
77. Crimean Peninsula city : YALTA
79. Ripped : TORE
80. Fedora feature : BRIM
81. Pond flower : CALLA. Calla lily.
83. Sweet'__: drink additive : N LOW. Fake sugar.
87. As a group : EN MASSE
90. Prefix with -crat : TECHNO
92. "Revolutionary" Chopin work : ETUDE
93. Object in court : RES
94. Parishioner's obligation : TITHE
99. Pianist known for his Beethoven interpretations : ARRAU (Claudio). Chilean pianist.
100. See 62-Down : FOR. 62. With 100-Across, petition : ASK.
101. Freaky to the max : EERIEST
106. City in Pennsylvania Dutch country : LEBANON. Gimme for Yellowrocks.
109. Like some back roads : ONE LANE
110. Goat's cry : MAA
112. Golden, in Paris : D'OR. As in Palme D'or.
113. Poetic dusks : EENS
117. VersaVac maker : ORECK
123. Grammy-winning Gorme : EYDIE
124. Persian Gulf sight : TANKER
125. Warned : ON NOTICE
126. Overhaul the lawn : RE-SOD
127. Low voice : BASSO
128. Getty of "The Golden Girls" : ESTELLE
1. Sunday ritual : MASS. Boomer is a Catholic. He does not go to Church on Sundays.
2. "__ to PM": 2001 Christina Milian hit : AM TO. Typo in clue. Song title is simply "Am to Pm" (Argyle.)
3. Eschews the doorbell : RAPS
4. Purchases that give you a run for your money? : TREADMILLS. Great clue.
5. "Not __" : YET
6. Bus driver's course: Abbr. : RTE
7. Zebra patterns : STRIPES
8. Bks. in progress : MSS
9. Like some coll. courses : REQ'D. Like my Marxism/Leninism. Totally useless.
10. Cleansing rite associated with Easter : MAUNDY. Thursday.
11. Collectible calculators : ABACI
12. "__ out!" : YER
13. Empathize with : RELATE TO
14. Prosperous outlying areas : EXURBS
15. Mattress brand : SERTA
16. Flutist's warble : TRILL
17. __ wool : STEEL
19. __ buco : OSSO
21. Paint a picture of : DESCRIBE. "Paint my love, You should paint my love..."
24. Patient attention, briefly : TLC
30. Riding sidekick : TONTO
32. Workout count : REPs
33. The Mustangs of the NCAA's Conference USA : SMU. Southern Methodist University.
34. Doughnut box word : KREME
36. Sun. talk : SER
37. U2 frontman : BONO. Really love this. I like The Corrs.
38. Ill-fated king : LEAR
39. 1998 Sarah McLachlan hit : ADIA
41. Tic-tac-toe loser : OXO
44. More fit : TRIMMER
45. Increase, with "up" : REV
46. Wild animal : BEAST
47. Humble home : ABODE
48. Maynard's pal in '50s-'60s TV : DOBIE. I can never remember this. "The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis".
49. Rust, e.g. : OXIDE
52. General __ chicken : TSO'S. What's your favorite Chinese dish?
54. Corp. jet group : MGT
56. Choir member : ALTO
57. Worn wreath : LEI
59. Hanging Gardens site : BABYLON
63. Chewed stuff : CUD
64. Ceramic pot : OLLA. I wonder what they use the ollas for.
65. Max. : ULT
66. Sunbeam brand : OSTER
67. Make amends : ATONE
68. Tones (up) : FIRMS. My abs, your arms.
70. Marry : UNITE
71. Pie fruit : LIME
72. Potent conclusion? : IAL. Potential.
75. Teachers' org. : NEA
78. Louis XVI's queen : ANTOINETTE (Marie). Lovely entry.
80. Software development phase : BETA TEST. Annette is John Lampkin's beta solver.
81. Boor : CHURL
82. King Kong's love : ANN
84. Debussy's "Clair de __" : LUNE. French for "moon". Lune de miel. Honeymoon. Where did you spend yours?
85. Wordsworth works : ODES
86. Popular 19th-century heading : WEST.
88. Barely ran? : STREAKED. Nailed it. We've seen this clue before.
89. Fire truck device : SIREN
91. Money-managing exec : CFO
92. River of Spain : EBRO. Spain's longest river.
95. Where the action is : HUB
97. Timeline beginning : YEAR ONE
98. Widely used base : TEN. Base 10. Hard clue for me, though the concept is the same in Chinese.
99. Largest U.S. union org. : AFL-CIO
100. Ballpark staples : FRANKS
102. Dove : COOER
103. Sandwich order : ON RYE
104. Nourishes : FEEDS
105. Name on a range : AMANA. "Range" often refers to "Kitchen appliance" in Xwords.
107. Ice cream maker Joseph : EDY
108. Aussie lad : BOYO. New to me.
111. Lemony drinks : ADES. Hello, Lemonade!
114. German painter Nolde : EMIL. No idea. Wiki said he was an expressionist, and "Golden yellows and deep reds appear frequently in his work". Kind of like van Gogh's bright yellow. Lucina saw my compact mirror. It's van Gogh's bedroom.
115. Salt in a lab : NaCL
116. Knife of yore : SNEE
119. Bar bill : TAB
120. "My man!" : BRO
121. Young __ : UNS
122. Break down : ROT