Theme: Start your Elements! Each of the theme answers starts with an element, and as the reveal explains they are all metals.
17A. Ford Model T, colloquially : TIN LIZZIE. Appropriately for 61A if you say this with a Dublin accent you get these chaps
21A. Speed demon : LEADFOOT. Because you're heavy on the gas pedal.
36A. Mature male gorilla : SILVERBACK. Beautiful animals.
43A. One only in it for the money : GOLD DIGGER. Here's the classic opening song from "Gold Diggers of 1933" sung by Ginger Rogers.
52A. Japanese cooking show : IRON CHEF. Food! I'm pretty sure I've seen every episode of this show AND the American spin-off. I believe Bobby Flay was the first non-Japanese chef to win a battle (against Masaharu Morimoto).
61A. Certain rock music fan, and what 17-, 21-, 36-, 43- and 52-Across each has : METALHEAD. I was a bit of a metalhead in my youth - the first album I bought was "Machine Head" by Deep Purple.
Good morning everyone - Steve here and a Wednesday puzzle that I found pretty challenging. The theme certainly helped me figure out LEADFOOT as I had a lot of empty space in that region. I confess to the final letter fill being a complete WAG - I was Natick'ed with ALEK and LEAR.
With the Z's, the Q and the K emerging early I was looking for a pangram; we were just missing the Y at the conclusion
I can't find Mary Lou's name in the blog history, so I think this is her L.A. Times debut - congratulations if that's the case.
Let's see what else caught my eye:
1. Tucked-in part of a dress shirt : HEM. I wanted to cram TAIL in here.
4. Cocoon contents : LARVA
9. Glaringly vivid : LURID
14. "__ you kidding me?" : ARE
15. Words after make or close : A DEAL
16. Carne __: roasted Mexican dish : ASADA. Food! This is my kind of puzzle.
19. Siesta taker : DOZER
20. Eight-armed cephalopod : SQUID. I'm getting hungry!
23. Open-__ shoes : TOED
26. TV producer Norman : LEAR. Complete unknown to me, and as I mentioned at the top a personal Natick for me crossing ALEK.
27. Online "Yikes!" : OMG! Oh My Goodness!
30. Chinese leader : PREMIER. I was thinking along the Mao, Deng and Kai-Shek lines and then the penny dropped.
33. Bus depot: Abbr. : STA
38. Purim observers : JEWS
39. Essayist de Botton : ALAIN
40. Match for a pocket handkerchief : TIE
41. West Pointer : CADET
42. Mideast strip : GAZA
45. Baton Rouge-to-Montgomery dir. : E.N-E
46. Twisting force : TORSION
47. WWII venue : E.T.O. European Theater of Operations under the command of General Eisenhower.
48. Latin god : DEUS
50. "__ a lift?" : NEED
56. Schemer Charles : PONZI. It's quite some feat to have an entire genre of crime named for you. He looks quite cheerful in his mugshot!
60. Gallivants : ROVES. "Gallivants" is such an awesome word. I resolve either to use this word today or go gallivanting myself.
64. Last Olds off the line : ALERO. I wonder who bought the last one, and if they knew it was the last?
65. Mental picture : IMAGE
66. NBC skit show : S.N.L. The UK version of this was called Friday Night Live - because it aired on Sunday. No, wait ..
67. Zac of "The Lorax" : EFRON. Who he? Thank you, crosses.
68. Glove material : LATEX
69. Game gadget, or the area where it's used : TEE. I think "gadget" is a bit of an overblown description for a piece of wood.
1. Boaters and bowlers : HATS
2. Actor La Salle : ERIQ. I've finally got Mr. La Salle in my memory banks. It's only taken umpteen years.
3. It may drop down or pop up : MENU. The ones on your computer. If you're interested, the pop-up types are also context-sensitive. I've got my geek on today!
4. Made vulnerable : LAID OPEN
5. Axlike shaping tool : ADZ. I'm finally getting used to the alternative spellings for both AXE and ADZE.
6. Tribal land, informally, with "the" : REZ. I've never heard this expression, but it wasn't difficult to guess when I had the Z in place.
7. Colorado resort : VAIL. Pretty place.
8. Out of the wind : ALEE
9. Fire truck feature : LADDER
10. Lady Liberty's land, familiarly : US OF A
11. Somerset Maugham novel, with "The" : RAZOR'S EDGE. I'd never heard of this novel, but I find there are two movie adaptations of it, one made in 1946 and one in 1984.
12. Prefix with logical : IDEO
13. Pub missile : DART
18. On fire : LIT
22. South Sudanese supermodel Wek : ALEK. I'll surely remember her from now on.
24. Goof : ERR
25. Short person? : DEBTOR. I think this was my favorite clue of the day. Marvelous.
27. Missouri river : OSAGE
28. La Scala's city : MILAN. Tough crowd at La Scala - they've been known to boo tenors off the stage.
29. Like eyes showing boredom : GLAZED OVER
31. Drops in a slot : MAILS
32. Stranded at 7-Down, perhaps : ICED IN
34. Chirp : TWEET
35. Jetson dog : ASTRO. Ruh-Roh!
37. By way of : VIA
38. Spree : JAG. Gallivant! Looks of sprees today.
41. Multi-screen theater : CINEPLEX
43. "Gee whiz" : GOSH
44. It goes for a buck : DOE. Not fooled for a moment with this one! Nice clue though.
46. Second-most populous Arizona city : TUCSON.
49. Warm Argentina month : ENERO. Midsummer in the Southern Hemisphere.
51. "Stupid me!" : D'OH!
52. "Dies __" : IRAE. Mozart borrowed the name of the original Gregorian chant for his Requiem. Stirring stuff.
53. Massage deeply : ROLF. I'd never heard of this. Apparently it is a massage technique from the '70s - is it still practiced?
54. Actor Jannings : EMIL. More crosses - I need to read IMDB for a while and get up to speed with my actors.
55. Earthquake response gp. : F.E.M.A. The Federal Emergency Management Agency uses the "open" status of the Waffle House chain of restaurants to help gauge the severity of storms passing through the eastern seaboard. Who knew?
57. Cozy home : NEST
58. Writer Grey : ZANE. I read this as "Winter Grey" first which had me totally baffled.
59. Inactive : IDLE
62. Art on the reality show "Ink Master" : TAT. I'm guessing "tat" is not considered an abbreviation any more?
63. Single-malt datum : AGE. The longer a whisky ages in the vat, the more of the spirit evaporates. The Scots charmingly call this "the angel's share".