17. *Top dog: BIG CHEESE. Bighead - I've heard it used most often by children. A conceited person. Cheesehead - Can be used affectionately or derogatorily to refer to a Wisconsinite or Packer-backer.
39. *Beef: RED MEAT. Redhead. A ginger. Hello Scotland and Ireland ! Rusty Staub was known as Le Grande Orange. Also, in the trades, a brand of concrete anchors. Meathead - A stupid person. Archie Bunker's nickname for son-in-law Michael Stivic. Rusty was not a meathead. He learned French after being traded to the Montreal Expos.
11. *Equestrian's path: HORSE TRAIL. Horsehead. The opposite end from a horse's ass. Served with a guy from Horseheads, NY. Smart guy. Hi Merlin ! Trailhead - That's where hiking, biking, horseback riding, off roading adventures and cattle drives start.
28. *Undeliverable bit of mail: DEAD LETTER. Deadhead. To prune the spent blooms from your flowers. Also, driving your semi (tractor trailer) without a load. Oh, and of course, a Grateful Dead fan. Letterhead. The heading or leading page of formal correspondence, usually containing company logo, name address etc.
62. Racer's advantage ... and what each part of the answers to starred clues can be: HEAD START.
Paul comes back to visit with today's puzzle. Easier than last Friday's puzzle. He has something for everyone, and every skill level !
1. Big butte: MESA. Butte comes to us from French, meaning mound. Mesa comes from Spanish, meaning table. Buttes are smaller than mesas.
5. Michael of "Superbad": CERA. This guy. Superbad was a 2007 "coming of age" movie. Not familiar with either.
9. Timetable: Abbr.: SCHED. ule.
14. Cartel acronym: OPEC. Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries
15. Gravy base: ROUX. Fat and flour, and get creative from there.
16. Writing that isn't poetry: PROSE.
19. Surrounding glows: AURAE. Had auras at first until deep dish pizza mandated the e.
20. Chicken: SCARED.
21. Prepares to serve, as melon: SLICES UP. Gallagher used the Sledge-O-Matic.
23. Textbook division: UNIT. A standard standard.
25. Stadium attendance counter, perhaps: STILE. I know them as turnstiles. Hey, that's why the perhaps is in the clue !
26. Fill with freight: LADE. From Dutch and German laden.
29. Spam producer, for short: BOT. A Spam Robot, or Spambot, or just plain Bot.
31. Squabbles: SET TOs.
34. Versatile blackjack cards: ACES. Can be used as ones or elevens.
35. Hibernation spot: LAIR.
37. Egg cream ingredient: SYRUP. Now this was interesting to me. I've never heard of an egg cream. It's similar to a milkshake, and got its start in NYC, but is also well-known in Detroit and New Orleans.
38. Former "Great American Baking Show" co-host Vardalos: NIA. She of "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" fame. A lovely person.
41. Azores' ocean: Abbr.: ATL. Or the Braves (Atlanta), on scoreboards. In this case, it's the abbr. for Atlantic.
42. Build an extension on: ADD TO. Husker Gary should expect to see a decrease in his property taxes after the new Costco plant gets built and execs for Whole Farms move into town and ADD TO the tax base. I think that's how it's supposed to work. The clue today is in the sense of a building addition. We know that as an ell in crossword fill.
44. Strong desires: YENS.
45. Verdi princess who sings "O patria mia": AIDA. Six years ago, Verdi and Aida would have left me in the dark. Now, thanks to hundreds of solves, I know this crossword staple.
46. Specks in the sea: ISLETS. Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton had a # 1 hit song with Islands in the Stream.
48. __ room: play area: REC.
49. Mail opening in a door: SLOT. Remember that scene from Home Alone where McCauley Culkin looked through the mail slot ?
50. Big name in stationery: EATON.
54. Very brave: INTREPID.
57. South Florida city: NAPLES. Too bad about the red tide.
61. Away from the office: NOT IN.
64. Prepare to talk to a child, maybe: KNEEL.
65. Doing nothing: IDLE.
66. Comparison words: IS TO.
67. "My bad": SORRY. "No problem"
68. Show the way: LEAD. Anyone remember the book, Jump Off the Cliff, by Hugo Furst ?
69. Enjoy, as gum: CHEW. Enjoy, as gossip: Chew the fat.
1. Black Friday crowds: MOBS. Not once. Never. Wild horses.
2. Grand-scale tale or grand-scale fail: EPIC.
3. Arcade name: SEGA. Tie in with 52A. "__ #1!": winners' cry: WE'RE. SEGA had 213 arcade games; Atari had 117.
4. Builds up: ACCRUES. the ability of something to accumulate over time, and is most commonly used when referring to the interest, income or expenses - Investopedia.
5. Trustworthy: CREDIBLE. Investopedia is a credible financial dictionary.
6. Non-discrimination letters: EOE. Equal Opportunity Employment (or Employer).
7. Former Wisconsin senator Feingold: RUSS.
8. Skating jumps: AXELS. OK, now here is a really good article that explains each of the skating jumps, along with GIFs showing them being accomplished.
9. Most ditzy: SPACIEST. Goldie Hawn persona on Laugh-In
10. The "C" of SPCA: CRUELTY. Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
12. Jacob's twin brother: ESAU.
13. __-dish pizza: DEEP. Fold your laundry, not your pizza.
18. Farm squawker: HEN.
22. "Live from New York, __ 'Saturday Night!'": IT'S. A nice collection:
24. Apple-polisher: TOADY.
26. Hawaiian island: LANAI.
27. Litmus reddeners: ACIDS.
30. Oven buzzer: TIMER.
32. Perform better than: OUTDO.
33. Wet impact sound: SPLAT.
36. Extend a subscription: RENEW.
39. In a nasty manner: ROTTENLY.
40. Climbed: ASCENDED. Ascend. Middle English: from Latin ascendere, from ad- ‘to’ + scandere ‘to climb.’
43. Needing more tissues, probably: TEARIER.
45. Sterile: ASEPTIC. "a" and "an" as prefixes to Greek base words means no, without, not having, free of, or not. English adopted those as prefixes to many words that originated in other languages as well, with the same purpose.
Then we have "a" as a prefix from an Old English root, which meant on, toward, to, or into. So we get words like ablaze (on) and asunder (to).
So aseptic and asocial mean free of septic and not social , and we have words like afire and ablaze, meaning on, and asea meaning.... Well, never mind, I'm going to stop before I go awry.
47. Soak (up), as gravy: SOP.
51. Nothing, in Latin: NIHIL.
53. Univ. dorm overseers: RAs. Resident Advisor or Resident Assistant.
54. Calligraphy supplies: INKS.
55. Taboo: NO NO.
56. "__ Dinah": 1958 Frankie Avalon hit: DEDE. No clue. Thank you perps.
58. Eyelid hair: LASH.
59. One-named Deco artist: ERTE. Romain de Tirtoff. Better study the name and spelling. It might come up in a crossword someday.
60. Stash in a hold: STOW.
63. Pie __ mode: A LA. Hot apple pie with cold vanilla ice cream melting on top is a favorite dessert in this household.