Theme: Sex Change - "Sex" in each familiar phrase gets a vowel change.
20A. Music lessons for Bill Clinton?: SAX EDUCATION. Sex Education. Clinton loves sax.
39A. Documentary about Chicago's relationship with its team?: SOX AND THE CITY. "Sex and the City" (TV series or the movie). Chicago White Sox.
57A. More equitable of two civil case juries?: THE FAIRER SIX. The Fairer Sex (Women). Was unaware that civil case only needs 6 jurors.
Rather unexpected theme concept. Light but amusing theme clues & answers.
My favorite is SAX EDUCATION. Received no sex education when I grew up. Sex was a forbidden topic in our school. I also laughed at SOX AND THE CITY. Great documentary title. Complicated relationship I am sure. "The City" probably loves the Cubs more.
A friendlier Thursday for me. Plenty of "fill-in-the-blank" partials definitely helped.
1. Trip with much hardship: TREK. Easy start.
5. Ampule: VIAL. Misread the clue as "Ample".
9. Bikini blast, briefly: H-TEST. No A-TEST wobbling today due to the intersecting HANOI (9D. Capital on the Red River).
14. Prefix with port: HELI. Heliport, a landing place for helicopters. I blanked.
15. FAQ responses, e.g.: INFO
16. Belittle: ABASE
18. "Gosh darn it!": RATS
19. Language that gives us "floe": NORSE. I only know Norse gives us "troll".
23. Oscar-winning role for Forest: IDI (Amin). In 2007. What's your favorite Forest Whitaker movie? Mine is "Good morning, Vietnam" .
24. PC backup key: ESC
25. Corrosion-resistant metal: IRIDIUM. Used in hardening platinum for alloys (as for surgical instruments). The suffix "ium" suggests metallic element.
29. Letter flourish: SERIF
31. Sgt. Snorkel's pooch: OTTO. Used to stump me.
33. An A will usually raise it: Abbr.: GPA
34. Science opening?: NEURO. Opening of the word neuroscience.
36. Most congenial: NICEST. Like PJB-Chicago.
42. Event with a piñata: FIESTA
43. Stuffing stuff: EIDER. Eider down. Pillow stuffing. I was thinking of Thanksgiving turkey.
44. "Exodus" hero: ARI. Learned from doing Xword.
45. At the top of the heap: BEST
47. Roman __: thinly disguised fiction: A CLEF. Real story depicted in fictional guise. Like Sylvia Plath's "The Bell Jar", her semi-autobiography. "Roman à clef" is French for “novel with a key.” Roman = Novel. Clef = Key.
51. Often scandalous book genre: TELL- ALL. It's a genre?
54. Dawdle behind: LAG
56. Old name of Tokyo: EDO. Before 1868.
60. With alacrity: APACE. "Alacrity" is a new word to me. I do know "celerity" though. Same meaning: "speed".
63. Ruminate: MUSE
64. Prefix with dextrous: AMBI. Ambidextrous. Prefix meaning "both".
65. Its capital is Apia: SAMOA. More often we see APIA clued as "Samoa capital".
67. Despicable: VILE
68. Almost boil: SCALD. Always associated the word with "boiling" rather than "almost boil".
69. Political cartoonist Thomas: NAST. The guy who created GOP elephant/Democratic donkey.
70. Israeli statesman Weizman: EZER. Former Israeli president Weizman in 1990s. I forgot. Hebrew name meaning "help".
1. One of Luther's 95: THESIS. Martin Luther's "The Ninety-Five Theses".
2. Like "The Day the Earth Stood Still," in 2008: REMADE. Easy guess.
3. Alchemist's creation: ELIXIR
4. Hawk family bird: KITE
5. High-tech invader: VIRUS. Took the Geek Squad guy almost two hours to get rid of the virus on my computer last time.
6. Of one mind: IN ACCORD. Very well matched.
7. Aptly named shaving lotion: AFTA. "After".
8. Became unhinged: LOST IT
10. Govt. security: T- BOND. How is it different from T- BILL again?
11. Otologist's concern: EAR
12. Org. dodged by draft dodgers: SSS. Plenty of D alliteration.
13. Driver's starting point: TEE. Golf club "driver".
21. Take down: DEFEAT
22. Did a laundry chore: IRONED. Ironing can be soothing.
26. "__ a Kick Out of You": Cole Porter: I GET. I figured it's either I GET or I GOT.
27. "__-daisy!": UPSY
28. Welcome spot: MAT. Welcome mat.
30. "What You Need" band: INXS. The Australia band. Pronounced like "in excess". I've never heard of the song.
32. Carryalls: TOTES
35. Lacking capacity: UNABLE
37. 2002 movie with Manny the Mammoth: ICE AGE. Was unaware of the movie. Is Manny the big guy?
38. Newspaper concern, esp. lately: CIRC (Circulation)
39. Bold Ruler, to Secretariat: SIRE. Unknown trivia to me.
40. Versailles eye: OEIL. French for "eye".
41. Schedules of problems to be dealt with: HIT LISTS. I always connect "hit list" with Mafia murder.
42. More than plump: FAT
46. Jenna of "Dharma & Greg": ELFMAN. Her name escaped me. She's pretty good in "Keeping the Faith".
48. Musical based on an 1862 novel, for short: LES MIZ. "Les Misérables". Who can forget Susan Boyle's "I Dreamed a Dream"?
49. Safe to put away: EDIBLE. Thought of the storage. Was ignorant of the "eat" meaning of "put away".
50. More artful: FOXIER. Not SLIER this time.
52. Henry Blake's title on "M*A*S*H": LT. COL (Lieutenant Colonel). Stumper.
53. Good place to get?: AHEAD. "Get ahead". Got me also.
55. "Give it __!": A REST
59. Uninhibited party: RAVE
60. The law, according to Mr. Bumble: ASS. No idea. From "Oliver Twist". Mr. Bumble said " The law is a ass, a idiot".
61. Lobbying gp.: PAC. NRA came to mind first.
62. Org. for GPs: AMA