Theme: DUPES (38A. 1- and 64-Across, and the first words of the four longest puzzle answers) - The green-highlighted words are all synonyms for "sucker".
1A. Court jester : FOOL. & 64A. Hammer or sickle : TOOL. Bookended the grid. It's important that both are clued in non-dupe sense.
17A. Country singer with the 1961 hit "Crazy" : PATSY CLINE. Please read Jerome's note at the end of my write-up for his theme inspiration.
56A. Shameful emblem in Genesis : MARK OF CAIN. And another Biblical reference PRODIGAL (30A. Like the son in a parable of Jesus). The Prodigal Son.
10D. Hockshop receipt : PAWN TICKET. Sad.
29D. Remora : SUCKER FISH. Attached to sharks/whales, etc.
C.C. here, filling in for a blogging schedule gap and feeling very happy to blog a Jerome puzzle. I learned the "sucker" meaning of TOOL last time it appeared in our puzzle. TOOL is certainly a dynamic word, isn't it?
Sometimes we see the first & last Across entries together serving as one theme entry, for example, TOOL in 1A and SHED in 64D, TOOL SHED as one unit, with TOOL the only "Sucker" element. So, my questions for Jerome:
1) Did you already have in mind where you wanted FOOL & TOOL to be before you started the gridding? Or did the placement of the rhyming pair occur to you during the gridding?
2) Was your original unifier DUPES?
5. Zoo barriers : MOATS. Those who have been to Xi'An will remember the city wall and the deep moats.
10. Sourdough's ground breaker : PICK. I don't get this clue. (Added late: The question has been addressed in the Comments section. Thanks, everyone.)
14. Quint's boat in "Jaws" : ORCA. Have never seen "Jaws".
15. Polite : CIVIL
16. Yemen seaport : ADEN. Hot spot right now.
19. Trickery : WILE
20. __-mo replay : SLO
21. Vicinity : AREA
22. Submerge while sitting poolside, as one's feet : DANGLE. Vivid imagery.
24. Australian folk hero Kelly : NED. Just for Kazie.
25. Mine entrance : ADIT. Learned from doing Xword.
26. 49th state : ALASKA. So, what does Alaska mean?
34. Bills of fare : MENUS
35. Sudden ache : PANG
36. Heal : CURE. I like this consecutive ache & CURE.
37. Old Norse mariner : ERIC. Eric the Red. Jerome's grandpa is named Olaf.
39. Retain : KEEP
40. Cranny relative : NOOK
41. Russia's __ Mountains : URAL
42. "Beau __ " : GESTE
43. Kitchen areas, perhaps : DINETTES
45. Fastening pin : COTTER. Cotter pin.
46. Cereal grain : RICE. Gluten free, thank God!
47. Also : TOO
48. Sponge for grunge : LOOFAH. Oh no, I use loofah just to exfoliate.
51. Play a round : GOLF. Better to start with 9 holes when spring comes.
52. Timing lead-in : TWO. Two-timing.
55. "The Time Machine" race : ELOI
59. Puppy bites : NIPS
60. Mindy, to Mork? : ALIEN. Mork lives in Ork.
61. Teen bane : ACNE
62. Reggae musician Peter : TOSH. Of The Wailers.
63. Doofus : NINNY. Fun fill for today's theme.
1. Dandies : FOPS
2. Shouted, say : ORAL
3. Septi- plus one : OCTO. Prefix for "eight", as in Octomom.
4. Vegas opener : LAS
5. Joel who was the first actor to portray Dr. Kildare : McCREA. Unknown trivia to me.
6. No longer squeaky : OILED
7. Adidas rival : AVIA. Latin for "fly" (Bob is not here)!
8. Badge material : TIN
9. Snow pack? : SLED DOGS. Great clue/answer.
11. Beatnik's "Got it" : I DIG
12. Calaboose compartment : CELL. Jail cell.
13. Pants part : KNEE
18. 2009 Series winners : YANKS. Boo! Money gets them everything!
23. Lend a hand : AID
25. Synthetic fiber : ARNEL. Trademark.
26. Congressionally change : AMEND. Hence amendment then.
27. The king of France? : LE ROI. Literally. "Vive le Roi!"
28. Atom with a negative charge : ANION
30. Mamas' mates : PAPAs
31. Hotel client : GUEST
32. Sharp ridge : ARETE. Clear Ayes should nail this one.
33. With 45-Down, Middle Ages quarantine area : LEPER. And COLONY (45. See 33-Down). Nice cross-reference.
35. Put through a sieve : PUREE
38. "The Flying __": Wagner opera : DUTCHMAN. To us baseball fans, the name is only for the great Honus Wagner. That card (T206, near mint) was sold over $2 million a few years ago.
42. Explode : GO OFF
44. Padre's hermana : TIA. Father's sister.
47. Memento : TOKEN
48. Pre-Easter period : LENT
49. Hodgepodge : OLIO
50. "Uh-oh, I dropped it!" : OOPS
51. Big smile : GRIN
52. Crisp, filled tortilla : TACO
53. Sot : WINO
54. First-year law student : ONE-L. Scott Turow's book is a good read.
57. Ring icon : ALI. Boxing ring.
58. Sylvester, e.g. : CAT. Sylvester the Cat.
Notes from Jerome:
My mother, Amber, was a Gospel singer and an accomplished pianist. She never made it big-time, but she was often a featured soloist in Baptist churches and on local radio in Oakland, California where I grew up. However, she enjoyed singing all kinds of music, and beyond Gospel, her favorite was Country. Especially Patsy Cline. So, much of the music of my youth came from Mahalia Jackson, Ethel Waters, The Blackwood Brothers and a lot of Patsy Cline. Though I'm pretty much a Rock and Roller I still enjoy the music Amber loved so much.
A few months back I was listening to a Patsy Cline album, having a beer, relaxing, just simply enjoying a little music... and... well, there you go, the theme for today's puzzle. Simple idea, but it was fifty plus years in the making.
Not being a shy guy, I'll gladly take a pat on the back from anyone who likes this puzzle. I must request, however, a smile for Amber too. :)