Theme: IOU's - The first word in each theme entry spells out I, O, U's phonetically.
17A. Cyclone center : EYE (I) OF A HURRICANE.
26A. Roy Orbison hit featured in a Gere/Roberts film : OH (O) PRETTY WOMAN. I used to think the song title was just "Pretty Woman".
43A. Exerciser's motto : USE (U's) IT OR LOSE IT
56A. Debtors' documents suggested by the sequence of the first words of 17-, 26- and 43-Across : PROMISSORY NOTES. Plural form as a 15-letter spanner eases up the gridding considerably.
C.C. here, giving Argyle another break. No new puzzle at Cruciverb. Their monthly glitch. I cried wolf last Monday.
Excellent puzzle from Jeff Chen, who's a master at coming up with smooth Monday grids with eye-popping fill.
1. Money under a mattress, e.g. : STASH. And 39. Reliable moneymakers : CASH COWS. "Money" clecho (clue echo).
6. Poses a question : ASKS. To answer your question Bill G, it doesn't happen often with LA Times, but there are certainly times when I can't figure out a theme. As for when, no rules.
10. Hired rides : CABS
14. Singer Lena : HORNE
15. Apt name for a windstorm? : GAIL. Very strong wind here last night.
16. Hollywood celeb : IDOL. I really like Bradley Cooper now, esp since Daniel Craig & D-Otto never called me. Bradley, this is crazy, but here's my number, so call me maybe?
20. Spotted : SAW
21. Pitcher's mistake : BALK
22. Feral no more : TAMED
23. Adds highlights at the salon : DYES. I've been thinking of having the hairstyle Marti and Garlic Gal sport. But it's hard to pull it off. Looks like high maintenance.
25. Sources of storage chest wood : CEDARS. So Blue Iris has some Peter Rabbit melmac dishes in her cedar chest. What's in yours? We don't have a chest.
31. By surface area, second-largest Great Lake : HURON
32. Rent-a-car choice : AVIS
33. Apply daintily : DAB
36. Ladder rung : STEP
37. Taj __ : MAHAL
39. Gospel singer Winans : CECE
40. Needing no Rx : OTC
41. Late-night Jay : LENO. Not my cup of Java.
42. Coffees, in slang : JAVAS
47. Shipping container : CARTON
49. Inaugural pledge : OATH
50. Sarandon of "Thelma & Louise" : SUSAN. She's in "Bull Durham".
51. Channel for business types : CNBC
53. Magna __ laude : CUM
60. 50-and-over org. : AARP
61. 1,000 meters, briefly : KILO
62. Hindu guru : SWAMI
63. Loch of legend : NESS
64. "By Jove!" : I SAY
65. Extremely pale : ASHEN
1. Her, subjectively : SHE
2. Hot Wheels and hula hoops : TOYS
3. Region : AREA
4. Flower that usually blooms in winter : SNOWDROP
5. Playboy founder, for short : HEF. Newly wed.
6. Thunderstruck : AGHAST
7. Bellow in a library? : SAUL. Saul Bellow.
8. Spock's captain : KIRK
9. Photog's camera choice : SLR
10. Large, noisy insect : CICADA. I used to pick up cicada skins in the summer time, then sold them to the Chinese herb shops. I can't remember what they are good for.
11. Starters of the first race? : ADAM AND EVE. Great answer/clue.
12. Silly mistake : BONER. Rich won't allow HOOTERS in a grid.
13. Winter coasters : SLEDS
18. Help illegally : ABET
19. List components : ITEMS
24. Japanese money : YEN. It has the same character as Chinese currency Yuan.
25. Spiral shape : COIL
26. Too-too : OH SO
27. Sci-fi's Jabba the __ : HUTT
28. Forerunners : PRECURSORS
29. Search engine name : YAHOO
30. Appalachian state: Abbr. : WVA. WV is more common.
34. Berry in modern diet supplements : ACAI
35. Oscar category word : BEST
37. Chow __ : MEIN. Chow= Stir-fried. Mein= Noodles. Cantonese.
38. Picnic pest : ANT
41. Téa of "Tower Heist" : LEONI
42. Scribble (down) : JOT
44. Postal purchases : STAMPS
45. Drink named for a Scottish hero : ROB ROY. Scotch.
46. Like some nighties : LACY
47. Channel for political types : C-SPAN
48. Psychic glows : AURAE. Never know if it's going to end in S or E.
51. Forensics team members: Abbr. : CSIs
52. The Big Easy acronym : NOLA. Hi there Hahtoola.
54. The Beehive State : UTAH
55. Kid's enthusiastic "I do!" : ME, ME
57. Compete in a slalom : SKI
58. Clandestine govt. org. : NSA
59. Admission in a confessional : SIN
1) Congratulations to Marti on her first ACPT! We're so proud of what you achieved! Marti only had one week to prepare for the tournament. With more practice, she's going to jump way ahead next year. Congratulates to Dan Feyer as well. You're just amazing, Dan.
2) Happy Birthday to our beautiful Mari! She said this photo "shows two of my favorite things: cats and needlepoint. It leaves out my two other loves: Crosswords and books! I also included recently discovered photos of my great grandparents and my grand parents."