Theme: A Helping of Homophones - the theme entries have similar-sounding final words (with different F sound spellings) and the reveal has both words playing the sound-alike game.
17A Hearty har-har: BELLY LAUGH
26A National Geographic’s first natural one appeared in 1914: COLOR PHOTOGRAPH. "Natural" in this context means the photograph was taken on color film and printed "as is", not hand-tinted. This was the picture - a flower garden in Ghent, Belgium.
47A Group on “The West Wing”: WHITE HOUSE STAFF
62A Container that holds two generous glasses of wine (as well as a double dose of this puzzle’s theme?): HALF CARAFE
Steve here with Michael's midweek masterpiece (I never let a good alliteration opportunity go begging). The final theme answer only works for me if I drop my British pronunciation and turn all-American - I would say it as "HARF CARAFF" and that rather ruins things!
I enjoyed the theme and cottoned on to it after the first two entries, so it made for mostly plain sailing. I always like to make it hard for myself with one goof, and today filling in JAWS as 10D rather than 10A was the culprit.
Let's see what we've got with the rest of the puzzle.
1 Shaving product “by Mennen”: AFTA
5 Deep voices: BASSI
10 “You’re gonna need a bigger boat” film: JAWS. Best line in the movie, in my ever-so-humble opinion. Second best: "I'm not going to waste my time arguing with a man who's lining up to be a hot lunch."
14 Talk too much: BLAB. That's probably me on this blog.
15 Class clown’s bit: ANTIC
16 Give __: care: A RAP. I never heard this expression before. I love how you can be (mumble) years old and still learn new words and phrases.
19 Low-lying area: VALE
20 Surpasses: EXCEEDS
21 Qualified for the position: HIRABLE
23 Profs’ protégés, briefly: T.A.'S. Teacher's Pets - I mean Assistants.
24 Prefix with trooper: PARA
25 Its 2014 games will be held in Sochi, Rus.: I.O.C. The International Olympic Committee, who in their wisdom awarded these winter games to a resort with a subtropical climate where temperatures in February have been recorded as high as 70F.
31 The Cavaliers of the ACC: UVA. The University of Virginia, members of the Atlantic Coast Conference.
32 Average amount: NORM. Does Norm from "Cheers" drink an average amount?
33 Cape near Cod: ANN. It also gives its name to a style of house:
34 Savor the sun: BASK
36 Halfhearted: TEPID
39 Legend with rackets: ASHE. Tennis star Arthur.
42 “Silent” president Coolidge: CAL. I was going to grumble about the abbreviation of Calvin, but then realized his nickname was "Silent Cal"
44 Other, in Oaxaca: OTRO
46 Slippery one: EEL
52 Carpooling letters: HOV. I chuckle sometimes when I think about a the fact that a "high-occupancy vehicle" here in LA consists of two people. Angelenos really do not like carpooling.
53 Loses luster: DIMS
54 Hawaiian tuna: AHI. Food! Hawaiian ahi poke is one of my go-to favorites when I'm on the islands.
55 Do impressions of: IMITATE
57 “All kidding aside”: I MEAN IT. Usually not a good thing to hear from a parent.
61 Fifth-century pope: LEO I
64 Month following Av: ELUL. Crosses all the way.
65 Pension law acronym: ERISA. I had to look up the Employee Retirement Income Security Act which attempts to safeguard pension contributions from employer jiggery-pokery (I think that's an official term in the wording of the law)
66 Soon: ANON. Webster's declares this to be "archaic" but I use it - "See you anon" and I'm only (mumble) years old. Cheek.
67 Method: Abbr.: SYST. System.
68 Device used before applying 1-Across: RAZOR. I wonder if Occam used Afta?
69 Ilk: SORT. One of the world's most tremendous names is Peregrine Moncreiffe of that Ilk, the clan chief of the Moncreiffes.
1 French cleric: ABBÉ
2 Move a muscle: FLEX.
3 Powder mineral: TALC
4 Can, after “is”: ABLE TO
5 Where there’s no hair apparent: BALD SPOT. Great clue!
6 Literary collections: ANAS
7 VW preceders?: STU. Alphabet.
8 Show exasperation toward: SIGH AT
9 Suzuki with 10 MLB Gold Gloves: ICHIRO. First of two baseball references today - Ichiro is an immensely-talented outfielder now with the New York Yankees.
10 Bean-based beverage: JAVA
11 Indian Ocean arm: ARABIAN SEA
12 Long homer, say: WALLOP. As well as 10 Gold Glove awards, the aforementioned Ichiro also won three Silver Sluggers, so we can safely say he's hit a few wallops in his career.
13 Valedictorian’s big moment: SPEECH
18 Hanker (for): YEARN
22 Sitar music: RAGA. Here's a nice example of the genre.
24 Like some 13-Downs: POMPOUS
26 Babe in the woods: CUB
27 Egg cells: OVA
28 Lewd: LASCIVIOUS. Word of the day for me. I hope I'm never described as this!
29 Otto I’s realm: Abbr.: H.R.E. Second "Abbr." cluing today. The Holy Roman Empire.
30 Genetic material: RNA. Is it an R? Is it a D? I'll wait and see.
35 Kit __ Klub: “Cabaret” setting: KAT
37 “__ now or never”: IT'S
38 Ideal wheels: DREAM CAR. As far as current production cars are concerned, here's mine - the Aston-Martin DB9
40 Playboy nickname: HEF. Mr. Hugh Hefner of dressing-gown fame.
41 Rivendell dweller: ELF. The Lord of the Rings has been very handy for crossword puzzle constructors with all kinds of three-letter denizens of Middle Earth (Orc and Ent are but two more). It also gives me an excuse to post a picture of the lovely Liv Tyler in her role as Arwen.
43 Mother of Helen of Troy: LEDA
45 Milo of the movies: O'SHEA
47 Makes pass, as time, with “away”: WHILES
48 Hardly handsome: HOMELY
49 __ and yon: HITHER. I honestly thought this was the other way around! In England we also have "hither and thither" - try saying that three times quickly.
50 1998 PGA Player of the Year Mark: O'MEARA. He was something of a late bloomer - he played 15 years on the tour before he won his first major (the Masters) and then won the Open Championship the same year, hence his Player of the Year award. Oddly, after that 1998 blaze of glory he never won on the tour again.
51 Pageant toppers: TIARAS
56 Lean: TILT. The L was the last letter for me today. I was thinking "low fat" lean and I didn't know ELUL so I had to play the alphabet game. It was only the second time through that I saw the "other" lean meaning.
57 “Should that be true ...”: IF SO
58 iPod mini successor: NANO
59 “__ one, think that ...”: I FOR
60 Camper’s shelter: TENT
63 Fashion’s Claiborne: LIZ