Theme: Happy New Year! Oops. No. New year resolutions! Nope. OK, I get it....
Let's put away the holiday decorations; but where? How fun!
We have five common phrases with the last word a place you can store things, with each clued humorously to create new images. I had a hard time parsing the JUST IN to reflect newest until I said it out loud, removing Justin from my brain. This is my second PAK puzzle, the other from December, 2010. Most of her puzzles are Sunday efforts but this is clearly a Friday with some deceptive cluing and some hard to remember fill. There was not much in long fill outside the theme, BB SHOT, a bit of crosswordese, EDEN, À LA. Off we go into 2016.
17A. Where to keep the newest merchandise? : JUST IN CASE (10). This gave me such a hard time. Of course the phrase has nothing to do with that kind of case, which is where the humor is.
26A. Where to keep papal headgear? : MITER BOX (8). Really cute, and I will defer to Splynter for discussion of the original meaning.
38A. Where to keep bustiers and halters? : TOP DRAWER (9). Again a phrase that has nothing to do with the storage space morphs into where women keep their tops.
53A. Where to keep tunes? : DITTY BAG (8) The last two do not have same dramatic change as ditty bag holds ditties both way. A tough fill unless you are familiar with either the musical definition LINK, or the new ONE.
64A. Where to keep clock components? : HAND BASKET (10). Well this puzzle went to hell quickly, though a basket filled with the hands from clocks is a cute image.
1. Prynne punishment : RED A. Scarlett letter actually for Hester.
5. Family that wrote a lot of notes : BACHS. An amazingly prolific FAMILY.
10. Chief of Staff after Haldeman : HAIG. Alexander quite famous for I'M IN CHARGE.
14. Summer quenchers : ADES. Cool we begin the year with a CSO to me.
15. Let go : ALLOW.
16. It's all around you : AURA. It certainly seemed so in the 60's and 70's.
19. Tabloid perennial : IDOL. Simon Cowell is coming to AGOT!
20. Circus couple? : CEES.
21. Strength : SINEW. Really?
23. Andalusian article : UNA.
24. Fictional destroyer of Chamberlain, Maine : CARRIE. Maine and you know it is Stephen King.
29. Green eggs advocate : SAM. But they need Ham...
31. Food Channel adjective : SAVORY.
32. High flat : MESA.
34. "American Pastoral" Pulitzer-winning author : ROTH. Philip has written so many books but this ONE earned him the Pulitzer Prize.
37. Actress Russo : RENE. She is 61
43. No hassle : EASE.
44. Cheek : SASS.
48. Sponge : ABSORB.
50. Super __ : PAC.
52. Sign of summer : LEO. and the Clecho 61A. Sign-changing area : CUSP.
56. Church counter? : ROSARY. Beads me what this means.
58. Styled after : À LA.
59. Big name in beauty : ESTEE. Let's praise her in Latin. I love inter-lingual puns.
62. Sees : GETS. Mira!
67. DOE division?: Abbr. : ENERgy.
68. End of a host's query : OR TEA? Coffee or?
69. Hair piece : HANK. Not a toupee.
70. Hill meeting: Abbr. : SESSion. Capitol Hill.
71. Quaint retort : 'TIS'NT. Again so soon after yesterday's 'Tis.
72. Enjoying a lot : IN TO.
1. Koothrappali on "The Big Bang Theory" : RAJ.
TEACH. The world depends on you.
3. Leaves without leave : DESERTS. The military.
4. Daisy lookalike : ASTER. Aster to the left
5. Proscription : BAN.
6. MLB best-of-seven series : ALCS. American League Championship Series.
7. Assertion : CLAIM.
8. Egypt's Mubarak : HOSNI. No way to COMMENT.
9. Candy : SWEETS. I still miss HIM.
10. Osaka okay : HAI. Yes in Japanese.
11. "The Birds of America" author : AUDUBON.
12. You can dig it : IRON ORE. Very vague but it is Friday.
13. Place to see stars : GALAXY. Riding in an old Ford?
22. "__ Family": 1979 R &B hit : WE ARE.
25. Tombstone VIP : EARP. Wyatt. I liked Hugh O' Brian better. He is still alive and married for the first time at age 81.
27. Camping enthusiasts, for short : RV'ERS.
30. How it's done : MODE.
33. Reveling, after "on" : A TOOT.
35. Vocal syllable : TRA. LA LA Linda.
36. Door fastener : HASP.
39. Deli request : ON RYE.
40. Common sign of age : WEAR. And tear.
41. Kansas site of the Eisenhower Presidential Library : ABILENE. The town also had Wild Bill Hickok as Marshall for a while and 186 miles from Dodge City.
42. They're left behind : ESTATES. Real property, probate and estate planning...my current life.
45. Yakutat native : ALASKAN. Just a simple guess.
46. Garden snake? : SERPENT. Which helps with 60D. Utopia : EDEN.
47. __ sauce : SOY. Do you use it with your 57D. Bite-sized Asian dish : SUSHI.
48. Words from the wise : ADAGES.
49. Red Ryder ammo : B B SHOT. Did you watch the marathon A CHRISTMAS STORY? (2:12).
51. 1952 "Your Show of Shows" Emmy winner : COCA.
54. Arcade pioneer : ATARI.
55. Fellows : GENTS.
63. Gp. receiving diplomas : SRS.
65. Cavern critter : BAT.
66. Ring ruling : TKO. Technical Knock Out.
Technical or otherwise I am out of here; I thank PAK for starting us in the New Year; thank you C.C. for still being here after almost 8 years and all of those who read and write and those who just read: may 2016 be a banner year for all. Lemonade out.