Theme: Two-Letter Combos - Pick two letters and find two related words that start with said letters.
17A. *Game where one might have an ace in the hole : STUD POKER
36A. *Financial page listing : STOCK PRICE
43A. *Only woman ever elected governor of Alaska : SARAH PALIN. In the news again.
61A. *Stack of unsolicited manuscripts : SLUSH PILE. Previously, this clue/answer were reversed.
11D. *Informal surveys : STRAW POLLS
29D. *Touchy topics : SORE POINTS
68A. "500" Wall St. index ... and a hint to the answers to starred clues : S AND P. (Standard & Poor's)
Argyle here. Mary Lou is very good at this style of early week themes. The perps should get you through the rough spots.
1. '90s game disc : POG. Tough start unless you had kids in the '90s or you were yourself.
4. Infield fly : POP-UP
9. Invites home for dinner, say : HAS IN. If it's Hannibal, don't go.
14. 007 creator Fleming : IAN
15. Banish : EXILE
16. Unable to sit still : ANTSY
19. Actor __ Elba of "The Wire" : IDRIS. The name "Idris"; Wikipedia.
20. Liability offset : ASSET
21. Settle in a new country : EMIGRATE
23. Young Simpson : BART
26. "Coulda been worse!" : "PHEW!". "That was a close one!"
27. Biblical beast : ASS
30. Least fatty : LEANEST
33. __-12 conference : PAC. (Pacific Coast Conference)
38. "__ creature was stirring ... " : NOT A
39. Team in 40-Across : CARDS
40. Arch city: Abbr. : STL. (St. Louis)
41. Ship carrying fuel : OILER
42. Iowa State city : AMES
45. Very quietly, in music : PPP. (pianississimo)
46. Artist's paint holder : PALETTE
47. Farm pen : STY
48. Gave the nod to : OKed. Anon nit, yes, we know you think it should be OK'D.
50. Payroll IDs : SSNs. (Social Security number)
52. Became partners : PAIRED UP
56. To date : SO FAR
60. Ed with seven Emmys : ASNER
64. "I'll do it" : "LET ME"
65. Gum treatment, briefly : PERIO. (periodontal treatment)
66. Former president of Pakistan : ZIA. Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq (Boy, did I mess this up!)
67. Relaxed : EASED
69. Reheat quickly : ZAP
1. Leaning Tower of __ : PISA
2. Stable diet : OATS
3. Bearded antelopes : GNUs
4. Coaches' speeches : PEP TALKS
5. Losing tic-tac-toe string : O-X-O
6. Water__: dental brand : PIK
7. Title beekeeper played by Peter Fonda : ULEE. "Ulee's Gold"
8. Make waves? : PERM
9. San Francisco street that crosses Ashbury : HAIGHT. For all you hippies.
10. Netman Agassi : ANDRE. (tennis)
12. "__ just me?" : IS IT
13. Financial page abbr. : NYSE. (New York Stock Exchange) How's your stock price?
18. Budding socialite : DEB
22. __ dixit: assertion without proof : IPSE
24. Sales agent : REP. 18D and 24D don't have indications that they are abbreviations: we know.
25. Like ankle bones : TARSAL
27. Songwriters' org. : ASCAP. (American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers)
28. "Put __ here": envelope corner reminder : STAMP
31. Saltpeter, to a Brit : NITRE. (potassium nitrate)
32. Flashy displays : ECLATS
34. Took the loss, financially : ATE IT
35. Sideshow barker : CARNY. Short for carnival worker.
37. Music store buys : CDs
38. Actress Peeples : NIA
41. Workplace where union membership is optional : OPEN SHOP
43. DWI-fighting org. : SADD. (Students Against Destructive Decisions)
44. Growth chart nos. : HTs. (heights)
46. Looked carefully : PEERED
49. Krispy __ doughnuts : KREME
51. Soak (up) : SOP
52. Hardly healthy-looking : PALE
53. Out of port : ASEA
54. Snail-mail delivery org. : USPS. (United States Postal Service)
55. Formal petition : PLEA
57. Antacid jingle word repeated after "plop, plop" : FIZZ, FIZZ.
58. Et __: and others : ALIA
59. Harvest : REAP
62. Barista's vessel : URN
63. Rocker Vicious : SID. Bonus S&P: He was a member of the Sex Pistols.