Mark's fun Wednesday offering is a self-defense course for anyone who finds themselves in a bad part of Transylvania. The guy below is equipped with three of Mark's enumerated weapons against Bram Stoker's VAMPIRE. Maybe the MIRROR is in his pocket.
Here are Mark's "instrumente de a utilize" ("tools to use" in Romanian) to "off" a VAMPIRE in these Across theme answers:
17. *Trattoria basket filler : GARLIC BREAD - Slavic countries and Romania have used this vegetable to find and prevent VAMPIRES as late as 1970.
33. *Railroad track piece : CROSS TIE - Thinking they were evil and excluded from God's world, VAMPIRES would feel uneasy seeing a CROSS, seen here wielded by Buffy The Vampire Slayer Sara Michelle Gellar
42. *Police surveillance : STAKE OUT - Buffy's ready to take to heart this method for snuffing out our bloodsucking theme
58. *Reversed counterpart : MIRROR IMAGE - Bram Stoker's VAMPIRE hated MIRRORS because his lack of an image revealed he had no soul. Buffy gives him a frame of reference?
The theme reveal is a vertical at 39 Down
39. Folklore creature traditionally averse to the starts of the answers to starred clues : VAMPIRE - C'mon, isn't Bela Lugosi the VAMPIRE we all think of?
Mark's Puzzle was a little OATIER than most midweek offerings and I got the theme reveal before I started looking for it because the lower middle took most of my MEASLY (recent puzzle) skills.
Now let's explore the rest of the non-lethal cluing Mark provided
1. Yin Yang portrayer in "The Expendables" film series : JET LI - Can you find him in this poster for the film that got none of my Expendable income?
6. Business : TRADE
11. Covers with Quilted Northern, briefly : TPS - I can think of a few of our cwd family that have probably TP'd a house. Maybe even recently.
14. Shun : AVOID
15. Portend : AUGUR - A definite mini theme with 12 Down - Portend : PRESAGE and 56 Down - Portent : OMEN. Not as creepy as Dracula but...
16. Christian sch. in Tulsa : ORU - They're the Golden Eagles of Oral Roberts University
19. Cartoon Chihuahua : REN
20. Lad of La Mancha : NIÑO - We all hope the current El NIÑO will bring relief to our left coasters
21. Union : ONENESS
23. Rural expanse : LEA
25. Make a bet : GAMBLE
28. "I don't give __!" : A RAP - PresAge tore my original A RIP out of the puzzle. RAP is an old world counterfeit coin, hence this phrase unfamiliar to me was correct
29. Karachi language : URDU
31. Nursery purchase : SEED - The Burpee SEED Catalog is a harbinger of spring
32. Scrapped, at NASA : NO GO
35. Atlas enlargement : INSET
36. Deck honcho, informally : BOS'N - BOS'N Mate 3rd class.
37. Recital highlights : SOLI - Several SOLOS
39. Thomas, Dick and Harry : VEEPS - Not PEEPS - Jefferson, Nixon and Truman - all who became prez
46. Rations for Rover : ALPO - A famous ALPO pitchman and his "pet"
47. Sealed : SHUT
48. Black Hills st. : S DAK
49. Israel's Golda : MEIR - Seinfeld discussion on ugliest world leader, Elaine says, "I got news for you. Golda MEIR could make 'em all run up a tree!"
50. Unimportant : TWO BIT - "He called me a TWO BIT hustler." "Whadja do?" "I hit him with my bagful of quarters!"
52. __ gratias: thanks to God : DEO
53. Rural expanse : PASTURE - More picturesque in my Grandfather's Switzerland
55. Son of Aphrodite : EROS
57. Diminutive Italian suffix : INO - Does Domino's only serve small pizzas?
63. Towel holder : ROD
64. No longer dirt : PAVED - After and before
65. Artist's headgear : BERET - Très chic or Très idiot
66. Prior to, in verse : ERE
67. Gobs : SLEWS
68. El Día de Los Reyes month : ENERO - Or The Story of the Three Kings - Los Tres Reyes Magos - celebrated on JANUARY 6th in Mexico which is the height of their Christmas season when gifts are exchanged
1. Upscale British wheels : JAG - Me - "Jag Wahr". Our resident Brits and Kiwis - "Jag U Ar"
2. Actress Longoria : EVA - Her series lasted two episodes. Downton breathes a sigh of relief
3. Twister : TORNADO
4. Caron title role : LILI - A 1953 film that gave us Hi Lili, Hi Lo which we sang in Boy's Glee
5. Picking out of an LAPD lineup : ID'ING - IDentifyING
6. Bar charges : TAB
7. Play with robots : RUR - You belong over there with ONO in Crossword Land
8. Ancient : AGE OLD
9. One of the Allman Brothers : DUANE - He formed the band but she married the other one
10. Earth, to Mahler : ERDE
11. Corrida stars : TOREROS
13. *Daytime observatory sighting : SUNSPOT - Earth compared to SUNSPOT 11476
22. Kid watchers : NANNIES - To travel, we need a NANNY for our Lily
23. Jean-__ Picard: "Star Trek: TNG" captain : LUC - He is Kirk of The Next Generation
24. Make a wrong turn, say : ERR
26. Chow __ : MEIN
27. Quilting gathering : BEE - Lincoln, NE is the home of The International Quilt Museum and Study Center
30. Laptop connection : USB PORT
34. "Mamma Mia!" song : SOS
35. Kind : ILK
37. Incomplete Wikipedia entry : STUB - New to moi!
38. More like Cheerios : OATIER - Any port in a linguistic storm
40. First lady between Lou and Bess : ELEANOR - She took all the grief her husband and his mother could give her and still turned out to be a real heroine of the 20th century
41. Series installment : EPISODE - Not many left for Downton
42. "Homeland" sta. : SHO
43. "Most likely ... " : ODDS ARE
44. Dubai's fed. : UAE
45. "Thrilla in Manila" ruling, for short : TKO - Ali got the TKO but his cornerman said Ali told him "Cut off the gloves, I quit!" seconds after Frazier quit so Joe could have gotten the TKO if he had waited
47. Change direction abruptly : SWERVE
50. "The Good Wife" event : TRIAL
51. Extended family : TRIBE - Tribal ties trump country ties in parts of the Mideast
54. Ballpark figures : UMPS
59. Button with left-pointing arrows: Abbr. : REW - "Did he really say that?"
60. Gorges oneself (on) : ODS
61. Belg. neighbor : GER - GER General Schlieffen's WWI plan to invade France took him through tiny, neutral BEL and within 5 miles of Paris
62. Ike's wartime command : ETO - Main stage for WWI and WWII - "When will they ever learn, when will they ever learn?"
Stoker's VAMPIRE, COUNT DRACULA, may have made some people's "blood run cold", but I look forward to your comments which I'm sure will make no one's BLOOD boil.