Theme: Wealth well within the dreams of avarice. Phrases representing large sums of money are clued in such a way that the phrase relates to a person's occupation or avocation.
17. Tidy sum, to a coin collector? : PRETTY PENNY. This phrase is known to go back to the 1760's. In this instance, PENNY is a synecdoche for money in general, as contrasted to its usual indication of an insignificant amount, so the phrase incorporates a modicum of sardonic humor. A coin collector would have above average appreciation for a literal PRETTY PENNY, if it were of sufficient rarity. Alternatively, one may consider . . .
28. Tidy sum, to a chairmaker? : AN ARM AND A LEG. This phrase is not known to go back any further than 1949. It may be derived from 19th century phrases like "I'd give my right arm for . . ." which seems familiar and " . . . even if it takes a leg," which does not. In any event, it's more in-the-language than A SEAT AND A BACK, which the chairmaker must also consider.
43. Tidy sum, to a soothsayer? : SMALL FORTUNE. This phrase is more literal, and I can't find any information on where it came from. It indicates a sum beyond what is reasonable in some circumstance, but certainly less than a large fortune. A soothsayer can presumably use some occult mechanism to predict your future. But - can you afford it?
56. Tidy sum, to a chess player? : KING’S RANSOM. Now we're talking real money. The phrase is only known to go back to the 13th Century. In 1260, during the 7th Crusade, King Louis IX of France was captured in Egypt by Turks, who demanded a large amount of money to secure his release. However, during the 3rd Crusade, Richard I Plantagenet of England was captured in December, 1192 by Duke Leopold of Austria who had a real or imagined grudge. The amount demanded for his release was more than twice the annual income of the English crown. Taxes were raised, the churches were looted of their treasures, and eventually the money was delivered. Richard was released on Feb. 4, 1194. As a side note, Richard's brother John offered a tidy sum if Richard would be detained until Michaelmas - Sept 29th. This offer was rejected. It's highly unlikely that any chess piece, even the King, would demand such a quantity.
Hi gang, JazzBumpa here - sadly, no richer than the last time we met. We were shopping that day, and today we can consider if we perhaps paid too much.
Onward, then, to the rest of the puzzle.
1. Musical with the song "Another Suitcase in Another Hall" : EVITA.
6. Petty distinctions, metaphorically : HAIRS. As in splitting them.
11. Midriff punch reaction : OOF. Onomatopoeia for the sound of air thus forcibly expelled.
14. Noble gas : XENON. Along with helium, neon, argon, krypton and radon. These gases are chemically inert and considered noble due to their non-reactivity.
15. Former Illinois senator : OBAMA. Whatever happened to that guy?
16. "Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me!" network : National Public Radio.
19. Golf prop : TEE. Little wooden peg that slightly elevates the ball for the first shot on any hole. It's considered gauche to use it on the second shot.
20. "Most Excellent" U.K. award : OBE.
21. Emcee : HOST. Master of Ceremonies initials, phonetically spelt.
22. Gooey treat : S'MORE. Contraction of "some more" because that's what you are expected to want after a taste of this marshmallow cum chocolate cum graham cracker confection. I am not a fan.
24. Muralist Rivera : DIEGO.
26. Places for rejuvenation : DAY SPAS.
31. Clobbers : BONKS.
32. Regrets : RUES.
33. Rain-__: gum brand : BLO. Classic gum ball since 1940, coming in a variety of color coded flavors.
36. Financial pros : Certified Public AcountantS.
37. Tries : STABS. Has a go at.
39. Many millennia : AEON.
40. Fall mo. : SEPtember.
41. Only person to win both an Academy Award and a Nobel Prize : SHAW. George Bernard won the Nobel prize for literature in 1925 "for his work which is marked by both idealism and humanity, its stimulating satire often being infused with a singular poetic beauty". The Academy Award came in 1938 for his film adaptation of Pygmalion.
42. Clock button : ALARM. I really wanted SNOOZE. [I know it doesn't fit, but still . . .]
46. Alleviate : ASSUAGE. The word came into Middle English via Old French, and ultimately traces back to Latin ad + suavis, hence to sweeten.
49. Baggage carousel aid : ID TAG.
50. Color in une cave à vin : BLANC. A wine cellar might contain some whites, as indicated here.
51. Angers : IRES.
52. Kin of org : EDU. URL extensions.
55. Japanese capital : YEN. Money, not the seat of government.
60. Ready, or ready follower : SET. Nicely formed clue, illustrating two different senses of the target word.
61. Theme park with a geodesic sphere : EPCOT. Part of Disney World.
62. Slacken : LET UP. Reduce the amount of applied force or effort.
63. Calypso cousin : SKA. Jamaican music from the 50's.
64. They may be Dutch : DOORS. This is a two part door divided horizontally, roughly in the middle, designed so that the top half can be open and the bottom half left closed. This allows fresh air into the room while keeping animals out and small children in.
65. Potters' pitchers : EWERS. Large wide-mouthed jugs for carrying water. The clue suggests they are made from ceramic, but this is not necessary.
1. Big show : EXPO. An exposition or trade fair and convention venue.
2. Beg, borrow or steal : VERB. A self-referential clue relating to examples of a part of speech. Meh!
3. "My bed is calling me" : I NEED A NAP. As occasionally does happen.
4. Kid : TOT. Child.
5. Country music? : ANTHEMS. Songs of loyalty or devotion associated with particular countries, groups or causes.
6. Climbs aboard : HOPS ON.
7. Distract the security guards for, say : ABET. Assist the perp in his criminal endeavor.
8. Actor Somerhalder of "The Vampire Diaries" : IAN.
9. LBJ successor : RMN. Richard Milhous Nixon.
10. Agrees : SAYS YES.
11. Winning : ON TOP. But it ain't over 'till it's over.
12. Art form with buffa and seria styles : OPERA. If you say so.
13. Emancipates : FREES. Especially from legal, social or political restrictions.
18. Meditative practice : YOGA. Distinct from but associated with Hatha YOGA.
23. Flavor intensifier : Mono Sodium Glutamate.
25. Bugs a lot : IRKS.
26. Smear : DAUB. Apply something in an irregular manner.
27. Some Full Sail brews : ALES. Full Sail is an independent employee-owned brewery in Hood River, Oregon.
28. Basics : ABC's.
29. "Forget it" : NOPE.
30. Country inflection : DRAWL. Y'all tahk lahk this, ya see - and dawg is a three syllable word.
33. Noble act, in Nantes : BEAU GESTE. French, but easy enough guess with a little perp help. the fact that there are an English language novel and movies of the same name also helps.
34. Forsaken : LORN. The same as forlorn. The German cognate, verloren, means lost.
35. "My treat" : ON ME. Now we're back to buying.
37. Thick carpet : SHAG. Deep pile. Very 70's.
38. Grimm story : TALE. Kinder- und Hausmärchen [Children's and Household Tales], their collection of German fairy tales, was published in 1812. Many of the tales are indeed grim, disturbing, and unsuitable for children
39. Ski resort near Salt Lake City : ALTA. Where's Marti when you need her?
41. Kissed noisily : SMACKED.
42. Gallery event : ART SALE.
43. Day light : SUN. Often obscured by clouds.
44. They haven't been done before : FIRSTS.
45. Frankfurt's river : ODER. The other Frankfurt is on the Main River.
46. Hardly a miniature gulf : ABYSS. Deep chasm, and a nice word play in the clue.
47. Smooth and stylish : SLEEK.
48. Blitzen's boss : SANTA. Sled-pulling reindeer and his driver.
51. "Young Frankenstein" role : IGOR.
53. Ill-humored : DOUR. Gloomy and stern. Is that a good match?
54. World Series field sextet : UMPS. Regular season games have 4 UMPires - one behind the plate and one at each base. Major league post season games add two in the outfield.
57. Wall St. debut : Initial Public Offering. First general opportunity to acquire equity in the corporation.
58. Sgt. or cpl. : Non Commissioned Officer.