Theme: The Shape of Water - Best Picture Oscar shout-out! H2O is the theme, the entries moving from "H" to "O", left-to-right.
27A. *Drama in the Nielsen top 10 four times during the '70s : HAWAII FIVE-O. "Book 'em Danno. Murder One". Here are the opening credits, containing at least two continuity goofs.
47A. *Ball of fire : HUMAN DYNAMO. I don't think this comic book character scaled the dizzy heights of the other superheroes from Marvel and D.C. Comics:
60A. *"Oh boy, it's starting!" : HERE WE GO! British soccer fans would sing this to the tune of "Stars and Stripes Forever". "Here we go, here we go, here we go, here we go, here we go, here we go-oh". Repeat ad nauseam.
69A. Liquid whose chemical formula is a homophonic hint to the answers to starred clues : WATER
Neat puzzle today from Brian - one of those simple yet satisfying themes which almost make you wonder why you didn't think of it yourself. The theme entries are nice and fresh, and there are some lovely longer entries in the downs which I always enjoy. Let's explore the fill:
1. Vaccine pioneer Salk : JONAS. I confidently had JONAH, which had me wondering what "HIN" was doing when that showed up.
6. Biblical verb : HATH. Went with HAST. Should have waited.
10. Sever, with "off" : LOP
13. "The Good Wife" wife : ALICIA. Thank you, crosses. I'm hopeless with most TV and movie-related fill.
15. Irrawaddy River locale : ASIA. Myanmar, formerly Burma. My father was posted to Burma for part of WWII, he spoke fondly about the country, even though he wasn't there in exactly the best circumstances.
16. Hubbub : ADO
17. Grilled sandwich : PANINI. Panini are also a company that publishes sports stickers and trading cards. I'm not quite sure how, but I got sucked into collecting all the players, badges and stadia of the last soccer World Cup in 2014. It became quite an adventure.
20. Checked out : EYED
21. Gather : REAP
23. Domestic sock eater? : DRYER. I've got one brown sock sitting lonely and forlorn on the top of my dresser right now. I didn't even know I had brown socks.
24. Storied climber : JILL. Heading up the hill with her compadre Jack. I'm still confused as to why you would head up a hill to collect water, surely you're more likely to find it in the valley below? The things that keep me awake at night ..
26. Little limb : TWIG
32. Special __ : OPS
35. Mets modifier of 1969 : AMAZIN' They won the World Series in only their eighth season as a Major League Baseball franchise. I was at MLB HQ last week - here's part of the main lobby:
36. Noggin : BEAN
37. Case in Lat. grammar : DAT. Dative. In order - nominative, vocative, accusative, genitive, dative, ablative. Thank you, grammar school Latin class.
38. Twit : DITZ
39. Cuts and pastes, say : EDITS
41. Trellis climber : VINE
42. Corner PC key : ESC Didn't even have to look! What does a Mac have in the corner?
43. Expert : WHIZ
44. Mysterious girl on "Stranger Things" : ELEVEN. Thanks again, crosses.
46. "Zip it!" : SHH!
49. "No __!": "Sure!" : PROB!
51. Lose one's coat : SHED
52. Moves to the melody : SWAYS
54. "__ Encounter": SeaWorld show : ORCA. A somewhat discredited destination now.
56. Shakespearean "You as well?" : ET TU? Brutus becomes Brute in the vocative. Latin class today.
62. First words : INTROS
64. Muffin grain : OAT
65. Believe : HOLD
66. Wind farm blades : ROTORS
67. Like some grins : WRY. Also broad grins. Any other offers of grin descriptors?
68. People : ONES. What? This is obscure, to say the least.
1. Zinger : JAPE
2. Body wash brand : OLAY. I didn't know this was a body wash, I only know the brand for face cream.
3. Largest single-digit square : NINE. One, four and nine.
4. Genre incorporating elements of funk and hip-hop : ACID JAZZ. New to me. Fresh fill to the LAT.
5. Transgression : SIN
6. "LOL" : HA HA
7. "Right away!" : ASAP!
8. Dickens boy : TIM. Tiny Tim, a character in the novel "A Christmas Carol".
9. Taxing and successful : HARD WON
10. Coventry rider : LADY GODIVA. Here's a statue representing the legendary ride in the city itself.
11. Dog that licks Garfield : ODIE
12. Low-quality : POOR
14. Where many missed connections occur : AIRLINE HUB. I''m generally pretty lucky making my connections. I came close to missing my flight to Delhi last month, my inbound from LAX to Newark arrived almost 90 minutes late, eight of us were running through the airport from one end of Terminal C to the other. No chance of that today, I'm on an up-and-back to San Francisco.
19. MLB's D-backs : ARI. Arizona on scoreboards.
22. 2003 holiday film : ELF
25. IV lead? : III. Roman numeral progression, I, II, III, IV. Nice clue.
26. Bouffant feature : TEASED HAIR
27. Flame-haired villain in Disney's "Hercules" : HADES. More help from the crosses.
28. Mennonite sect : AMISH
29. Super Bowl gathering, e.g. : WATCH PARTY. I think this expression is new to me. I've heard of a gamewatch event, but not a watch party. Fresh fill, this hasn't been used in the LAT before.
30. Mediterranean vacation island : IBIZA. A popular destination beginning in the 80's for house music aficionados. Most of the nightclubs play house.
31. Zoo doc : VET
33. "The Hunger Games" land : PANEM. Thank you, crosses.
34. __ pad : STENO
40. Barely lit : DIM
41. Blood feud : VENDETTA
43. List of notables : WHO'S WHO. Most industries have a "vanity" Who's Who publication that you can pay a fee to have your profile included.
45. Soap chemical : LYE
48. Defense advisory gp. : N.S.C. National Security Council.
50. __ whiskey : RYE
52. Thing to put on : SHOW
53. Put on : WEAR
54. Look bad? : OGLE. Fun clue. I think I might have written it as "Bad look".
55. Slender cylinders : RODS
57. Budweiser Clydesdales' pace : TROT
58. Shredded : TORE
59. TASS country : USSR. The news agency TASS from the now-defunct USSR
61. Many years : EON
63. "Spring the trap!" : NOW!
I think that's it from me today. I just need to post the grid and I'm finished!