- 17A: *Dense fabrics (DOUBLE KNITS).
- 60A: *More than just grumble (RAISE A STINK).
- 20A: *Ready to blow? (OVER-STRESSED).
- 54A: *"Top Chef" spin-off involving competitive baking (JUST DESSERTS).
- 27A: *It'll keep your hat on (CHIN STRAP).
- 44A: *Carquest stock (AUTO PARTS).
- 36A: Three pairs of them end the answers to starred clues (PALINDROMES).
- 1A: Yankees' div. (A.L. EAST). In baseball, there's the American League and the National League. And each league is divided into two regions, East and West. I can never remember which team is in which league so I just get the first letter from the cross.
- 11A: Jenny or jack (ASS). Heh.
- 25A: Aborigines of Hokkaido (AINU). Completely unknown to me. I don't even know what Hokkaido is. Is this something I should know?
- 32A: Cat tail motion (SWITCH). Started with "twitch." An easy fix.
- 50A: Bingo call (B TEN). Here's the thing. Bingo only goes up to a certain number although I can't remember exactly what that number is right now. I want to say 80 or 80-something. In crosswords, we're never going to see a Bingo answers that's anywhere but the B column because in the other columns the spelled-out numbers are too long. With a four-letter answer, you know you're looking for B ONE, B TWO, or B TEN, and you just have to check the crosses.
- 51A: Kettle pair (MA AND PA). With the ANDPA in place I entered GRANDPA before I looked at the clue and wondered how the heck a GRANDPA could be a pair and what it had to do with a kettle.
- 65A: Ain't right? (ISN'T). If this is the first time you've seen this clue, you were probably a little confused. You'll see it again, though, so remember it for next time! (ISN'T is the right (i.e., correct) way of saying "ain't.")
- 1D: Not easy, to a Cockney? ('ARD). Unless it's part of the theme, I think using "Cockney" words generally just indicates desperation.
- 7D: Six-pack units (CANS). Love how this is paired with 22D: Six-pack units (ABS).
- 9D: Czech hockey player Nedved (PETR). Not a hockey fan but I do know a couple hockey players' names from crosswords. But I've never heard of this guy.
- 11D: Music to a captain's ears (AYE SIR). Tried AYE AYE first. Wouldn't that be a better answer?
- 12D: Star sometimes seen opposite Venus? (SERENA). Timely clue with the U.S. Open happening right now.
- 29D: Factory outlet tag abbr. (IRR.). An item of clothing with a flaw in it is "irregular" and might end up in the outlet store for quick sale.
- 37D: Where the Lofoten Isl. are (NOR.). Whoa. I need to know more about NORway than just Oslo and the Kon-Tiki? Cripes.
- 42D: Skip over water, as stones (DAP). Learned this from crosswords.
Everything Else — 7A: Deal (COPE); 14A: Alter, as boundaries (REDRAW); 15A: Slain shepherd (ABEL); 16A: "Fer sher" ("YEP"); 22A: Fettuccine follower (ALFREDO); 26A: Compress, in a way (BALE); 35A: Specialty (AREA); 40A: Lots (A TON); 41A: Area 51 location (NEVADA); 49A: 15-Across's dad (ADAM); 59A: www address (URL); 64A: Messenger letters? (RNA); 66A: Have suspicions about (BE ONTO); 67A: One hairpin turn after another (ESS); 68A: Cribbage markers (PEGS); 69A: Quixote's squire __ Panza (SANCHO); 2D: MGM mascot (LEO); 3D: 59-Across ending (EDU); 4D: Botanical gardens (ARBORETA); 5D: Soother (SALVE); 6D: Rough wool cloth (TWEED); 8D: Notice with a bio, often (OBIT); 10D: Threat ender (ELSE); 13D: Stepped on it (SPED UP); 18D: McDonald's founder (KROC); 21D: Gathered dust (SAT); 23D: Postgraduate study (LAW); 24D: Emma Peel's hair style (FLIP); 28D: "I wish I __ seen that" (HADN'T); 30D: Vegas gas (NEON); 31D: Identical (SAME); 33D: Show enjoyment at a show (CLAP); 34D: __ high note (HIT A); 38D: Northwestern University city (EVANSTON); 39D: Teen safety org. (SADD); 43D: Doc bloc (AMA); 44D: Officially retract (ABJURE); 45D: One-way street no-nos (U-TURNS); 46D: Magnetic measures (TESLAS); 47D: Hudson Bay prov. (ONT.); 52D: Saudis, usually (ARABS); 53D: On the Aegean (AT SEA); 55D: Water waster (DRIP); 56D: Slack off (EASE); 57D: Participate in karaoke (SING); 61D: Ltd. relative (INC.); 62D: Nonspecific extreme (NTH); 63D: "Koochie-__!" (KOO).