- 17A: TV's Della Street for nearly 40 years (BARBARA HALE).
- 27A: School assignment that may elicit groans (EXTRA HOMEWORK).
- 48A: Symphony venue (ORCHESTRA HALL).
- 64A: Theme of this puzzle hidden in 17-, 27- and 48-Across (THREE CHEERS).
- 69A: One of the 64-Across (RAH).
But first, let's talk about this puzzle. This is a solid, better-than-average Monday puzzle, which is pretty much what I expect from Gail Grabowski. I hate to say this, but I have to be honest: to me, TOMFOOLISH (29D: Silly) is just awful. I automatically entered TOMFOOLERY but then realized I had to fix it. I don't think, however, that my irritation was simply because I made the mistake. I think it's a legitimately bad entry. Who has ever said TOMFOOLISH? I mean, you barely even hear anyone saying TOMFOOLERY, but at least it's something you've heard of! (And by "you've," I of course mean "I've.") That said, however, I should reiterate that, to my mind, this is a better-than-average Monday puzzle. So really. No hard feelings.
Crosswordese 101: The tricky aspect of RIATA is that it has the same number of letters as LASSO. So before you fill in your answer, you need to check at least one cross. RIATA and LASSO are often clued the same as "Rodeo rope" or "Cow catcher," but if you see the word gaucho in the clue, the answer is more like to be RIATA. Today's clue (53D: Ranchero's rope) includes a similar tip-off.
Other crosswordese in the puzzle that we've already covered:
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Everything Else — 1A: Flies high (SOARS); 6A: Taking things wrong? (THEFT); 11A: Work on hems (SEW); 14A: Enthusiastic about (UP FOR); 15A: Espionage double agents (MOLES); 19A: GI morale booster (USO); 20A: Disorderly sort (SLOB); 21A: How fries are fried (IN OIL); 22A: Basic earring (STUD); 23A: Space-saving abbr. (ETC.); 25A: V-shaped slits (NOTCHES); 32A: Old Prizm automaker (GEO); 33A: Trait transmitter (GENE); 34A: "That stings!" ("YEOW!"); 36A: Tab-grabber's words (ON ME); 38A: Alabama march city (SELMA); 41A: Small songbird (WREN); 43A: Quite a distance off (AFAR); 45A: Honored guests' platform (DAIS); 47A: Seasonal sprite (ELF); 52A: Visits unexpectedly (DROPS IN); 54A: RV connection? (S-T-U); 55A: Isn't up to snuff (AILS); 56A: __-press: wrinkle-resistant (PERMA); 59A: Home run hitters' hitters (BATS); 63A: __ chi: martial art (TAI); 67A: Church doctrine (DOGMA); 68A: Senator Hatch (ORRIN); 70A: Secretly watch (SPY ON); 71A: Trans Am roof options (T-TOPS); 1D: Second-stringers (SUBS); 3D: Woodstock hair style (AFRO); 4D: Burglar (ROBBER); 5D: Majorca Mrs. (SRA.); 6D: Mtge. fraud investigator (T-MAN); 7D: Bit of seasonal laughter (HO HO); 8D: "Seinfeld" woman (ELAINE); 9D: Chap (FELLOW); 10D: "The Waste Land" poet's monogram (TSE); 11D: TV setting for "M*A*S*H" (SOUTH KOREA); 12D: Happen next (ENSUE); 13D: Links selections (WOODS); 18D: Wealth (RICHES); 22D: Twisted fastener (SCREW); 24D: Follow (along), like a little brother (TAG); 26D: Common Christmas gift (TOY); 27D: Self-esteem (EGO); 28D: TV princess with a sidekick named Gabrielle (XENA); 30D: Half and half (ONE); 31D: Pinochle combos (MELDS); 35D: In good health (WELL); 37D: O.K. Corral brothers (EARPS); 39D: Yoga class need (MAT); 40D: Respiratory cavity (AIR SAC); 42D: Cowboys' org. (NFL); 44D: Coke alternatives (RCS); 46D: Used a rocker (SAT); 49D: Rap genre (HIP-HOP); 50D: Couch potato's lack, evidently (ENERGY); 51D: Lyndon's 1964 running mate (HUBERT); 52D: Socially active sort (DATER); 57D: San __, Italy (REMO); 58D: Not the least bit nice (MEAN); 60D: Prefix with dynamic (AERO-); 61D: Ballroom blunder (TRIP); 62D: IRS data (SSNS); 64D: QB's scores (TDS); 65D: Fresh from the oven (HOT).