I'm not gonna lie to you. This isn't my favorite Doug Peterson puzzle. (Sorry, Doug, but it's your own fault for setting the bar so damn high.) There's some good stuff in it, but nothing that made me go "Wow! Great puzzle!" Which is what I usually expect from Doug. I had to laugh at myself when I realized "Saint Peter" was totally wrong for 1A: Noted list keeper. Don't know why I didn't think of SANTA CLAUS! Some of the long entries are really awesome, like GENTLE BEN and DOUBLE CHIN, although I must say I'm skeptical about the clue for the latter. 12D: Chewing gum could help prevent one? Seriously? Speaking of cluing: The clue for NICK AT NITE really struck me as bizarre (60A: Ad exec's pithy description of 1-Across?). NICK AT NITE is actually a great entry, and it really doesn't need that cutesy clue. What's up with that? Some of the other longer entries have no sparkle whatsoever. Yeah, I'm looking at you, SAFETY RAIL and INVESTMENT. Overall, this was a decent workout. Not as difficult as I like my Saturdays to be, but I'm sure a lot of people don't have hours to spend on a puzzle today, what with it being Christmas and all.
- 17A: Superhero who had an arch foe named Bull's-Eye (GREEN ARROW). Once you get past Superman, Batman and Spiderman, I'm pretty much out of superhoes.
- 28A: __ Bass Fishing: video game (SEGA). Now that sounds like an exciting game.
- 34A: Tenn. awards org. (CMA). Country Music Association.
- 35A: Surprises for some swingers (OFF-SPEED PITCHES). I'm sure this was the seed entry for the puzzle and I had a really hard time with it. I'm a baseball fan, but I don't recall ever hearing this phrase. I mean, I can figure out what it means and it makes sense that there's a name for it, but it didn't come to mind the way some other baseball terms — say, "ground-rule double" or "sacrifice bunt" — would have.
- 41A: Penn. is on it (EST). Eastern Standard Time.
- 44A: "'Tis he, that villain Romeo" speaker (TYBALT). I wasn't 100% sure of this guy's name and for a while I thought it ended with a D, which made that center area pretty tricky to figure out.
- 6D: Palminteri of "A Bronx Tale" (CHAZZ). I totally know who CHAZZ Palminteri is, but I wouldn't have guessed that his name ended with two Zs.
- 10D: Place for pins and needles (SEWING KIT). This answer made me chuckle. The SEWING KIT we use here at the PuzzleHouse is one of those little plastic boxes with a couple little spools of thread and a plastic thimble that you can buy, say, in a hotel gift shop. It has belonged to PuzzleHusband since before we got married 12 years ago. And there's still plenty of thread in it. I guess you could say I don't do a lot of mending.
- 28D: Meal during Nisan (SEDER). Nisan is a Hebrew month that shows up in the puzzle occasionally. Although not as frequently as ADAR.
- 45D: "Twilight" protagonist (BELLA). I happen to know that Doug is a huge "Twilight" fan. And don't even talk to him about Edward. He's Team Jacob all the way.
- 56D: Solo in sci-fi (HAN). Yes, yes, I know I've posted this video a couple times already. But it really never gets old to me.
- 11A: Deuce follower, at times (AD IN).
- 16A: Isle of Mull neighbor (IONA).
- 20A: Biblical reformer (EZRA).
- 53A: __ Mountains: Mt. Narodnaya's range (URAL).
- 2D: Its Plus version has a lubricating strip (ATRA).
- 14D: Cartoonist credited with the modern image of 1-Across (NAST).
- 55D: Tech sch. overlooking the Hudson (RPI).
Everything Else — 15A: Depot (STOREHOUSE); 18A: Expeditions, e.g. (SUV'S); 19A: Latvian chess champ of 1960-'61 (TAL); 21A: "Ri-i-ight" ("I'LL BET"); 23A: Not well-defined (HAZY); 24A: Gets down, in a way (KNEELS); 25A: They might be stolen (BASES); 29A: And such: Abbr. (ETC.); 31A: "Haven't decided yet" ("I MAY"); 32A: Battle of Salamis victors (GREEKS); 38A: Gallic title: Abbr. (MME.); 39A: Take over (INFEST); 40A: Breakfast item (LINK); 42A: Change one's position (STIR); 43A: Philippics (RANTS); 46A: Time for action (D-DAY); 48A: Composed (SERENE); 49A: A-line designer (DIOR); 50A: "That's odd ..." ("HMM …"); 53A: __ Mountains: Mt. Narodnaya's range (URAL); 54A: Military foothold (BRIDGEHEAD); 57A: Diamond with records (NEIL); 58A: Bath additive (EPSOM SALTS); 59A: Nut for drinks (KOLA); 1D: Mil. squad leader, perhaps (SSGT); 3D: "The First __" (NOEL); 4D: Roman numeral (TRE); 5D: Trojan War survivor (AENEAS); 7D: Hampshire hauler (LORRY); 8D: Subtle quality (AURA); 9D: Private entertainers, for short? (USO); 11D: Target area (AISLE); 13D: Bond, for one (INVESTMENT); 22D: Numerical extreme (LEAST); 23D: Cries for attention (HEYS); 24D: Doesn't go bad (KEEPS); 25D: Tundra or coral reef, e.g. (BIOME); 26D: Auto feature (AM/FM STEREO); 27D: Toddler's bed attachment (SAFETY RAIL); 30D: Staved containers (CASKS); 32D: '60s TV role for Bruno the Bear (GENTLE BEN); 33D: Ready for another voyage (REFIT); 36D: Fibonacci, by birth (PISAN); 37D: Makeup of Martha's Vineyard's Gay Head Cliffs (CLAY); 43D: Hardest to get hold of (RAREST); 46D: Got by (DID O.K.); 47D: Bane of liberal religion (DOGMA); 48D: Doomed (SUNK); 49D: Piece in the game Reversi (DISC); 50D: Pad opener (HELI-); 51D: Simpsons creator Groening (MATT); 52D: Inventory abbr. (MDSE.).