Theme: Owie — Clues for the theme answers consist of one word that follows the pattern O[x]IE.
- 20A: OPIE (CHILD IN MAYBERRY).
- 34A: OBIE (THEATRICAL AWARD).
- 43A: OKIE (MAN FROM MUSKOGEE).
- 58A: ODIE (GARFIELD'S FRIEND).
That said, the theme answers are all pretty solid, except for MAN FROM MUSKOGEE. What are Oklahoman women called? Okettes? It looks to me like a concession was made there to get the desired answer to fit in the grid. All the other theme answers are straightforward and unambiguous. OPIE was, indeed, a CHILD IN MAYBERRY. An OBIE is, in fact, a THEATRICAL AWARD. Now, I suppose there may be some question about whether Garfield and ODIE are FRIENDs. I was actually chatting with someone about this last night and I said I think Garfield and ODIE are friends in the same way Archie Bunker and the Sammy Davis, Jr. character were friends. They pick on each other relentlessly, but you know when it comes right down to it, they care about each other. And, yes, that was the first comparison that came to my mind. Maybe I need to watch more current TV. House? Doesn't Dr. House have a "friend" like that. The woman who runs the hospital? That other doctor whose played by the guy who was in "Dead Poets Society"? But I digress.
- 5A: One way to cope (ADAPT). I wanted this answer to be a phrase that starts with a preposition. Like "with gusto" or "by the numbers." Yes, I know neither of those phrases makes sense, that's not the point.
- 16A: Attorney general under Clinton (RENO). It's the biggest little city in the world, you know.
- 19A: Earth, in Essen (ERDE). German!
- 65A: Leaf-to-branch angle (AXIL). I had to discard the crossword-tastic ADIT and ANIL before I could get to this answer.
- 66A: Threshing instrument (FLAIL). Who knew?
- 68A: Anatomical blood carrier (VENA). Must some kinda high-falutin' word for "vein."
- 69A: Specialty (FORTE). I always pronounce this word like "fort," not like "for-tay." I like to think I'm right and everyone else is wrong.
- 13D: Down under kids (JOEYS). A JOEY is a young kangaroo.
- 27D: Dragsters' org. (NHRA). National Hot Rod Association.
- 38D: Roger of "Cheers" (REES).
- 63D: Church section (NAVE). You are forgiven if you tried APSE first.
- 14A: Midwest native (OTOE).
- 72A: Shore eagles (ERNES).
- 73A: River to the North Sea (YSER).
- 1D: Northwestern pear (BOSC).
- 53D: Pop singer Lopez (TRINI).
- 62D: "The Whiffenpoof Song" collegians (ELIS).
Everything Else — 1A: Purchases (BUYS); 10A: Key of Brahms's Symphony No. 3 (F MAJ.); 15A: Speeder's downfall (RADAR); 17A: Long story (SAGA); 18A: African title of respect (BWANA); 23A: China's Sun __-sen (YAT); 24A: Gallery administrator's deg. (MFA); 25A: Cry of success (YES); 26A: "Wait, there's more ..." ("AND …"); 29A: Ring 5-Downs (REFS); 32A: Last: Abbr. (ULT.); 40A: __-B: dental brand (ORAL); 41A: Trail (LAG); 42A: In charge of (OVER); 48A: Just fine, at NASA (AOK); 49A: Hors d'oeuvre spread (PATÉ); 50A: Fairbanks-to-Anchorage dir. (SSW); 51A: To the rear (AFT); 54A: Afternoon break (TEA); 56A: Sportscaster Cross (IRV); 67A: Sculptor's material (CLAY); 70A: Queen's home (HIVE); 71A: Blue-pencil (EDIT); 2D: Where Pioneer Day is celebrated (UTAH); 3D: Teammate of Mickey and Whitey (YOGI); 4D: Simmons alternative (SEALY); 5D: Settler? (ARBITER); 6D: Early light (DAWN); 7D: "Bonanza" brother (ADAM); 8D: Flier until '91 (PANAM); 9D: Waiter's burden (TRAYFUL); 10D: Thrown in (FREE); 11D: Like Hood's men (MERRY); 12D: Tennis great Agassi (ANDRE); 21D: Thrown missile (DART); 22D: __ Cynwyd, Philadelphia suburb (BALA); 26D: Tiny particle (ATOM); 28D: Campus VIP (DEAN); 30D: Kodak product (FILM); 31D: Rascal (SCAMP); 33D: "__'Clock Jump": Harry James recording (TWO O); 35D: A, in communications (ALFA); 36D: Cancún quencher (AGUA); 37D: Miles per gal., points per game, etc. (AVGS.); 39D: Made faces, perhaps (DREW); 44D: Roast, in Rouen (ROTI); 45D: Painter of Southwestern scenes (O'KEEFFE); 46D: Puts down (STIFLES); 47D: "The King and I" actress, 1956 (KERR); 51D: Desert growth (AGAVE); 52D: Sent, in a way (FAXED); 55D: "It's __ nothing!" (ALL OR); 57D: French hot springs town (VICHY); 59D: In need of tuning (FLAT); 60D: Do some mending (DARN); 61D: Location (SITE); 62D: "The Whiffenpoof Song" collegians (ELIS); 64D: Certain colorist (DYER).