David Steinberg, you crazy bastard! You put your name right through the middle of your own puzzle. And with that brazen flourish, you have won me over.
First, a little history (for all we have time for in our short-lived blog is a little). We have encountered his name twice already – the first time we finished, but not happily, the second time, after nearly four hours, we gave up. When I saw it again today I was worried, but after one pass, I was already changing my mind. The gimmies of PURPLEHAZE (1A: What's "all in my brain," in a 1967 rock classic), and PATSYCLINE (63A: "So Wrong" singer, 1962) got us started off pretty well, and put us into a better mood. 39A: Caterpillar roll ingredient (EEL) only added to our delight. After my first run-through, I handed it off to Frannie and promptly fell asleep.
I woke up before six this morning (highly unusual) thinking about the puzzle (not terribly unusual). It was more than halfway done by then, and I was able to fill in all but four squares in the NE. Before we get to those, let's take a minute to review some nice clues. ING (34A: Having one 49-Across) took me a while to understand, even after I got 49A: See 34-Across (SHARP), but finally I saw it as "In G" instead of "-ing," and it was like an F-sharp went off in my head! 60A: Figure taking a bow? (EROS) was another one that took a second look even after the answer was in. Not a bend-in-half bow, an arrow-filled bow! Nice. 61A: No-strings declaration? (IMAREALBOY) was very clever, too. I kept thinking of things like "I'm free..." or "I'm available."
The Downs were loaded with good clues as well, starting right away with 1D: Labor leader's cry? (PUSH), and 7D: Headbands? (HALOES). 26D: Building with many sides (DINER) makes me want to go right out and get an order of fries.
But now we have to get back home to the North East. We were missing the first and third letters of 11D and 13D. Frannie finally put in IONS for 13D: Makeup of some beams, which made BANS the only reasonable answer for 18A: Blacks out, which left us with only the first letter of 11D: Violent sandstorm (_ABOOB), and 11A: Dynasty founded by Yu the Great (_SIA). It's probably not "Asia," and there are only so many letters that usually appear before "S" in Asian languages. We put in "T" first, because it made the ridiculous sounding "TABOOB," and then guessed "H," and that was it. Whew!