A nice theme celebrating the English vowel on which (an avowal) I had to throw in the towel. My FWOE came where DAVIDLEAN crossed the Seattle Sounders org. I ran the alphabet and stopped at 'd', which seemed promising, but I should have waited for the L. :) My mistake shows that I learned nothing from my setback on puzzle 4 at the ACPT this weekend. If I had been paying attention to today's theme while solving the puzzle, instead of waiting until now to look at it in order to write the review, I like to think I wouldn't have made the above-mentioned error. But, I'm getting into the bowels before fully addressing the vowels. Today's theme answers form a sort of word ladder that runs from the northwest to the southeast, with each featuring a different vowel sound from A-U in its final word. We have VICTORYLANE, the aforementioned DAVIDLEAN, TOETHEPARTYLINE smack DAB across the middle, MICROLOAN, and CLAIRDELUNE bringing up the rear, if you'll excuse my French.
Overall, a solid OEUVRE, IMHO, with a number of clues and answers that I enjoyed including 21A. Without ice, at the bar (NEAT, which is how I take my drinks and my men), 58D. Droplet of sweat (BEAD), and 1D. Finish a drive? (PAVE). I also liked ELVISH, EGGON, and ONRUSH, plus the words "smeltery" and "Ooky" in the clues.
My PETS SPEEDS for today: I was not especially enamored of ADA (Abbr. on toothpaste tubes), CIG (Salem or Marboro, slangily), or, as you might guess, MLS. Horace tells me MLS stands for Major League Soccer, which FORCES me to realize that I have a long way to go before achieving my new ACPT GOAL INRE sports names and related deets. GEES.