Today's theme packs a one-two punch thanks to a GROUP of SHOTS with the word shot left off and the word cat written in in crayon. Wait, that's something completely different. The four starred answers are common two word phrases, each word of which makes another common phrase when combined with the word SHOT. For example, we have 17A: Rock and Roll Hall of Fame band with the hits "The Flame" and "I want you to want me" (CHEAPTRICK), which gives us CHEAP SHOT and TRICK SHOT, thematically. My favorite is often a DOUBLE SHOT - of rye whiskey. :)
I made my false step at UTEP (Lone Star State Sch.), for which I confidently and erroneously entered UTEx. The other answers in the area seemed to fill themselves in and I never checked the crossing down. A HEADSLAP ensued when I saw what had happened. Some hotshot. :(
I thought this was a very smooth solving puzzle overall with excellent clue-answer harmony throughout. Some of my favorites were
City choker (SMOG)
"The very IDEA!"
"'Believe it', as a retort" (WAY)
and my favorite, "Had a little lamb, say?" (ATE). Ha!
Fill-wise, I enjoyed ALOHA, FAKEDEEP, SPLASH, MAYICUTIN, GULLIBLE, and BUBBA.
The only parting shot I'll take is that RAYON doesn't feel like silk - not by a LONG SHOT.
Very smooth solve today. However, like Frannie, I initially entered UTEx, but unlike Frannie, I checked the cross in plenty of time. I'm, in general, not a big fan of three-letter foreign words (QUA, OUI), but both are at least well-known to me. It feels like REESE hasn't been seen in a while, but maybe I'm wrong. IAGO, on the other hand, has been showing up quite a bit lately. Is MAYICUTIN used much any longer?
Well, I didn't get it - at all! And my one error - "GROUP"!
In my own defense, "I Want You to Want Me" became an instant earworm and I was distracted.
Thankfully, I read today's lovely review and was relieved of my trouble with this one!
Boy, when I was working in the SE, and saw 47A ending in GBIV I was worried - until I read the clue, that is. Good ol' ROYGBIV. It's a colorful entry. :)
Nice to see (and yes, MLou, sing over and over again) CHEAPTRICK. They were from a town just a few miles from our college, but sadly, they were already far too big to play the campus bar by the time we got there.