Theme: ESSAY TEST (55. Exam answered in a blue book ... and a phonetic hint to 17-, 23- and 44-Across) - Each theme entry is in the pattern of S* A* and they're all study-related:
7. Old enough to start kindergarten: SCHOOL AGE.
23. Attend a foreign university, say: STUDY ABROAD.
44. Kind of exam with brief responses: SHORT ANSWER.
Greetings and best wishes for a great holiday! I am happy to join you in remembering friends and loved ones which have gone before us.
1. Terrible reviews: PANS. I am not going to abuse this puzzle with cookware.
5. Dots in the Seine: ILES. The Seine, the Seine, when will I again, meet her there, Greet her there on the moonlit banks of the Seine. (Kingston Trio and others)
9. Shoelace tip: AGLET. I hate when they fall off.
14. Baseball's Hershiser: OREL. Dodger great with an odd first name.
15. Pie à la __: MODE.
16. Singer Lopez: TRINI. He had a hammer.
19. Divided Southeast Asian island: TIMOR.
20. Sing to romantically: SERENADE.
21. Roll the dice: GAMBLE. There are many ways to gamble in Nevada, but my favorite is craps.
22. Academic URL ending: EDU. Many are trying to decide whether to open in the fall.
25. Way to get off base?: JEEP. I drove a Jeep at Fort Campbell.
26. Wind quintet wind: OBOE.
27. Native Alaskan: ALEUT. Many Aleutian islands off Alaska's horse's leg.
30. Ability to float: BUOYANCY. We had many families in MN spending time at lakes and campgrounds this weekend. Lots of kids bring plastic float toys.
34. Spill the beans: SING. Sing a song, Make it simple to last the whole night long. Don't worry if it's not good enough. (Carpenters)
35. Done to __: perfectly cooked: A TURN. I think you may have to give it A TURN to make sure it's done on both sides.
37. Numbered book part: PAGE.
38. Sonic, in gaming: HEDGEHOG. If you can stand their looks, you may want to keep one in your garden to get rid of pests.
40. Old photo tone: SEPIA. Reddish brown.
41. Dept. with a sun on its seal: ENER.
42. Carbon monoxide's lack: ODOR. Texas Rangers Rougned. Second baseman with a funny name.
48. Scratch the surface of: MAR. More than one could be a planet.
51. Attached, as a corsage: PINNED. I guess there could be a bowling reference here.
52. Go up, as prices: INCREASE. Groceries are not too bad, except toilet paper. Gasoline is working its way up. $1.79 per gallon here in MN. Was 1.49 two weeks ago.
54. Beelike: APIAN.
56. Pontificate: SPOUT. I'm a little teapot short and stout. Here is my handle and here is my SPOUT. (Kid's song)
57. Fab Four fellow: PAUL. McCartney. Yeah, Yeah, Yeah
58. Assert as true: AVER.
59. Three-card con: MONTE. Nickname for Colin Montgomerie, British pro golfer
60. Heidi's range: ALPS. Huge mountain range in Europe. Often an answer on "Jeopardy".
61. Jared of "Panic Room": LETO.
1. Rapper's entourage: POSSE. Hey Chester, fix one up for Marshall Dillon. We need to catch bank robbers.
2. Rainbow-shaped: ARCED. A decent bowling shot may arc from the 15 board out to ten. Then back to carry the back row. For an arced golf shot - use the correct club. That's all I know.
3. '60s jacket style: NEHRU. I lived in the 60's but never had a NEHRU. Funny collar.
4. Gin flavor: SLOE. SLOE is a berry for this gin. Slow is how you should drink it.
5. Behind-schedule comment: I'M LATE. I'M LATE, for a very important date. White Rabbit in Wonderland.
6. Amass, with "on": LOAD UP.
7. Barely defeated: EDGED. Time to LOAD UP the edger with some of that plastic string and EDGE the garden.
8. Observe: SEE. I joined the Navy to see the world, but what did I see - I saw the SEA.
9. "Way to go, fella!": ATTA BOY. You can say it, but no high fives. Social Distancing is the rule these days.
10. Scary scythe bearer: GRIM REAPER.
11. Dance under a bar: LIMBO. How low can you go, Chubby Checker.
12. __ Gay: WWII bomber: ENOLA. I was not alive in 1945, however I believe this B-29 was payback for the Pearl Harbor attack. I don't think I agree with this but I was not around then.
13. Out of gas: TIRED. Nope, I still have a way to go.
18. Initial stage: ONSET. Interesting word in this age of Covid-19. Stay safe.
21. West African country: GABON.
24. Part of BYO: YOUR. Add a "B" for Bottle ??
25. Inexorable force: JUGGERNAUT.
27. Blond shade: ASH. I think I have mentioned this before. In a short time of my life, I used to smoke a pipe. I bought tobacco from "Ashes" in a shopping center. The owner was George Ash.
28. Fish story, so to speak: LIE. So remember if you lie, Everyone will know. The Boogie Man will get you.. Your nose is gonna grow. Johnny Crawford.
29. Call off: END. A tight lineman in the NFL. I wonder if they will play this year. Probably for TV only. That's okay with me. I have not been to a game since the Metrodome.
30. Software glitch: BUG.
31. Day break?: NAP. Don't BUG me, I'm taking a NAP.
32. Cinematic FX: CGI.
33. Vote for: YEA. I am amazed that Congress still uses this word to tally votes.
35. Leading in the race: AHEAD.
36. In tatters: TORN. Elmore "RIP" Torn was an American Actor. He passed away last July. R.I.P. RIP
39. Diplomatic accord: ENTENTE.
40. "My bad!": SORRY. "I'm Sorry, So Sorry, please accept my apology". Brenda Lee.
42. Says "My bad!": OWNS UP.
43. Car window stickers: DECALS. There was a time when nearly every car had decals for where they had been. Now bowling centers and golf courses don't give decals so my van windows are clear.
44. Involuntary jerk: SPASM.
45. Safari heavyweight: HIPPO.
46. Gibson garnish: ONION. I do not drink alcohol now so my onions garnish a hamburger.
47. Rope fiber: SISAL.
48. "Circle of Friends" author Binchy: MAEVE.
49. Balance sheet item: ASSET. A lot of assets slipped away in February. Hope you all are okay. Thank the stars, they did not whack Social Security.
50. Back in style: RETRO. I have been watching RETRO baseball and golf on TV for a month. I'm ready for the real thing again.
53. And others: Abbr.: ET AL. No others, we are done. Thanks for playing.
55. Org. concerned with PCB's: EPA.