Theme: I MUST BE DREAMING. The first word of each two-word theme answer phonetically gives us part of James Bond's Identity number: 007, usually rendered as Double-O-7, phonetically DOUBLE OH SEVEN. In the cold imaginary universe of this series of spy novels and movies, the Double-O ID is only given to operatives who have killed in cold blood in the course of completing an assignment, and are licensed to do so again in the future, as necessary. Per Wikipedia, in the back story preceding Casino Royal, the first Bond Novel, Bond is awarded his 007 for having twice done so. Not until the third novel Moonraker, does the 00- designation indicate a license to kill. We have to permit our novelists these kinds of little inconsistencies over the course of a long series.
16 A. Outing for four : DOUBLE DATE. Two couples on one adventure. Opportunities limited only by your imagination.
24 A. "Don't tell me!" : OH BROTHER! A colloquial expression of wonderment or disbelief. I don't recall hearing it much in recent decades.
49A. World waters : SEVEN SEAS. Which seas are counted depends on where and when you ask. Here's a brief run down from the National Ocean Service.
And for a unifier, we have the creator of the 007 series: 63 A. Author suggested by the starts of 16-, 24- and 49-Across : IAN FLEMING. Wikipedia tells us: While working for Britain's Naval Intelligence Division during the Second World War, Fleming was involved in planning Operation Goldeneye and in the planning and oversight of two intelligence units, 30 Assault Unit and T-Force. His wartime service and his career as a journalist provided much of the background, detail and depth of the James Bond novels. Just the right kind of experience to give us these stories.
BTW, If you're wondering about the title, it's contained in this snippet of dialog from the movie GOLDFINGER.
Pussy Galore: “My name is Pussy Galore.”
Bond: “I must be dreaming.”
And, as a bonus, if you had circles in the corner squares, they would help you notice that by proceeding clockwise starting in the NW, they contain the letters spelling BOND. All very tidy.
Hi gang, Agent JzB on duty, licensed to guide you through today's intrigue. With a little luck, nobody will get hurt.
But first, today's theme song.
1. Humanities degs. : BAS. Bachelors of Artses.
4. Bullpen stats : ERAS.
8. Not exceeding : UP TO. As my father used to ask me, "What are you not exceeding, now?" Usually it was my potential.
12. "__ way!" : ATTA. ATTA boy or girl - OK. ATTA way - ???
14. Soft tissue : FLESH. Mandatory Monty Python link.
15. Consequences of most missed birdie putts : PARS. I could do worse.
18. __-Z: classic Camaro : IROC.
19. Make beloved : ENDEAR.
20. Pixar film in which Richard Petty had a voice role : CARS.
22. FDR power project : TVA. Tennessee Valley Authority, a dam good idea. Note Ints. in cl & ans.
23. Some Iberian kings : REYES. Spanish kings. The Portuguese ones are REIS.
26. Soak (up) : SOP.
28. Days gone by : YORE.
29. Took out for a while : BORROWED. Like if your DOUBLE date is to the library
34. Dvorak's last symphony : NINTH.
37. Three-part snack : OREO. Stacked snack, suitable for dunking.
38. Delight : ELATE.
41. Work with an artist, perhaps : POSE.
42. Make sense : ADD UP.
44. "Hawaii" novelist : MICHENER.
46. Decorative sewing case : ETUI. Meh!
48. Star quality : EGO. More a characteristic than a quality, IMHO.
53. Meet competitor : RACER.
58. Hero in the air : ACE.
59. Patio furniture protector : TARP.
60. Concert hall cry : ENCORE.
61. "Copacabana" temptress : LOLA. As I understand it, Barry Manilow is a wonderful person. But, alas, his music makes me gag, so no link.
65. __ vera lotion : ALOE. It's vera soothing.
66. Mr. T's TV outfit : A-TEAM. Mr. T. Played the part of Sgt. Bosco 'B.A.' Baracus in all 97 episodes of this TV series from 1983 to '87. He's in the bottom left of this cast picture, which also includes Melinda Culea, who played newspaper reporter Amy Amanda Allen. Though her Triple A initials were impeccable, this character only lasted through 25 episodes. She wanted more action, and George Peppard, evidently scarred for life by his appearance in Breakfast At Tiffany's, wanted no female lead. Looks as if he was licensed to kill her part.
67. "A Streetcar Named Desire" director Kazan : ELIA.
68. Quick swims : DIPS.
69. Frosty coating : HOAR. An ancient adjective, dating from before the 12 century, meaning grey with age, here transformed into a noun. The frost coating makes the grass look like old grey hair. I am taking this personally.
70. Cong. bigwig : SEN. Senator.
1. Justice Ruth __ Ginsburg : BADER. Appointed by Clinton.
2. Advice to a sinner : ATONE. Repent and be saved. If you have already repented, please disregard this notice.
3. Quiet room : STUDY.
4. Former times, formerly : ELD.
5. Get through to : REACH.
6. Take __ at: try : A STAB. As in trying to get past the Black Night.
7. Amontillado, for one : SHERRY. A Poe choice.
8. News gp. : UPI. United Press International
9. Acropolis temple : PARTHENON.
10. Hidden treasure : TROVE.
11. Boxer De La Hoya : OSCAR. Could have been clued differently this week.
13. Busy as __ : A BEE. Watts up, little buzzer!
14. Not agin : FER. Ah'm agin this kinda fill.
17. Rodeo ring : LASSO. Of rope, not fire.
21. Shortly : SOON.
24. Autobahn auto : OPEL.
25. Baloney : TRIPE. Words not worth the air used to express them.
27. Haven't paid off yet : OWE.
29. Something to wrap around one's neck ... or maybe not : BOA. A scarf or a choking snake. Choose wisely.
30. Traffic reg. : ORD. Regulation and ordinance.
31. Improve, as a downtown area : REDEVELOP. Gentrification, perhaps.
32. Travel plan : ROUTE. Did you ever go this way?
33. Water holder? : DAM. Cf 22A.
35. "The Waste Land" poet's monogram : TSE. Thomas Stearns Eliot. tl;dr.
36. "... and sat down beside __ ..." : HER. Miss Muffet and the arachnid antagonist; could have been clued differently this week.
39. Gifts for grads or dads : TIES. Neckties. Who needs them?
40. Heart chart, for short : ECG. ElectroCardio Gram.
43. Pre-euro Irish coin : PUNT. For in those days, football had not yet been invented.
45. Lena of "The Wiz" : HORNE.
47. "Swords into plowshares" prophet : ISAIAH. Chapter 2, Verse 4: He shall judge between the nations, and shall decide disputes for many peoples; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore.
49. Dieter's lunch : SALAD. Yum!
50. Bacteria in rare meat, maybe : E COLI. Yucch!
51. Muse for Shelley : ERATO. The muse of poetry, especially love or erotic poetry.
52. Sleep lab subject : APNEA.
54. Cartoon supplier of anvils and explosive tennis balls : ACME. Alas, poor coyote.
55. Hoses are often stored in them : COILS. Roll 'em up.
56. Adopted son on "My Three Sons" : ERNIE.
57. Sister of Goneril : REGAN. Cordelia, too. Kng Lear's Daughters.
60. Scary movie street : ELM. Did you avoid these nightmares?
62. DDE rival : AES. Dwight David Eisenhower and Adlai Ewing Stevenson II.
64. "__ out!" : FAR. An expression from the 60's, the era of Sean Connery - the only REAL James Bond.
So we come to the end of this adventure. Hope you all enjoyed the BONDing experience.