Theme: COCONUT - what else? The first word of each two-word theme answer relates to something derived from the fruit - which botanically is a drupe, not a nut - of the COCONUT tree, cocos nucifera.
16. *Butcher's appliance : MEAT GRINDER. A device used make big chunks into small chunks for burgers and sausages. COCONUT MEAT is the rich white lining that is contained within the shell of a coconut.
24. *Prankster's balloon : WATER BOMB. You can get your friends as mad as wet hens. Here are instruction for making one out of paper. COCONUT WATER is the clear liquid inside young, green coconuts. It has been marketed as a natural energy drink.
50. *Allowance for the cafeteria : MILK MONEY. Literally, money to be spent on MILK, or figuratively for the entire lunch. COCONUT MILK is a rich, high fat liquid extracted from grated COCONUT MEAT.
57. *Monet work : OIL PAINTING. Made with oil based rather than water based paints.
COCONUT OIL, derived from dried COCONUT MEAT is used as a cooking oil and flavoring in South-east Asian cooking, and in beauty products.
And the unifier -- 36. Fruit that can be the source of the starts of the answers to starred clues : COCONUT. So many uses for this versatile, healthful and nutritious tropical fruit.
Hi gang, JzB here, once again united with Gareth on a Wednesday. Seems like old times. Let's see what he has in store for us.
1. Expensive : HIGH. Priced
5. GUM rival : ORAL-B. Oral care products. News to me.
10. Conference with UVA and UNC : ACC. The Universities of Virginia and North Carolina are in the Atlantic Coast Conference.
13. Guthrie at Woodstock : ARLO. Woody's Boy
14. "__ Unchained": 2012 Tarantino film : DJANGO. From IMDB: "With the help of a German bounty hunter, a freed slave sets out to rescue his wife from a brutal Mississippi plantation owner."
15. Arctic explorer John : RAE. He roamed all over the far northern reaches of Canada. Interesting fellow.
18. Not just some : ALL. Every one, without exception.
19. Square peg, socially speaking : DWEEB. Misfit. Sheldon Cooper is the prototype.
20. Sharp-eyed hunter : EAGLE. Raptor
22. Time for fools? : APRIL. Only for a day
28. Ride the wind : SOAR. Like an EAGLE.
29. Lip applications : BALMS. To protect and to sooth.
30. Persons : ONES. Are you one of the ones who got this right away?
31. Ready to be driven : IN GEAR. Cars and trucks.
33. "Cagney and __": '80s cop show : LACEY. This show, starring Sharon Gless as Christine Cagney and Tyne Daly as Mary Beth LACEY, ran from 1982-1988.
35. Newspaper filler : ADS. Revenue sources, too.
38. "No more details, please!" : TMI. Too Much Information.
41. "Right?!" : I KNOW. Yeah, right.
42. Ruined, as hopes : DASHED.
44. Picture on a screen : ICON. On your computer, phone or tablet.
47. Fast food package deal : COMBO. Have it their way, for a special price.
49. Sock part : HEEL. The part of the sock that covers the same part of the foot.
52. "A Change Is Gonna Come" singer/songwriter Sam : COOKE. I remember Sam, but not this song. What a voice.
53. Catch on the range : LASSO. Capture with a looped rope.
54. Time to attack : H-HOUR. I've heard of D-Day, but not H-HOUR. What about M-Minute?
56. Bass brew : ALE. Nothing fishy about it.
63. Pewter component : TIN. An alloy of 85-99% TIN with copper, antimony, bismuth or lead. But maybe the previous entry is for our TIN man.
1. Amateur radio operator : HAM. Per Wikipedia: "The term 'ham radio' was first a pejorative that mocked amateur radio operators with a 19th-century term for being bad at something, like 'ham-fisted' or 'ham actor'. It had already been used for bad wired telegraph operators. Subsequently, the community adopted it as a welcome moniker"
2. Fury : IRE.
3. Nice duds : GLAD RAGS. One's best dress-up clothing. I can't find anything on the origin of this phrase.
4. Start the wrong way? : HOT WIRE. "The wrong way" meaning illegally, since hot wiring is a way to start up and steal a parked car.
5. "The Song of Hiawatha" tribe : OJIBWA. Also know as the Chippewa, they were living in the Lake Superior region when Europeans arrived.
6. Operated : RAN. As a vacuum cleaner.
7. "Your point is ...?" : AND. Explain yourself.
8. T size : LGE. Large shirt. Cf. 12 D.
9. Tree-damaging insect : BORER. Elm bane
10. Catherine's home : ARAGON. Catherine, the daughter of Queen Isabella I of Castile and King Ferdinand II of Aragon, was betrothed to Prince Arthur, heir to the English throne, at the age of 3. They were married when she was 16, but Arthur died 5 months later. She then went on to marry his younger brother, Henry VIII. Eventually, he grew tired of her inability to bear him a son, and set her aside in favor of his mistress Anne Boleyn. None of this ended well.
11. "I hope to hear from you" : CALL ME. Or text. Maybe we'll face time.
12. People people : CELEBS. People in People magazine.
14. Dr. with Grammys : DRE.
17. Salon supply : GEL. Hair goo
21. "About __": Hugh Grant film : A BOY. From IMDB: "Based on Nick Hornby's best-selling novel, About A Boy is the story of a cynical, immature young man* who is taught how to act like a grown-up by a little boy." *Portrayed by the insufferable Hugh Grant.
22. Oman locale : ASIA. At the South-east extremity of the Arabian peninsula.
23. Fishing spot : POND. Small body of water.
25. "It'd be my pleasure" : ALLOW ME. Let me help you.
26. Eliot Ness, e.g. : T-MAN. A special agent of the U.S. Treasury Department.
27. Pre-euro Iberian coin : ESCUDO. Spanish and Portuguese for shield. At different times in history Spain had gold and then silver Escudos. It was the currency of Portugal until the introduction of the Euro.
29. Rodeo horse : BRONCO. A feral or untrained horse prone to unpredictable behavior, used in rough riding events.
32. Comic strip cry : ACK.
34. Greek vowel : ETA. Seventh letter of the Greek alphabet, uppercase Η, lowercase η.
37. Ring-tailed scavenger, to Crockett : COON. Aka RACOON, a medium sized North American mammal noted for its dexterous front paws, facial mask, ringed tail, and appearing in Crockett's hat.
38. Formulate a possible explanation : THEORIZE. Let me see . . .
39. Overly compliant : MEEK.
40. Doing nothing : IDLE.
41. Cartoonist's supply : INKS.
43. Called out : SHOUTED.
44. Behind-schedule comment : I'M LATE. Or something a zombie should say.
45. Viagra alternative : CIALIS. Bathtubs are optional, I think.
46. "Full House" twins : OLSENS. They were born in 1986 and shared the role of Michelle Tanner in 191 episodes from 1987 (!) to 1995. They went on to appear in various other roles, then reappear as fashionistas.
48. Manually : BY HAND. As opposed to by machine
51. Freeloader : MOOCH. Or this.
52. Put one over on : CON.
55. "__ Master's Voice" : HIS. Nipper the dog in an iconic conic ad for RCA Victor, representing their record label and the Victor Talking Machine.
58. Nest egg item, for short : IRA. Individual Retirement Account
59. Auction unit : LOT. By way of illustration, one last video.
Pretty smooth Wednesday ride I thought. Hope you got through without straining your coconut.