Theme: DATA MINING. Can't do any better than the reveal this time. The word DATA is hidden amidst two or three (!) words in each theme answer.
17. Progressive Era muckraker : IDA TARBELL. "She depicted John D. Rockefeller as crabbed, miserly, money-grabbing, and viciously effective at monopolizing the oil trade." My kind of girl.
25. "Pretty darn good" : NOT BAD AT ALL. A little bit better than faint praise.
37. Assume a military posture : STAND AT ATTENTION. I'd say this grid spanner is even better than NOT BAD AT ALL.
50. Waved from the curb, perhaps : HAILED A TAXI.
And, of course, the unifier. 61. NSA surveillance activity ... or, the process needed to dig out the info hidden in 17-, 25-, 37- and 50-Across? : DATA MINING. You can read about the NSA activity here. For sure, you have to dig into the theme answers to dig out DATA.
Hi gang, It's your humble servant JazBumpa, also your driver on today's TAXI ride, while C. C. navigates. Buckle up and let's see if we can get to our destination without any mishaps; though I do expect a SNARL.
1. Union foes : REBS. Union vs REBel forces, American Civil War.
5. Sing like Joe Cocker : RASP. Take it away, Joe.
9. Cowl wearer : MONK. A religious ascetic. Not this guy.
Song is mislabeled. Should be EPISTROPHY
13. '90s-'00s Lakers great : O'NEAL. Shaq.
15. Kevin's "A Fish Called Wanda" role : OTTO.
16. __ sprawl : URBAN. City expansion
19. Walk away : LEAVE. Here's your hat. Don't let the door it you in the . . . [SLAM!]
20. Charms : ENAMORS. Aha. I had GLAMORS [perhaps from rereading A Dance With Dragons] but here "charms" is a verb, meaning "becomes endearing to."
21. Grain Belt st. : KANsas.
23. TV diner owner : MEL. Did he go with the Flo?
24. "Spring forward" letters : DST. Daylight Savings Time. We are now fallen back on Nightdark Savings Time. Winter is coming.
28. Carte start : A LA. Make sure you get your A LA before the carte. This is the normal way of ordering in a restaurant, where each item or combination is individually priced, as opposed to a fixed price - limited menu scheme.
29. Settle up : PAY. Either way, you have to exchange money for goods and services rendered.
30. More unusual : ODDER.
31. Hobby shop wood : BALSA.
33. "Terrific!" : COOL.
34. With 26-Down, fashionable footwear : UGG. See 26 D.
42. Child-care writer LeShan : EDA.
43. Stirs in : ADDS. Kitchen talk
44. Sunburn-causing emission, for short : UV RAY. Short wave length, high energy.
45. Driving __ : RANGE. Where you practice your golf shots.
47. Readers of MSS. : EDS. Editors and Manuscripts.
49. Corp.-partnership hybrid : LLC. Limited Liability Company.
54. One of four in Minnesota: Abbr. : SYLlables.
55. Chicago trains : ELS. ELevated urban rail system.
56. Sun. address : SERmon. Stay awake, now.
57. Balthazar, Caspar, and Melchior : THE MAGI. The three wise
59. In again : RETRO. Something from the past redone, only better. We hope.
64. Sink down : DROOP.
65. Villainous : EVIL.
66. Proofreader's mark : CARET. An inverted V-shaped grapheme used to indicate where a punctuation mark, word, or phrase should be inserted in a document.
67. Store : STOW. Put away.
68. "Good shot!" : NICE. What you might hear after due diligence at the driving RANGE. Gary?
69. "One more thing ..." : ALSO. But wait - there's more . . . Now, on to the verticals.
1. Louis XIV, par exemple : ROI. King of France
2. Ran over : ENDED LATE. Ran over the clock, perhaps in A TAXI - which mught be why it DROOPS. Or am I confusing things?
3. Vegetarian side : BEAN SALAD.
4. Occupied, as a booth : SAT AT.
5. Cocktail named for a Scottish hero : ROB ROY. A manhattan analog, using sweet vermouth with Scotch in place of the rye whiskey. Not on my list. I don't mix Scotch with anything. Tin Man - do you concur?
6. Bikini tryout : A-TEST. Not in a dressing room. Bikini was a ring-shaped coral archipelago in the Marshall Islands where Atomic bomb testing was conducted. Is there anything left atoll?
7. Mo. town : ST. Louis.
8. Bikini feature in a 1960 hit : POLKA DOT. And a clecho!
9. Field fare, briefly : MRE. Meal Ready to Eat, for soldiers in the field.
10. 2009 Peace Nobelist : OBAMA. Barak.
11. Orange variety : NAVEL.
12. Mournful ring : KNELL.
14. Fast flight : LAM. Escape.
16. Radii-paralleling bones : ULNAE. Bones of the lower arm.
18. Gossipy Barrett : RONA. Columnist, born Oct 6, 1936, and still goin'.
22. Bewilder : ADDLE.
26. See 34-Across : BOOTS.
27. Network with the slogan "Not Reality. Actuality." : TRU TV.
28. Core muscles : ABS. Abdominals.
29. Knee protector : PAD.
32. Traffic problem : SNARL. Too many vehicles and not enough road. See? Told ya so. [You'd almost think I had inside information] Now tell that guy behind me to lay off the horn.
33. Officer-to-be : CADET. West Point student.
35. Unlikely tomboy : GIRLY GIRL. Here is Gloria at cold and windy Pensacola beach exactly one year ago today with granddaughters Lauren (L) and Abby (R). Lauren is for sure a GIRLY GIRL. Abby most definitely is not.
36. Pair on a football field : GOAL LINES. Lines that must be crossed to score in American football.
38. "Storage Wars" network : A AND E.
39. Boston Bruins' home : T D GARDEN. Named tor T D Bank, a subsidiary of Canada's Toronto-Dominion Bank.
40. Letters after mus : NUs. It's all Greek to me
41. Lincoln Ctr. site : NYC. New York City.
46. Man of fables : AESOP. Also Greek.
47. Sigh with relief, say : EXHALE. Out with the bad air.
48. Carpe __ : DIEM. Seize the day.
50. Grazing groups : HERDS. Cattle
51. Wide awake : ALERT.
52. Insistent words from a sandbox : IS TOO. Is Not. [etc.] Kid talk.
53. Commonly dusty room : ATTIC. Top floor.
54. Capital of Yemen : SANA'A. Yeah. I had to look it up, too.
58. Open __ night : MIC. For amateur comics.
60. Ticket word : ROW. Also seat.
62. Bird: Pref. : AVI-. I wanted ORN-
63. Sporty Pontiac : GTO. Gran Turismo Omologato. [Grand Touring Homologated.]
NICE ride with C.C. today, and a classy classic way to end it. Would somebody please get the garage door for me?