Theme: SECRET SUPPORT. The cheering word "RAH!," presumed to be shouted by the fans - e.g. SUPPORTers - of a sports team, is hidden in three theme entries. So maybe in this instance RAH is whispered, not shouted.
17 A. Seeking lodging : LOOKING FOR A HOME. I was thinking of overnight lodging, but this is more permanent. In this answer RAH is divided, or SECTIONED twice.
27 A. Pulling away : FURTHER AHEAD. Figuratively increasing the gap between the leader and the also-rans. If it were literal, it would be FARTHER AHEAD.
45 A. More at dinner : EXTRA HELPING. Refilling your plate, as if one plateful weren't enough. I do this all too often.
And the unifier -- 60 A. Stadium supporters, and a hint to their cry hidden in 17-, 27- and 45-Across : CHEERING SECTION. Not the architectural elements that buttress the arena's structure. Instead, this is an area of the grandstand reserved for the SUPPORTers of one of the teams in an athletic contest. And it also indicates that the cheering word RAH has been SECTIONed, or divided, across two or more words in the theme fill. The ever-meticulous Don G has made sure that the word RAH has been sectioned in every possible way. In a different sense, an athletic supporterer is any sports professional with a family.
Hi gang. JazzBumpa here to cheer you on through this excellent puzzle. Don has taken the rather simple idea of a hidden word, and executed it in a most elegant fashion. Also, the first theme answer and the unifier are both are grid spanners. The average word length is hefty 5.25 letters, way above the 4.91 typical of a Wednesday. Plus, it's only a Q and V short of a pangram.
1. Thin streaks : WISPS. As smoke or snow in the air.
6. Influenced by, recipe-wise : A LA. in the manner of . . .
9. Ones who deal with dealers : NARCS. Clever clue. NARCotic agents are concerned with drug dealers.
14. First name in furniture : ETHAN. Allen.
15. Editor's job : REDACTION. Broadly, REDACTION is simply editing. More specifically, it is removing or obscuring sensitive text in a document prior to publication. Despite Monday's BLUE PENCIL, editing can be done with a red pen, so this can also be parsed as RED ACTION.
19. Unidentified Jane : DOE. John Doe's female equivalent. These are placeholder names for a party whose true identity is unknown or must be withheld in a legal action, case, or discussion.
20. Tugboat sound : TOOT. The relatively high pitched sound of its horn or whistle.
21. Commodities dealer : TRADER. A partial clecho with 9 A.
22. Summit meeting goal : PACT. A strategic agreement of some sort between or among governments.
24. 18-Down, with "down" : JOT. Write something for future reference.
26. Rearing place : NEST. It's for the birds.
31. This and that : OLIO. A miscellaneous collection of things - what you might find in your junk drawer. Or, perhaps, this.
32. Deep gulf : ABYSS.
33. Global financial org. : IMF. International Monetary Fund.
36. Mexican supermodel Elsa : BENITEZ.
39. Hardly transitory : ETERNAL. For ever and ever.
41. Gig session : SET. A group of songs played between breaks.
42. Venetian island : ISOLA. Any Italian Island
44. 1998 Sarah McLachlan hit : ADIA.
48. Suffix with school : MARM. A lady teaching in a one room schoolhouse, stereotypically prim and strict..
51. CIA predecessor : O.S.S. Office of Strategic Services.
52. London home of Constables and Sargents : TATE. Not Scotland Yard. Oustanding misdirection to the museum where you can finds works by John Constable and John Singer Sargent.
53. Block deliverers of yesteryear : ICE MEN. Here they cometh.
55. Powerful lobby for seniors : A.A.R.P. American Association of Retired Persons.
57. Cape Canaveral's st. : FLA. Florida.
63. Self-control : RESTRAINT.
64. Felt poorly : AILED.
65. "Golden Boy" playwright : ODETS. Clifford (July 18, 1906 – August 14, 1963.)
66. "Hello, ewe!" : BAA. Sheep talk.
67. Mausoleums : TOMBS. Dead spaces.
1. Metalworking union : WELD. Another great misdirection - not a trade or labor union, but a technique for fastening metal pieces. Very important in vehicle construction.
2. "Was __ hard on her?" : I TOO. I'm not going to answer this question
3. Crime scene clue : SHOE PRINT. Finger and toe don't fit. But if the SHOE fits . . .
4. K2 is on its border: Abbr. : PAKistan. Per Wikipedia: "K2, also known as Chhogori/Qogir, Ketu/Kechu, and Mount Godwin-Austen (Urdu:شاہ گوری), is the second highest mountain in the world at 8,611 metres (28,251 ft), after Mount Everest. It is located on the border between Baltistan, in the Gilgit–Baltistan region of northern Pakistan, and the Taxkorgan Tajik Autonomous County of Xinjiang, China. With a peak elevation of 8,611 m (28,251 feet), K2 is the highest point of the Karakoram Range and the highest point in Pakistan."
5. State secrets? : SNITCH. Sing like a canary. One more great misdirection. Here, state is a verb.
6. Cornstarch brand : ARGO. Nothing about golden fleece?
7. Right hook setup : LEFT JAB. Boxing maneuvers.
8. Noisy scene : ADO.
9. "Mayberry R.F.D." setting : N. CAR. North Carolina.
10. Nearby : AT HAND.
11. __ la Plata : RIO DE. "River of Silver" - located between Uruguay and Argentina along the Atlantic Ocean, this is the the estuary of the Paraná and Uruguay rivers.
12. Attends : COMES. As to a meeting or church service.
13. Dik Browne pooch : SNERT. Hägar's Hound.
16. Evaluation for creative types : ART TEST.
18. Make a memo of : NOTE. Or JOT it down, as per 24A.
23. Yours, to Yvette : ATOI. French possessive pronoun.
25. "Now I remember!" : OH YEAH.
27. Watch chains : FOBS.
28. Peter Fonda's beekeeper : ULEE. From the movie
29. Medicine cabinet items : RAZORS. Close shave
30. Suffix with malt : ASE. -ASE makes it an enzyme; -OSE makes it a sugar; -ESE makes it a Falcon.
33. Low-budget pic, usually : INDIE FILM. For Independent - not produced by a major studio,
34. Chief : MAIN. Most important in a list of items.
35. Coach's challenge indicator : FLAG. Pro Football - If the coach disputes a referee's call, the challenge causes a video replay review. There have been so many missed calls of goalie interference in the NHL this year that a similar challenge is being considered [or at least wished for] in hockey.
37. StubHub offerings, briefly : TIX. Tickets to arena events
38. Latvia neighbor : ESTONIA. Baltic Sea countries.
40. Spellbound : RAPT. Having one's attention tightly held, as if by magic.
43. Baked, layered entrée : LASAGNA. Sauce, Noodles, Meat, Cheese, Repeat.
45. Clown Kelly : EMMETT.
47. Purring snuggler : LAP CAT. Furry pet.
48. Extremely tiny : MICRO. Adjective or prefix?
49. Needed liniment : ACHED. Muscle soreness.
50. Creator of many pieces? : REESE. Candy, not musical compositions.
54. Writes the wrong zip code, say : ERRS. Makes any sort of mistake
56. Pooch in whodunits : ASTA. Nick and Nora's hound.
58. Award-winning comic book writer Jeph : LOEB.
59. Additions : ANDS. Afterthoughts, maybe.
61. Pointed end : NIB. of a calligraphy pen.
62. South-of-the-border uncle : TIO. Mexican relative.
With a couple musical interludes, and despite having gone to the dogs a couple times, then even to the sheep, I'm still willing to cheer for this puzzle. RAH! What do you think?
JzB [who will play a set including OLEO later this Spring]