54. Minister or imam, say ... and, in two ways, a hint to words hidden in 17-, 29- and 38-Across : RELIGIOUS LEADER. The titles of RELIGIOUSly ministerial people are indicated at the beginning of each theme answer - thus LEADing the way in. Let's see how that works.
17. Secondhand wave of excitement : VICARIOUS THRILL. This is an imagined experience based on the actions or feelings of someone else. The position of VICAR varies among different Christian denominations, but always involves some level of LEADERship responibiity.
29. Place to get delivery instructions? : LAMAZE CLASS. This teaches a method of preparation for natural childbirth. A LAMA is a teacher of the Dhamma, a principle of cosmic order, in Tibetan Buddhism.
38. Hare care site : RABBIT HUTCH. Clever clue for a place where bunnies are nurtured [not the Playboy Mansion.] In the Jewish faith, A RABBI is a teacher in Jewish law who also provides pastoral counseling and represents the community.
With two grid-spanners and two more entries of 11 letters each, this is quite rich for a 4-part theme. Also, I found this to be a bit on the tough side for a Wednesday. But, it's Jeffery, who we usually see on Fridays, so that might explain it. In fact, word count, length and freshness are all in the Thursday- Friday range.
Hi, gang, JazzBumpa here to guide you on this pilgrimage. Remember, religion is off-topic here, so we'll make our excursion secular and apolitical.
1. Touch, e.g. : SENSE. Along with sight, smell, taste, taste and hearing, the typical 5 SENSES. Modern thinking identifies a longer list.
6. Model in a bottle : SHIP.
10. SALT weaponry : ABMS. Strategic Arms Limitation Talks/Treaties concerned Ballistic Missiles and Anti Ballistic Missiles [ground to air] designed to defend against them.
14. "Ta-ta, mon ami" : ADIEU. French word of departure.
15. Students' lunchroom : CAFETERIA.
19. Surprised cries : EEKS. Responses to rodent sightings.
20. Court plea, briefly : NOLO contendere, in full. A plea that neither admits guilt nor claims innocence.
21. Bridal path : AISLE. Not a horse trail, but the route a bride takes to the altar.
22. "Uh-uh--however ... " : NO BUT. Always, an objection.
24. They may be raised in casinos : STAKES. Betting levels. Are you in or out?
25. Saudi neighbors : OMANIS. Middle-eastern geography.
27. Google Apps component : G-MAIL. 21st century communication device.
31. Pro bono TV ad : Public Service Announcement.
34. "Hamilton" climax : DUEL. I'm not familiar with the ending of the musical - but this event ended Alexander Hamilton's life. After missing with his first shot, Hamilton was struck by Burr's shot, and died the following day from the wound.
35. 27-Across alternative : AOL. An internet service provider.
36. Has second thoughts about : RUES. This rather understates what would be better defined as "bitter regret."
37. Member of the fam : SIS. I have one. No bro, though.
42. Thick : DENSE. Figuratively speaking, a not particularly bright person can be called dense. In more physical terms, these words refer to a linear dimension and relative heaviness, respectively.
43. Off the beaten path : REMOTE. Or, alternatively, far away.
44. Arcade activity : GAMING. Generally of video or pin ball varieties.
47. Welcome words to a hitchhiker : HOP IN. Feel free to enter the vehicle.
48. Kicking partner? : ALIVE. Words that go together in a vernacular phrase.
49. Ancient France : GAUL. A vast region of Western Europe north of Iberia inhabited by Celtic peoples, that includes parts of several other modern countries.
51. St. Petersburg's river : NEVA. In Russia, not Florida, therefore remote.
57. Jaguar's jaguar, e.g. : TRADEMARK. A word, phrase or symbol that is registered or established by use to represent a company or product.
58. Clarence Odbody in "It's a Wonderful Life," e.g. : ANGEL. Specifically, a 2nd class angel, who after 200 years, had still not earned his wings. Sad.
59. Give a finer edge to : HONE. Sharpen on a whetstone, or figuratively, refine one's skills.
60. Word with bill or ball : PLAY. "PLAY ball" announces the start of a baseball game. A PLAYbill is a poster announcing a theatrical performance. Here is my lovely wife, Gloria, admiring a recent PLAYbill featuring granddaughter Amanda.
1. In __: unborn : UTERO. Still in the uterus.
1. Hockey announcer's cry : SAVE. The average NHL goalie's save percentage has been .913 to .915 for the last 5 seasons.
2. Actress Falco : EDIE. Nurse Jackie, and before that Carmela Soprano.
3. The Sultan of Swat and The Splendid Splinter : NICKNAMES. I've had a few. Didn't like most of them. The ones listed here refer to baseball legends George Herman "Babe" Ruth and Ted Williams, respectively.
4. Like produce at farm-to-table restaurants : SEASONAL. Fresh and locally produced, unlike strawberries in Michigan in March.
5. The Danube's cont. : EUR. The continent of Europe. Note abrv. in cl. & ans.
6. "Run along now" : SCOOT. Get a move on.
7. Pull with effort : HAUL. Schlep.
8. "Assuming it's true ... " : IF SO. Conditional.
9. Guinea pig, e.g. : PET. A domestic or tamed animal kept for companionship or amusement.
10. Taken from above, as photos : AERIAL. Formerly from a plane, now probably from a drone.
11. Invigorating : BRISK. Like a cool breeze or cup of hot tea.
12. Jacque's thousand : MILLE. French number.
13. Cyber Monday events : SALES. Along with Black Friday, President's Day, the 4th of July and Boxing Day. All designed to separate you from your money.
16. "To clarify ... " : THAT IS. What I meant to say . . .
18. Operating : IN USE. Verb form used as a modifier. Some grammarian help me with the vocabulary.
23. Show __ : BIZ. There's no BIZ like it.
24. Copenhagen carrier : SAS. Scandinavian Airlines.
25. Former GM division : OLDS. It WAS your father's Oldsmobile.
26. Haleakala National Park locale : MAUI. Oahu would have been my 2nd guess. It includes both mountainous and coastal regions.
27. Round Earth map : GLOBE.
28. Landlocked African nation : MALI. South of Algeria, west of Niger. Chad also fits - it is east of Niger and south of Libya.
30. Airport lineup : CABS. Taxis. Alternate definition: red wine line up.
31. Made tense : PUT ON EDGE. What puts you on edge?
32. Doctrinal faction : SECT. Another tilt in the direction of religion. I was going to join my carpenter friend's church, until I found out it was a splinter group.
33. Tennis great Arthur : ASHE. In the early 80's Ashe is believed to have contracted AIDS from a blood transfusion he received during heart surgery. He died at age 49 in 1993.
36. Cud-chewing mammal : RUMINANT. A hoofed animal with a rumen - an extra stomach where plant matter is digested with the aid of bacteria. Includes cattle, sheep, antelopes, deer and giraffes.
38. Go back (on) : RENEGE. Fail to honor a promise or contract.
39. Director Lee : ANG. [b 1953] Also screenwriter and producer whose often emotionally charged works explore cultural and personal conflicts.
40. Disruptive forum visitor : TROLL. One whose comments serve to cause dissension and conflict for its own sake rather than move the conversation along in a rational manner.
41. With it, once : HEP. What once was HEP became hip, then rad. I don't what it is now.
42. Cut into parts : DIVIDE.
44. Brooks with two Grammys : GARTH. Counrty singer
45. Last 25-Down model : ALERO. It was built in Lansing, MI from 1998 until 2004.
46. Italian fashion city : MILAN. The capital of Lombardy and 2nd most populous city in Italy. It is also a leader in the arts, commerce, education, research and tourism.
47. Iditarod runner : HUSKY. Sled dog.
50. Pervasive glow : AURA.
52. Turn sharply : VEER. Suddenly change direction.
53. Guthrie who sang about Alice : ARLO. Here, for you listening enjoyment, if you have 18 spare minutes.
55. Little trickster : IMP.
56. Seine filler : EAU. Water in a French river. A purse seine filler would be poisson, on a good day.
Eau que, that wraps things up for another Wednesday. Hope you enjoyed the journey.