1 A. Gaping mouths: MAWS. From the Old English word for stomach.
14 A. Nobelist Wiesel: ELIE. Holocaust survivor and author of 57 books.
Together they give us the letters of MALE, who, if adult and human, is a man.
5 A. "The Sorcerer's Apprentice" composer: DUKAS. Paul [1865-1935] Composer and music critic who was intensely self-critical and destroyed many of his own works.
15 A. Official mandate: EDICT. A decree issued by someone in political or religious authority. The Edict of Milan in 313 A.D. proclaimed religious tolerance and stopped the persecution of Christians in the Roman Empire.
DUDE stems from the late 19th century, indicating a dandy. Now it seems to be mostly used ironically, or in contempt.
48 A. Large goblet: CHALICE. Typically a wine vessel, used in a Christian ritual.
54 A. Bamboo lover: PANDA. Genetic studies reveal that it is a true bear that differentiated from other ursine stock about 19 million years ago. Bamboo is the major portion of it's diet, but it will eat just about anything.
CHAP refers to any man or boy, not to be confused with the winter-time condition of my chops. Evidently derived from chapman, a 16th century designation for a peddler.
58 A. Military expert, say: STRATEGIST. one responsible for formulating and implementing an action plan to achieve some goal. This involves defining the goal, determining an action plan and mobilizing resources.
63A. Language of Pakistan: URDU. A variant of Hindustani also having official status in Nepal and 6 States of India.
A STUD is a man who is believed to have above average sexual prowess. This is no doubt derived from animal husbandry, where a STUD is a male domestic animal used for breeding.
62 A. Canadian fliers: GEESE.
65 A. Govt.-backed bond: T-NOTE. The T stands for the U. S. Treasury, which issues 3 types of securities, all of which can be broadly characterized as bonds. T-Bills have maturities of 4. 13, 26 and 52 weeks. T-NOTES currently have maturities of 2, 3, 5, 7 and 10 years. Long bonds mature in 30 years.
And the centrally located, grid-spanning unifier -- 37 A. Typical MLB pitching alignment, and a hint to this puzzle's circles: FIVE MAN ROTATION. Most professional baseball teams have 5 starting pitchers who routinely appear in a specified order, though this can be disrupted by injuries or other considerations. And this tightly nails down the theme - there are five different synonyms for a MAN, and each set of four letters is to be read in a clockwise fashion, starting at the upper left - hence the "rotation."
Hi Gang, JazzBumpa here. I'm not overly fond of circled letter themes, but they seem to be firmly entrenched in the crossword world, so here we are. This one is thematically rich and well executed. Let's take a spin through the rest of it, and see if George has thrown us any curve balls.
10. States in an outdated atlas: Abbr.: SSRS. Soviet Socialist Republics, the once great [or perhaps just pretty good, or maybe not at all] Communist Russian Empire.
16. Analogous (to): AKIN. Related in some way, or of similar character.
17. One way to ride a horse: SIDE SADDLE. This awkward mode of travel was started by Princess Anne of Bohemia in 1382 when she made her way across Europe to marry King Richard II. After that event, the practice spread, so to speak, and it became vulgar for a lady to ride astride a horse. I have to wonder why she didn't ride in a carriage. Anyway, according to legend, the ride of Lady Godiva took place at least a century earlier, so depictions of this type might be more or less accurate.
19. Stereotypical pooch: FIDO. The name is derived from the Latin word meaning "faithful." The eponym for all subsequent FIDOS was a real dog who lived up to his name in an amazing and extraordinary manner.
20. D.C.'s Pennsylvania, e.g.: AVE. This route runs for 5.8 miles within Washington D.C. Notable sites include the White House, the Capitol Building and the John Phillip Sousa Bridge.
21. Named, briefly: IDED. Identified.
22. Shop talk: LINGO. The jargon or argot specific to a particular subject or group of people.
23. One in a hundred?: SENATOR. Somewhere on Pennsylvania AVE. about 1.2 miles from the White House at 1600, we can find the Capitol, where these people are supposed to be working. It appears that this building has no actual numbered street address - or, at least, none that I can find.
25. Cafeteria worker's cover: HAIR NET. Worn to prevent contaminating food. It is also part of formal attire for females in dressage and other varieties of horsing around. The oldest known evidence of use is from the 3300-year-old grave of a Danish girl.
27. Affleck of "Gone Girl": BEN. Benjamin Géza Affleck-Boldt [b 1972] is an American actor and film maker. He has received two Academy Awards, three Golden Globe Awards, two BAFTA Awards, and two Screen Actors Guild Awards.
28. "Downton __": PBS show: ABBEY. A period drama set in Yorkshire, England and spanning from 1912 to 1926. It has received numerous nominations and awards.
29. Dramatic opening?: ACT I.
32. Many an emailer: AOLER. Are there many AOL user these days? Aren't most of us G-mailers?
34. '50s political monogram: DDE. Dwight David Eisenhower was the Supreme commander of the Allied Forces in Europe during WWII, and then President of the United States from 1953 to 1961.
41. Train stopping at every sta.: LOC. Local, as opposed to express, which makes few intermediate stops.
42. They turn litmus paper red: ACIDS. Litmus is a water soluble dye mixture extracted from certain lichens. It exhibits a color change depending on the acidity or alkalinity of a solution to which it is exposed, turning red in the presence of an acid, or blue in the presence of a base.
43. Does impressions of: APES. Mimics.
44. Grazing groups: HERDS. As of cattle, frex.
46. "Gimme a __": SEC. A short time increment.
50. "Haven't the foggiest": BEATS ME. I really have no idea.
55. Alternative to fries: TOTS. 'Tater TOTS. Grated potatoes that are formed into a shape and deep fried. They were invented in 1953 to use up the left over slivers of sliced potatoes. Waste not, want not, I guess.
56. Korean automaker: KIA.
57. Script fraction: LINE. An actors line in a play or movie.
61. Sun Devils' rival: UTES. Arizona State and Utah University sports teams, respectively.
64. Riverbank residue: SILT. A fine mineral material deposited by running water.
66. "Freeze!": STOP. Halt!
1. Small plateaus: MESAS. Table land formations - literally table in Spanish. These are flat topped hills with steep cliff sides.
2. Still in contention: ALIVE. Still having a chance.
3. Alleviate traffic on, perhaps: WIDEN. As a thoroughfare.
4. "Told you": SEE. Rubbing it in.
5. Exactly right: DEAD ON. Completely and precisely correct. I'm not able to trace an origin.
6. Milk source: UDDER. The mammary gland in cattle, sheep, goats, etc.
7. 10-time NBA All-Star Jason: KIDD. [b 1973] In his 19-year career he played for Dallas [twice], Phoenix, New Jersey and New York. He has since coached the Nets and Bucks.
10. "On Language" columnist: SAFIRE. William Lewis SAFIRE [1929- 2009] American author, columnist, journalist and presidential speech writer.
11. Barely enjoy the pool?: SKINNY DIP.
Look before you leap
13. Condescending one: SNOOT. I'm guessing because this one looks down her/his nose at others.
18. Place: SITE. A specific location.
22. First sign of fall: LIBRA. Zodiac sign, typically from Sept. 32 to Oct. 23.
24. Rose's Broadway beau: ABIE. ABIE's Irish Rose was a play that debuted on May 23, 1922 and ran for 2327 performances. It was made into movies in 1928 and 1946. The premise involves a young Irish Catholic woman who marries a Jewish man over the objections of their famiies.
25. Saintly glows: HALOS. Generally represented as a circle of light above or behind the head of a sacred peron.
26. Drive the getaway car, say: ABET. Assist in the commission of a crime.
29. Partner of 30-Down: AFL. American Federation of Labor.
30. Partner of 29-Down: CIO. Congress of Industrial Organizations. The organizations combined in 1955 after a long estrangement. Together, they are made up of 55 national and international unions, representing over 12 million active and retired workers.
31. Remote choice: TV CHANNEL. Make your selection from the vast wasteland.
32. Ouzo flavoring: ANISE. Pimpinella anisum, a flowering plant native to the eastern mediterranean regions with a flavor similar to licorice.
33. MDW : Midway :: __ : O'Hare: ORD. The 3 letter codes for two Chicago area airports. Some explanation here.
35. Anonymous Jane: DOE.
36. Peyton Manning's four?: ENS. He has 4 N's in his name to my mere one. I detest these self-referential clues.
38. Educator Montessori: MARIA. Maria Tecla Artemisia Montessori [1870-1952] was an Italian physician and educator, and eponym for a specific philosophy of education.
39. Adapter letters: AC/DC. This is definitely not in my wheelhouse. You can read about it here.
40. Delicate handling: TACT. Adroitness and sensitivity in dealing with others or with difficult issues.
45. Firstborn: ELDEST. Of a group of siblings. My baby sister will be 66 this summer.
46. Parlor piece: SETTEE. Typically a seating place for two, with a slimmer profile than a sofa.
47. Let up: EASE. Become less intense, serious or severe.
48. Just above average: C PLUS. The high end of mediocrity.
49. One side of Hispaniola: HAITI. The other side of the island is the Dominican Republic.
50. Talk oneself up: BOAST. Talk with excessive pride and self-satisfaction about one's abilities, possessions and accomplishments
51. School uniform part, perhaps: SKIRT. Why are they always plaid?
52. Foul up: MISDO. Looks odd as a present tense verb form. Action word for a schlemiel or evil-doer.
53. Thoroughly enjoy: EAT UP.
55. Early smartphone: TREO. Nineteen different models were released between 2002 and 2008.
58. Rank above cpl.: SGT. Corporal and Sergeant military ranks.
59. Coffee break time: TEN. In the morning.
60. Mercury astronaut Grissom: GUS. Virgil Ivan "Gus" Grissom [1926-1967] was one of the seven original National Aeronautics and Space Administration's Project Mercury astronauts. He was a veteran of WW II and the Korean War, and an Air Force test pilot who received several awards, including the Congressional medal of Honor. He died, along with fellow astronauts White and Chaffee, in a command module fire on a launch pad at Cape Canaveral. There were many lethal hazards and design flaws in the cock pit and in the conduct of the pre-launch test that took their lives.
That's a sad note to end on, but reality can be that way sometimes. The rest of the puzzle was enjoyable.
JzB signing out.