17 A. *Speak carefully to avoid offense: MINCE WORDS. Usually presented in the negative, as laying it all on the line. To MINCE a food item is chop or grind it into very small pieces, often in a machine with revolving blades.
21 A. *Yahtzee, for one: DICE GAME. The object of the game is score points by rolling 5
DICE to get certain combinations. I was surprised to discover it was first marketed in Toledo, my home town, in the early 40's. To DICE food, you cut it into small cubes.
40 A. *Homemade song assortment: MIX TAPE. A compilation of favorite music, usually by a variety of artists, on some sort of home recording device, TAPEs being quite passé these days. To MIX is to combine various ingredients so that they are all evenly distributed.
42 A. *Vocally imitate a drum machine: BEAT BOX. Exactly as described.
56 A. *Lunch from home: BROWN BAG. To pack a lunch, typically in a BROWN paper bag designed for that purpose, and take it to another destination such as school or a work site. You BROWN an item by heating it on a stove, typically in a skillet or pan.
65 A. Kitchen guide ... and where to find the starts of the answers to starred clues: RECIPE BOOK. A published collection of cooking directions - e.g. RECIPES - for various dishes.
Hi, Gang. JzB here to host this dinner. Did the theme whet your appetite for the main course? Let's grab our forks and see what Steve has cooked up for us.
1. Renovator's protective cover: TARP. A sheet of canvas or plastic that protects floors and furniture from paint drips, dust, or physical damage during the renovation process.
5. Not so exciting: HO-HUM.
10. Soak up the sun: BASK. Relax in the pleasant warmth.
14. "Dies __": Latin hymn: IRAE.
Almost 8 minutes - discretion is advised
15. Yoga pose: ASANA. A posture used in hatha yoga.
16. Hatchet man __ Brasi of "The Godfather": LUCA.
Karma - not easy to watch; discretion is advised.
19. Spoken: ORAL.
20. 2019 award for author Walter Mosley: EDGAR. Mystery writer's award name for E. A. Poe.
23. Cry of success that can also be a sarcastic admission of failure: NAILED IT. Some days you get the NAIL, some days the NAIL gets you.
26. Ad-__: improvise: LIB.
29. "__ won't do": THIS.
30. Pinch pennies: SCRIMP. Partnered with save.
35. Post-op sites: ICUS. Intensive Care Units.
37. Not fooled by: ON TO. Have it figured out.
39. Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum city: HANOI. He was the revolutionary leader who won Viet Nam's independence from France in 1954.
44. Spoken: ALOUD. Audible.
45. Poetry event: SLAM. We humans can make anything into a competition - even the reading of poetry.
47. Hatcher or Polo: TERI. American actors, born in 1964 and 1969, respectively. What - no love for Teri Garr [b 1944]?
48. Status __: SYMBOL. A possession that is considered to indicate wealth or social standing.
50. Forget to mention: OMIT. Leave out, elide.
52. Report card bummer: DEE. Poor grade.
53. Norse mythology upheaval used as the subtitle of a 2017 "Thor" film: RAGNAROK. The fate or twilight of the gods - a series of events leading up to a great battle, the death of many of the gods, and devastating h=natural disasters on earth.
60. Repairs: MENDS. Fixerates
64. Marshmallow blackener: FIRE. Camp or bon, most likely.
68. Discomfit: FAZE. Disturb.
69. Save a ton on the wedding reception?: ELOPE. How will the lack of a reception be received?
70. Not pro: ANTI-. I'm against it.
71. Sty feed: SLOP. For the big and little piggies.
72. Often __: half the time: AS NOT.
73. Check signer: BOSS. Payroll.
1. Life partner: TIME. Magazines, not companions.
2. Dry as a desert: ARID. Too dry or barren to support vegetation.
3. Tolled, as a bell: RANG. Pealed.
4. Pie nut: PECAN. Not to be confused with pine nuts, which are in pesto.
5. Word after hee or yee: HAW. The braying of an ass or a celebratory howl.
6. Spanish bear: OSO.
7. Most challenging: HARDEST. Surpassingly difficult.
8. Reversed: UNDID. Cancelled, repealed, retracted.
9. Dinosaur Jr. frontman J __: MASCIS. This band was formed in 1984 and was one of the formative influences in American alternative rock. I never heard of them.
10. Online journal: BLOG. A contraction of WEBLOG.
11. General vibe: AURA. I have a feeling.
12. Take in: SCAM. Here, SCAM is a verb, indicating an attempt to dupe somebody.
13. Leafy vegetable: KALE. A cruciferous vegetable coming in several varieties with green or purple leaves.
18. Middle of Q.E.D.: ERAT. From the Latin phrase "quod erat demonstrandum," meaning "what was to be demonstrated, indicating that a mathematical proof or philosophical argument was completed.
22. __ Sketch: ETCHA. Quite possibly the most frustrating toy ever invented.
25. Fishing gear: LINES. Rods and reels would otherwise be useless.
26. Succotash beans: LIMAS. Mixed with corn, and possibly other things, like tomatoes or sweet peppers.
27. Without warmth: ICILY.
31. "Out of the Cellar" metal band: RATT. This was their debut studio album, released in 1984.
32. Under the covers: IN BED. Possibly asleep.
33. Boxing legend Archie: MOORE. Archibald Lee Wright [1916-1998] was the longest reigning light-heavyweight of all time - December, 1952 to May, 1962. He had an extraordinarily long career, from 1935 to 1963.
34. Impish fairy: PIXIE. Diminutive mythical creatures that are childlike, active, and occasionally pranksters.
36. Incomplete Wikipedia entry: STUB. Needs more info.
38. "Becoming" memoirist Michelle: OBAMA. Former first lady, nee Robinson [b 1964.]
41. Add beauty to: ADORN. Decorate.
43. Mideast noble: EMIR.
46. Scam that takes a while to pay off: LONG CON. An elaborate scheme to trick someone into giving up money or other valuables.
49. __ Tar Pits: LA BREA. Inside the city of Las Angeles.
51. Thick book: TOME. Read one if you have enough Tome time.
54. Irish speakers: GAELS. An ethnolinguistic group associated with Irish, MAnx and Scottish languages.
55. Meaty fare from a falafel stand: KEBAB. Any of various grilled meat dishes cooked in a middle-eastern stye.
56. Closest pals, initially: BFFS. Best Friends Forever.
57. Tehran money: RIAL. Currently about .003 of a U. S. cent.
58. Rice-shaped pasta: ORZO.
59. Shed tears: WEEP. Cry.
61. Pitching gem, in baseball slang: NONO. A perfectly pitched game with NO runs, NO hits, and NO errors.
62. "i" pieces: DOTS. Don't forget to dot your i's and cross your t's.
63. Hits the slopes: SKIS. Goes SKIing.
66. Wall St. debut: IPO. Initial Public Offering.
67. Darling: PET. Most favored individual.
That finishes off our Wednesday entree. Did you notice that we had two green vegetables, meat and a starch - in addition to our IHOP visit? Is anybody else ready for desert?