Tuesday, May 10, 2022 // Julian Lim

Having Your Day in Court.  The word Witness can follow the last word of each theme answer.

17-Across. *  "In my uninformed opinion ... ": I'M NO EXPERT.  Expert Witness.  Well, I hope that the Expert Witness is an Expert!

23-Across. *   Challenge to someone suspected of lying: LOOK ME IN THE EYE.  Eye Witness.

50-Across. *   Become a better person, say: BUILD CHARACTER.  Character Witness.

62-Across. *   Thoroughly refute: PROVE FALSE.  False Witness.

And the unifier:
39-Across. Marvin Gaye classic, and a hint to the last words of the answers to the starred clues: CAN I GET A WITNESS.

1. "High Voltage" band: ACϟDC.

5. Sprang: LEAPT.

10. Neaten (up): TIDY.
14. Cry out loud: WAIL.

15. Lauder of makeup: ESTÉE.  Estée Lauder (née Josephine Esther Mentzer; July 1, 1908 ~ Apr. 24, 2004) makes frequent guest appearances in the crossword puzzles.

16. Inkling: IDEA.

19. Russian dynast: TSAR.

The last Russian Tsar and family.

20. Not prohibited: LEGAL.

21. Biennial games gp.: IOC.  As in the International Olympic Committee.

22. Word with fall or fill: LAND.  Landfall or Landfill.

27. Western defense gp.: OAS.  As in the Organization of American States.

28. "__ queen!": "Work it!": YAS.  I am not familiar with this expression.

29. Nowhere to be found: AWOL.  As in Absent WithOut Leave.

33. Member of the fam: SIB.  Not a Sister but a Sibling.

35. Absorb with bread, as gravy: SOP UP.

43. Long-stemmed mushroom: ENOKI.

44. Director Lee: ANG.  Lee Ann (b. Oct. 23, 1954) makes frequent guest appearances in the puzzles.  He directed such movies as Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and Life of Pi.

45. Like gloomy skies: GRAY.

46. Monarch's reign, e.g.: ERA.  The ERA of Elizabeth II, Queen of the United Kingdom (b. Apr. 21, 1926), has been 70 years.  She ascended to the throne in February 1952.  Her platinum jubilee is this year.

48. Cellist's need: BOW.

58. __ jockey: DISC.

59. Satisfied sigh: AAH!

60. "You win": I LOSE.

61. On the ocean: ASEA.  This has become a crossword staple.

65. Entry point: DOOR.  When is a door not a door?

66. More loyal: TRUER.

67. Black-eyed __: PEAS.

68. Celebrity chef Burrell: ANNE.  I don't watch cooking shows, so am not familiar with Anne Burrell (b. Sept. 21, 1969).

69. Twilled fabric: SERGE.  Everything you wanted to know about Serge, but didn't know to ask.

70. Eyelid bump: STYE.

1. "Where there's __ ... ": A WILL.  Where there's a will, there's a way.

2. Typical Stan Lee role: CAMEO.  Stan Lee (né Stanley Martin Lieber; Dec. 28, 1922 ~ Nov. 12, 2018) was a comic book writer and creator of numerous superheroes.

3. Wild dog of Australia: DINGO.

5. Supervillain Luthor: LEX.

6. Second sight, for short: ESP.

7. Dined at home: ATE IN.

8. 1990s presidential candidate: PEROT.  H. Ross Perot (né Henry Ross Perot; June 27, 1930 ~ July 9, 2019) ran for president in 1992 and again in 1996.  Just in case you weren't following the presidential races in the last century, Perot's campaigns were unsuccessful.

9. Easy to set off: TETCHY.  Don't think I have ever used this word.

10. "Grease," for one: TITLE SONG.

11. "My take is ... ": I'D SAY.

12. "Reading in the Dark" Booker Prize nominee Seamus: DEANE.  I am not familiar with Seamus Deane (né Seamus Francis Dean; Feb. 9, 1940 ~ May 12, 2021).  He is an Irish poet and novelist.  Reading in the Dark was his first novel.  

13. Three feet: YARD.

18. Baby-voiced red Muppet: ELMO.

24. Lack of difficulty: EASE.

25. "__ just me ... ?": IS IT.  Is it just me, or is this a Tuesday level puzzle?

26. Sunup direction: EAST.

29. Elastic bandage brand: ACE.

30. Looking sickly: WAN.

31. Artist Yoko: ONO.  Yoko Ono (b. Feb. 18, 1933) makes frequent guest appearances in the puzzles.  She will be 90 years old next year.

32. "Whatever!": LIKE I CARE.

34. Barnyard bleat: BAA.
36. Part of wpm: PER.  As in Words Per Minute, which is a measure of one's typing skills.

37. Can. neighbor: USA.  Hi, CanadianEh!

38. Future analyst's maj.: PSY.

40. Lass: GIRL.

41. Elena Delle Donne's org.: WNBA.  Elena Delle Donne (b. Sept. 9. 1989) is a professional basketball player.  She plays for the Washington Mystics.

42. Aviation pioneer Sikorsky: IGOR.  I was not familiar with Igor Sikorsky (May 25, 1889 ~ Oct. 26, 1972).  He was born in what is today known as Kyiv, Ukraine, but immigrated to the United States in 1919.  He is known for designing the first viable mass-produced American helicopter.

47. Moves with the times: ADAPTS.

49. Forsaken child: WAIF.

50. American buffalo: BISON.

51. Apply to: USE ON.

52. Spy-fi great John le __: CARRÉ.  John le Carré is the pen name of David John Moore Cornwell (Oct. 19, 1931 ~ Dec. 12, 2020).  He wrote many, many espionage novels, but is probably best known for The Spy Who Came in From the Cold.

53. Go time, in military slang: H-HOUR.

54. Applauds: CLAPS.

55. Apartment window sign: TO LET.

56. Op-ed piece, e.g.: ESSAY.  

57. Witherspoon of "Wild": REESE.  Reese Witherspoon (née Laura Jeanne Reese Witherspoon; b. Mar. 22, 1976) has starred in many movies, often rom-coms, but Wild was a 2014 biographical drama based on Cheryl Strayed's memoir of the same name.

58. Tot's first word, maybe: DA DA.  One word or two?

63. Act like a couch potato, with "out": VEG.

64. Poetic "before": ERE.

Here's the Grid:


To the Houston contingency:  If you haven't seen the Esher exhibit, go directly to the Fine Arts Museum,!  There are over 700 pieces in this fabulous exhibit, including an optical illusion room!