Theme: "Down in Front" - IN is added to the start of each common phrase.
3. Orchestra conductor's memo heading?: IN RE PERCUSSION. Repercussion.
6. So-so golf swings?: INDIFFERENT STROKES. Different strokes.
10. How married couples may spend Thanksgiving?: IN-LAW ABIDING. Law-abiding.
14. Baseball groundskeeper's problem?: INFIELD MOUSE. Field mouse.
30. Religious seminary?: INVOCATIONAL SCHOOL. Vocational school.
53. Dragon tattoos, e.g.?: INKING OF BEASTS. King of beasts.
61. Take out a policy for replacement value?: INSURE ENOUGH. Sure enough.
63. Finding actors for a small-studio film?: INDIE CASTING. Die casting.
See how "Down" added the extra elegance to this puzzle? I would have just used "In Front" and put theme entries in Across. The brain of DAB!
Grid-wise, it's a standard 144-word, 78-black square grid that I really like.
5. Storage tower: SILO.
9. Emotional exhalation: SIGH. And 59. Cry of dismay: OH NO.
13. Mint metal, once: SILVER.
19. Wine opener?: OENO.As in "Oenophile".
20. Home of the Railroad Museum of Oklahoma: ENID. Here with Thomas.
21. "Next round's __": ON ME.
22. Whomever: ANYONE.
23. Sent on: FORWARDED.
25. Group with ancestral ties: CLAN.
26. Paranormal cases: X-FILES.
27. Serpent's tail?: INE. Serpentine. Also 106. Chemical suffix: ANE.
28. Nintendo consoles: WIIS.
29. Designer Versace: GIANNI. Here with his sister Donatella.
31. Habituate: INURE.
32. Swindles: RIPS OFF.
34. Eject forcibly: SPEW.
35. Cost of hand delivery?: ANTE. Poker hand.
37. CEO, CFO, etc.: MGT. Management.
38. Go furtively: SNEAK.
39. 82-Down subcompacts: FIESTAS. 82. Maker of Explorers and 39-Across: FORD.
42. Low places: VALLEYS.
44. __ Haute: TERRE. Indiana.
45. Finish: END.
46. Lawyer's gp.: ABA.
47. Outdated, spelled in an outdated way: OLDE.
48. Is able to: CAN.
49. NBC founder: RCA. I associate a "founder" with a person.
50. Purple flower: LILAC.
52. "__ oui!": MAIS.
55. Render aghast: STUN.
57. Intend: MEAN.
58. Hindu deity: DEVA. Sanskrit for "god".
60. Owns: HAS.
61. McShane of "Deadwood": IAN. Looks like a bad character.
62. Spanish ayes: SI SI. Chinese is "Shi de, Shi de".
65. Rebuke from Caesar: ET TU.
67. Kith and __: KIN.
69. Raised trains: ELS.
70. Minor quibbles: NITS.
72. "I'll Be Your Mirror" photographer Goldin: NAN.
73. Ebro y Douro: RIOS. Wikipedia says Douro is "the highest-flow river of the Iberian Peninsula".
74. Anger: IRE. 127. Come to a boil: SEETHE.
75. Hit the slopes: SKI.
76. Shrugworthy: SO SO.
77. Hounds, e.g.: DOGS. Verb.
79. Smelter's supply: ORE.
80. Grant-giving gp.: NEA.
81. Soy block: TOFU. I like it extra firm.
83. Pad krapow gai cuisine: THAI. Pad ="Stir-fried". Krapow= "Holy basil". Gai is just "chicken". Same as Cantonese. Also slang for "prostitute".
85. Glass piece: PANE.
87. Disney CEO Bob: IGER. He's back.
88. __ close to schedule: ON OR.
89. Choir attire: ROBES.
91. Roth __: IRA.
92. Peace activist Yoko: ONO.
93. Forfeited auto: REPO.
95. Earth-friendly prefix: ECO.
96. "Wonder Woman" star Gadot: GAL.
97. Aficionados: BUFFS.
100. Spot with patio furniture: SUNDECK.
103. Relatively reliable sources of income: DAY JOBS.
105. Defame in print: LIBEL.
107. Tiny amt. of time: NSEC.
109. Coin receiver: SLOT.
110. Country estate: CHATEAU.
112. Release: LET GO. Tiny dupe with 1. Lead: GO FIRST.
114. Targeted, as a basketball hoop: SHOT AT.
116. Not ajar: SHUT. Hi there, Hahtoolah!
117. Bank drive-thru device: ATM. Oh, I finally got my Wells Fargo ATM card. Now I have access to our bank account again. No more credit card from them though. I just don't have the bandwidth to deal with them any more.
118. Warmed the bench: SAT OUT.
120. "There's nobody else": I'M IT.
121. Relaxes: LOOSENS UP.
123. Cheese in some bagels: ASIAGO. Boomer would be startled by what I have in the fridge now.
124. Pre-Easter period: LENT.
125. Out of control: AMOK.
126. Raison d'__: ETRE.
128. "Bus Stop" playwright: INGE (William)
129. Salon array: GELS.
130. Secondhand: USED.
2. Like a maned cat: LEONINE.
4. Gift topper: BOW.
5. Sans-__: type style: SERIF.
7. Reclines: LIES.
8. Peculiar: ODD.
9. Transcending the individual: SOCIETAL.
11. FBI guy: G MAN.
12. Reddish brown dye: HENNA. Intricate.
13. Jazz horn: SAX.
15. "__ Eyes": 1975 Eagles hit: LYIN'.
16. Encyclopedia unit: VOLUME.
17. Cabinet department created under Carter: ENERGY.
18. Creates anew, as a password: RESETS.
24. Roused: AWOKEN.
29. Rte. provider: GPS.
33. Wrap brand: SARAN.
34. Some cars: SEDANS.
36. "Culture Warlords" author Lavin: TAL. New clue angle. Sometimes we see "Chess master Mikhail".
40. Worshipper of the goddess Pachamama: INCA.
41. Merchant's goal: SALE.
43. "Troublemaker: Surviving Hollywood and Scientology" memoirist Remini: LEAH. She's pretty gutsy.
51. Affirm: AVER.
54. Evening party: SOIREE.
55. "__ So Unusual": Cyndi Lauper's debut album: SHE'S.
56. Converse with: TALK TO.
57. Month between abril and junho: MAIO. May.
64. First word of some Brazilian city names: SAO.
66. Ripped apart: TORE.
68. Close: NEAR.
71. Little Italy neighbor: SOHO.
78. Tap: SPIGOT.
84. Still tucked in: ABED.
86. Part of UAE: ARAB.
87. Indigenous people of the far North: INUIT.
90. Nondairy coffeehouse order: SOY LATTE.
92. Not quite spherical: OBLATE.
94. Mac alternatives: PCS.
98. __ film: FEATURE.
99. Had a dry spell at the plate: SLUMPED.
100. Taco bar array: SALSAS.
101. Disquiet: UNEASE.
102. Geneticist Stevens who discovered sex chromosomes: NETTIE.
104. Write (down): JOT.
108. Cook-off dish: CHILI.
111. Shucker's discards: HUSKS.
113. Superlative acronym: G.O.A.T.
115. Sign: OMEN.
116. More than none: SOME.
119. __ loop: simple skating jump: TOE.
121. Fall behind: LAG.
122. Modern, in German: NEU.
Big milestone today for Patti Varol, editor for the L.A. Times Daily crosswords. Happy birthday, Patti!
I've worked with Patti for many years, both for the Crosswords Club and the LAT daily. Whether a puzzle is accepted or rejected, she always gives me constructive feedback and helps me tighten up the theme set. She also spends an extraordinary amount of time to polish my clues:
1) She makes sure that my clues don't dupe the clues in the puzzles that run in the same week as mine.
2) She makes sure that I have no typos and the cluing style fit in the Tribune Media requirements, that my total character count does not exceed the space for various newspapers. It's very easy to get long-winded!
3) She makes sure that my clues are fair. Can you imagine I want every clue to reflect my interests and who I am? Can you imagine I clue BING as [Ice, in Chinese] and DING as [Ancient Chinese cauldron with three legs] and I intersect the two in the same grid? Certainly fair to me, but it's not to you guys.
4) She makes sure that my clues are fresh and witty. As I've mentioned in the past, the many clever clues you guy like are not mine. She's the unsung hero behind all this.
It's just astonishing to read yesterday's comments. I'm stunned by this constructor's lack of understanding of how a puzzle is edited.