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Off to the Races:  The word Gate can be placed at the "Start" of the first word of each theme answer to give us a new concept.

19-Across. Outdoor security illumination: FLOOD LIGHTING.  Flood Gates.  Everything you wanted to know about the Flood Gates of New Orleans, but didn't know to ask.


30-Across. Teeth: PEARLY WHITES.  Pearly Gates.

40-Across. First ten U.S. constitutional amendments: BILL OF RIGHTS.  Bill Gates.

William Henry Gates, III (b. Oct. 28, 1955)

And the Unifier:
55-Across. Where horse races begin ... and where the beginning of 19-, 30- and 40-Across might be seen: STARTING GATES.



WARNING:  There is a bad word at the very end of this very funny Video.


Across:
1. Baroque composer of many fugues: BACH.  Remove the "C" and you get 1-Down: Scroogean scoff: BAH!  

The Bach family was very musical, but probably the best known is Johann Sebastian Bach (Mar. 31, 1685 ~ July 28, 1750).  The "forgotten son" of the family was P.D.Q. Bach.



5. "__ did you say?": WHAT.

9. Pageant adornment: SASH.

13. Workout reminder: ACHE.

14. Team instructor: COACH.  Also the name of a company that makes high-end handbags.

15. Stage in an insect's life cycle: PUPA.  Some insects undergo 3 stages, others have a 4 stage life cycle.


16. Stiletto __: shoe part: HEEL.  High heels are really not all that comfortable.  Since the Quar, I have been either been going barefoot, in my gym shoes, or wearing flip-flops.  Not sure I ever want to go back to dress shoes.

17. Waze suggestion: ROUTE.


18. Chief Norse deity: ODIN.  A crossword staple.

22. Tennis toppers: VISORS.

24. Shucked shellfish: OYSTER.  Grilled oysters are a speciality in many restaurants in South Louisiana.

25. German cry: ACH!

26. Tummy muscles: ABs.  This is becoming a crossword staple.


28. Election night graphic: MAP.  Results from the 1900 Presidential election.  Looks like William McKinley (Jan. 29, 1843 ~ Sept. 14, 1901) beat William Jennings Bryan (Mar. 19, 1860 ~ July 26, 1925).


29. Sloppy room metaphor: STY.

34. Caesar's last gasp: ET TU.

35. Gut punch reaction: OOF!

36. __ na tigela: Brazilian berry dish in a bowl: AÇAI.  Açai berry has become a very popular crossword word.  They look like blue berries.


45. "Fill 'er up" fluid: GAS.

48. Michelle Obama __ Robinson: NÉE.  Before she married Barack Obama (b. Aug. 4, 1961) in October, 1992, she was known as Michelle LaVaught Robinson (b. Jan. 17, 1964).


49. Turn on the waterworks: SOB.  I initially tried Cry.

50. Charged particle: ION.  Ions appear with some regularity in the crossword puzzles.



51. Defeat cunningly: OUTFOX.

53. Flat renter: TENANT.  I initially tried Leasee then I tried Renter, before finally settling on Tenant.

59. State with a greeting in its name: OHIO.  //  A shortened version of 4-Down: Word of greeting: HELLO!

60. Apple pie-making tool: CORER.


61. Hoops officials: REFs.  As in Referees.  The ref is in the stripped shirt.


64. Lady's man: LORD.  You, too, can become a Lord or Lady.

65. Egg producer: OVARY.

66. Bridal accessory: VEIL.  Bridal veils can be of varying lengths, as shown below.


67. Approximately: OR SO.

68. Word after user or stage: NAME.  As in User Name or Stage Name.

69. Provocative, as humor: EDGY.

Down:

2. Versatile blackjack card: ACE.
3. Culinary topper: CHEF'S HAT.  The usual crossword answer to a clue like this is Toque.

5. Stove fuel: WOOD.

6. In it for the long __: HAUL.

7. Play opening: ACT I.

8. One blamed for losing a game: THE GOAT.  But GOAT also means Greatest OAll Time.


9. Unchangeable leopard markings, in Jeremiah: SPOTS.  The Biblical phrase can be found in Jeremiah 13:23.

10. IRS-conducted ordeals: AUDITS.

11. Small piano: SPINET.  Here are some sizes and names of keyboard instruments.


12. Irritably needing food: HANGRY.  Hangry is a portmanteau of Hungry and Angry.  There is a physiological reason for this condition.

14. Bing who teamed with Hope in "Road to ..." films: CROSBY.  Bing Crosby (né Harry Lillis Crosby, Jr.; May 3, 1903 ~ Oct. 14, 1977), Bob Hope (né May 29, 1903 ~ July 18, 2003), and Dorothy Lamour (née Mary Leta Dorothy Slaton; Dec. 10, 1914 ~ Sept. 22, 1996) made several "Road to ..." movies that were adventurous, comedic, romantic and musical.


20. Like much lore: ORAL.

21. Pre-release buzz: HYPE.  There was a lot of Hype before the release of the last Star Wars movie.

22. Enjoy an e-cig: VAPE.  This is becoming a crossword staple.

23. Very cool rapper?: ICE T.  Ice T (né Tracy Lauren Marrow; b. Feb. 16, 1958) is also an actor.  He portrayed Detective Odafin Tutuola on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.


27. Extremely muscular, in modern parlance: SWOLE.  I am not familiar with this word.  It is derived from the word "swollen", but also describes an extremely muscular physique.


28. Annoys: MIFFS.

31. Massage: RUB.

32. Owl's sound: HOO.

33. Mattress problem: SAG.


37. Smoothie additive also used to sprout "hair" on terracotta "pets": CHIA SEED.

38. Lots and lots: A TON.

39. "__ it obvious?": ISN'T.

41. Playing an extra NBA period: IN OT.  As in In Over Time.

42. Dictionary: LEXICON.  John McWhorter (b. Oct. 6, 1965) is a professor at Columbia University where he teaches English and linguistics.  He also hosts a podcast called Lexicon Valley, which provides fascinating lectures on language etymology.

43. Traffic circle: ROTARY.  These circular traffic intersections go by many names.  We called them roundabouts.  They are supposed to ease the flow of traffic, but sometime it can be difficult to exit if there are too many exit options.


44. "Su-u-ure": I BET!

45. Split with the band, maybe: GO SOLO.  Members of the Beatles began to go solo near the end of the band's run.

46. Novelist, e.g.: AUTHOR.

47. Alternative to a crowded elevator: STAIRS.  I worked on the 7th floor of a 7-story building.  I would usually take the stairs because it was good exercise.

52. Hobbit on a quest: FRODO.  A reference to Frodo Baggins.  I never understood the appeal to the Hobbits.

54. Optic __: NERVE.

56. Starburst?: NOVA.

57. Ma's ma: GRAM.  My maternal grandmother went by Nana.

58. Roberts' "Pretty Woman" co-star: GERE.  Pretty Woman is a 1990 romantic comedy about a "working girl", played by Julia Roberts (b. Oct. 28, 1967), and a wealthy businessman, played by Richard Gere (b. Aug. 31, 1949).


62. Newton fruit: FIG.  Fun Facts about the Fig Newton.


63. Sneaky: SLY.

Here's the Grid:

QOD:  It's fine to celebrate success, but it is more important to heed the lessons of failure.  ~  Bill Gates (b. Oct. 28, 1955)