Words: 70 (missing Q,W,X)
Mr. Wilber's prolific solo Saturday work is starting to rival that of Mr. Silk~! We last had a visit from Brad in September. Lots of vagueness on the first pass, but the Downs gave me a lot of letters to work with, and I ended up smoking through the puzzle in about half time. Not an intimidating grid at all, yet a block count that is only one more than last week's. How deceiving - and just four 9-letter fills comprised the whole of the 'long' answers;
25a. Highly visible septet : BIG DIPPER - The Big Dipper consists of these seven stars, yet part of the larger constellation Ursa Major
45a. Gig at the brig : GUARD DUTY - I was thinking Jailhouse Rock
10d. Five-time A.L. home run champ : RODRIGUEZ - oh, him
31d. Baryshnikov move : GRAND JETÉ - Hello~! I couldn't link a male in the pose, it looked too painful; yet this past Wednesday I played hockey, and the other goalie asked how I could get so low - I must be almost as flexible....my buddy Bob sent me this pic from a few years ago
1. Jeweler's concerns : SETTINGS
9. Coke product : FRESCA - Coca-cola, that is
15. Passed : OVERTOOK - the kind of passing drivers of cars do; see 7d.
16. "Top Hat" dancer : ROGERS - Ginger - because ASTAIRE did not fit ( the only other dancer I know of that regularly appears in crosswords )
17. How Dickens' novels were first published : SERIALLY - I had S---IALLY, and I thought, SOCIALLY~? Naw, they didn't have Facebook back then....
19. Backwash creator : OAR - I went with "EBB", but it fit better at 48a.
20. Montreal Canadiens' all-time leading point scorer : LaFLEUR - Guy; I went with Maurice "Rocket" RICHARD first; he scored 50 goals in 50 games in the '44-45 season, but LaFleur scored 50 goals a season for 6 straight seasons decades later
22. Toon shopkeeper : APU - The Simpsons
23. Signals one's presence, in a way : RAPS
27. Year in Clement VIII's papacy : MDCI - well, just had to wait on perps, but after the "M" and "I" appeared, I tried the other Roman numerals ( C, D, X, V ) that would work with the "down" answer
28. Piquancy : TANG
29. Silly sorts : GEESE - "Silly Goose~!"
30. Jump back into the fray : RE-ENGAGE
32. Clingy husk : BUR - seems short a letter....
33. Paper fatteners : INSERTS - ah, Newspaper; I did not get this until I came to do the write-up; our Sunday paper is about to gain some weight with the holiday season upon us
34. Flips : GOES APE
38. Hot air ballooning watchdog: Abbr. : FAA - we have a drone problem developing over here; they're interfering with JFK airspace
39. Almond confection : MARZIPAN
40. About 1% of the Earth's atmosphere : ARGON - I did not go with RADON; just linked this two weeks ago
43. Engine once known as Live Search : BING - WAG
44. Abbey section : APSE - APSE~? NAVE~? wait on perps
47. Your alternative, at times : ONE'S - seen often in crossword clues
48. Taper off : EBB - ah - that's where it goes....
49. 1974 top ten hit for Carole King : JAZZ MAN - Link away~!
51. Kenyan export : TEA - had the "A", WAGed the "T-E-"
53. Green Giant morsel : NIBLET - toyed with CARROT first
55. Dietary practice : VEGANISM - it may be a practice, but I'm not in the game; I had this for dinner here at A Lure last night
58. Sea along the Balkan peninsula : ADRIATIC - with the first "A", and "C" in place, this dawned on me
59. Letter closing : AS EVER
60. Buoys up : HEARTENS
1. Underwhelming : SO-SO
2. She played Principal McGee in "Grease" : EVE ARDEN
3. View providers : TERRACES
4. Prefix with athlete : TRI - TRIathlete
5. Right-leaning type?: Abbr. : ITALicS - see above
6. Bourbon Street city, informally : NOLA - New Orleans, LousianA
7. Drivers can be seen in them : GOLF BAGS - nailed it; did not confuse the 'club' with the 'car controller'
8. Broad view : SKYLINE
9. Mountebank : FRAUD - filled via perps; did not have any clue (except to consider the Alp, Mont Blanc ); a swindler
11. A BMOC may have a big one : EGO - speaking of EGOs, see above
12. Colorful cover-up : SERAPE - total WAG, total win~!
13. Brunch order : CREPES - anyone try OMELET~?
14. Guarantee : ASSURE
21. Whisking target : EGG - and, uh, see above
24. Miss badly : PINE FOR - I went with LONG at first; I am holding out hope for my blue-eyed girl still
26. Blofeld's cat, in Bond films : PERSIAN - I think Mr. Bigglesworth was a great way to satire the whole thing
27. Picture of health? : MRI - we've seen this before; the "?" denotes the slight mis-direction
28. "I'm off!" : "TA-TA~!"
34. Largest moon of Jupiter : GANYMEDE - I love watching shows on the probes we've sent out to explore the solar system; this one took 6 years to get there, but had some great moments
35. Fondness : APPETITE - for Destruction? Great album cover, which was, of course, banned
36. Submits, as an exam paper : PASSES IN - HANDS IN was not enough; but then again, I remember we used to "pass in" exams by handing them to the person at the desk in front of us
37. Topeka-to-Peoria dir. : ENE - I threw in NNE
39. Bar __ : MITZVAH - this should have come easier than it did
40. Handout from a chair : AGENDA - I knew what direction this was pointing, but I spent Tuesday helping my buddy Adam move, and he has a 13 month-old son, so there was this image of baby food flying....
41. 40th anniversary symbols : RUBIES - an educated WAG after the "R" showed; I knew it was not Diamond, but a little further on than, say, "wood"; here's the list
42. Unintelligible talk : GABBLE - I had GARBLE in place; EBB fixed that
43. Sawyer of old comics : BUZ - the other "missing a letter" answer
46. "Antiques Roadshow" expert : DATER - carbon dater? Now that's an antique~!
47. Booth warning sign : ON AIR
50. Onetime capital of the Mughal Empire : AGRA - seems sensible, now that I look at it
52. Pacers and Ramblers : AMCs - nailed it - but then again, I owned a Concord Sportabout
54. Bk. of the Torah : LEV
56. Baseball's Ryan Zimmerman or Jordan Zimmermann, briefly : NAT - I defer to our baseball-starved but fearless leader, C.C. on these answers (From C.C.: Here is a good old article about them. The former is a little (2 millions?) behind Derek Jeter in this 2013 list.
There's always room for dessert~!