Theme: "How do you define....?"
20-Across. PITCH : TONAL FREQUENCY. A nice perk from this answer is that it lends a "Q" to the grid.
25-Across. PITCH : COVERING ON A ROAD. I was going to object, that they usually use asphalt. But "pitch" is a generic term for certain bitumens, like asphalt.
44-Across. PITCH : AGGRESSIVE SPIEL. I hate robocallers that start with "Don't hang up! This is not a sales call!"
50-Across. PITCH : THROW TO A BATTER. Baseball, of course.
I glanced at the clues and saw that PITCH was repeated, so I immediately knew what I was in for. That didn't make it any easier, though! The mid-west area was quite tricky, and if I had been doing it on paper, I'm sure I would have worn a hole in the grid with all my erasures, or had one massive ink blot with all my write-overs. (Ahhh, the beauty of typing in answers on a keyboard!)
Did you notice? This puzzle is a pangram, using every letter of the alphabet at least once. For newcomers to the corner, you might like to read about this very interesting lady.
1. Bon Ami competitor : AJAX. J and X are the toughest letters to fit into a grid, but Bernice dispenses with both of them in the first word!
5. Start of a classic Christmas poem : TWAS. the night before Christmas...
9. Terra __ : COTTA.
14. "Star Wars" role : LUKE. Skywalker.
15. "Hell __ no fury ..." : HATH. The actual quote is from “The Mourning Bride” by William Congreve:
"Heaven has no rage like love to hatred turned, Nor hell a fury like a woman scorned."
16. Isolated : APART.
17. Frigg's husband : ODIN. Norse goddess.
18. First name in suburban humor : ERMA. Bombeck.
19. Group scuffle : MELEE.
23. Justice Fortas : ABE.
24. Spleen : IRE.
34. Some final exams : ORALS.
35. Immature salamanders : EFTS.
36. One who may signal to a bullpen: Abbr. : MGR. Manager.
37. Hall of Fame golfer Middlecoff who had a DDS degree : CARY. Could not remember his name for the longest time. Finally remembered it after filling in CA*Y. (^0^)
38. Oscar de la __ : RENTA.
40. Fictional estate near Atlanta : TARA.
41. Covert maritime org. : ONI. Office of Naval Intelligence. NCIS has its roots in the ONI.
42. Notable Cuban bandleader, familiarly : DESI. Desiderio Alberto Arnaz y de Acha, III, better know as DESI Arnaz.
43. Good __ : AS NEW.
48. Hail to Caesar : AVE.
49. "__ Mine": Beatles song : I ME. George Harrison's homage to Hindu spirituality, and criticism of the selfishness of Lennon and McCartney. It was their last new song before they split up. 2:22
58. Characteristic : TRAIT.
59. Cannes cleric : ABBE.
60. Destroy : RAZE. Z is another problematic letter when trying for a pangram...
61. Nemo's creator : VERNE. ...and V is often missing.
62. Pinochle combination : MELD.
63. Setting for "The Quiet Man" : EIRE. A great John Wayne / Maureen O'Hara film.
64. Swamp grass : SEDGE.
65. Peacock tail spots : EYES.
66. Anti-aircraft fire : FLAK.
1. Oodles : A LOT.
2. Self-defense method : JUDO.
3. Related : AKIN.
4. Small-screen princess : XENA: Warrior Princess. Played by Lucy Lawless and filmed in New Zealand.
5. Enforcement org. since 1908 : THE FBI.
6. Rabbit home : WARREN.
7. "Don't throw bouquets __": song lyric : AT ME. I can't resist a song from "Oklahoma!" 3:12
8. NBA nickname : SHAQ. Shaquille O'Neal. A quarrelsome teammate, he played his last season for the Boston Celtics before retiring in 2011.
9. Shooting equipment : CAMERAS.
10. Kitchen gadget : OPENER.
11. Powder in the nursery : TALC.
12. Low card : TREY. I just had this word last week.
13. Ended a fast : ATE.
21. Metallica drummer Ulrich : LARS.
22. Utah's __ Mountains : UINTA.
25. Drink after a day on the slopes : COCOA. I really would rather have a toddy, which also fit. (Just sayin'...)
26. Chimp cousin : ORANG.
27. First Brazilian airline : VARIG. This was a tough little section. Never mind that I had entered "toddy" at 25-Down, did not know this airline, and had a devilish time remembering golfer Middlecoff.
28. Cambridgeshire cathedral town : ELY.
29. Supernatural lamp occupants : GENII. Plural of genie, also spelled djinn, djinny or jinni. I just read "The Golem and the Jinni" by Helene Wecker. Hahtoolah recommended it, and I loved it!
30. Time and again, to a poet : OFT.
31. Spender of rials : OMANI.
32. Jibe : AGREE.
33. Feature of LBJ speeches : DRAWL. And a feature of DH's speech.
38. Fix again, as a hem : RESEW.
39. Count ending : ESS. Countess.
40. Chef's meas. : TSP. Teaspoon.
42. Zealot : DEVOTEE. "Fanatic" also fit...
43. Headed for an isle, maybe : ASEA. At least it wasn't clued as "confused."
45. Very eager : RARING. This word is fairly new, dating only to the 1920's. Oxford Dictionary says it's a dialect variant of "roaring."
46. Like a good alternative : VIABLE.
47. War zone correspondents : EMBEDS.
50. Family __ : TREE. Gaaack! I had "ties" at first. It made this crossword puzzle pretty...
51. Tough : HARD. But in the end, I fixed all my blunders and it turned out to be...
52. Not so tough : TAME.
53. Mind : OBEY.
54. Not kosher : TREF. Have you finally memorized this word?
55. Word with spin or wind : TAIL.
56. Biblical prophet : EZRA.
57. Stink : REEK.
58. Sony products : TVs.
And that's all, folks!