I apologize for an abbreviated write up but I was supposed to have surgery last Friday and then it got moved to Wednesday and then after waiting around the hospital it got cancelled again and I was quite bummed. Anyway, Ed Sessa a consistent pro has created a puzzle that seems to have only three theme fill, all grid-spanners and all related to elephants. I have always loved them since my mother read Babar to me and have about 75 images made from paper to jade. Anyway, this is a puzzle filled with really fun cluing and if there is more to the theme, I am sorry but I do not have time. However, I will point out the some excellent fill like BACK LINK, DON ADAMS, FENDS OFF, NAME DROP, SEXTANTS, TAP DANCE, IGNORAMUSES and OVEREXCITED; also a mini-theme of French words and the grid-spanners-
17A. Ring heavyweights : CIRCUS ELEPHANTS (15).
33A. Makes next to nothing : WORKS FOR PEANUTS (15).
49A. Jack's spot : AUTOMOBILE TRUNK (15).
1. Innocents : LAMBS. A biblical metaphor.
6. Afternoon tea accompanier : CHAT. Not the French word for cat, but small talk.
10. Longtime shipboard scurvy preventative : LIME. Because lemon would not fit.
14. Piles (of) : A HEAP. Can you sing the song that includes this line, "To have a heapin helpin of their hospitality..."?
15. "Yo" : HI YA.
16. Matched, in Paris Match : EGAL. French for equality, as in liberté égalité fraternité, the motto of the French Revolution.
20. Big cheese : KRAFT. Cute clue/fill and a fascinating history of food in AMERICA.
21. NYC building that was Lennon's last home, with "The" : DAKOTA. Not far from Strawberry Fields at New York's Central Park. A nice walk to the Museum of Natural History.
22. Literary intros : PROLOGS.
25. "Real Time" host : MAHER. A run of the mill comic who reemerged as a political satirist from the left.
26. Western ambush site : RAVINE. I grew up on Gilman Street which connected to Ravine Street.
27. '80s voice of Inspector Gadget : DON ADAMS. Don is more famous as Maxwell Smart.
31. Protest movement : MARCH.
32. Angus beef? : MOO. What a cow says when complaining - brilliant.
37. San Jose-to-Sacramento dir. : NNE.
38. Uncultivated land : HEATH. made famous by the Bronte sisters.
39. Regarding : AS TO.
40. Navigation tools : SEXTANTS. How do they figure these things out. LINK.
42. Grapefruit's bigger cousin : POMELO. You need to learn citrus TAXONOMY or remember the French word Pamplemousse.
44. Common bugs : COLDS. Another fun Friday misdirection.
45. Baroness Blixen's pen name : DINESEN. Isak Dinesen was the pen name for Baroness Karen Christenze von Blixen-Finecke most famous for Out of Africa and appearing in crossword puzzles.
46. Women's clothing chain founded on Florida's Sanibel Island : CHICOS. They have three BRANDS.
48. Like Olympic racetracks : LANED.
54. Appear : SEEM.
55. Unnerve : FAZE.
56. Was successful in : WON AT.
57. "Nothing lived in him but fear and hatred" : HYDE. The dark side of Dr. Jekyll from the mind of Robert Louis Stevenson. He also wrote Treasure Island.
58. Become undone, in a way : FRAY. Cuffs on dress shirts e.g.
59. Gets down to business? : OPENS.
1. Senegal's pink-watered __ Rose : LAC. from the French for Pink Lake. LINK.
2. Sushi selection : AHI.
3. Cannes view : MER. The sea in French.
4. Website-to-website connection : BACK LINK. No idea but it fits.
5. Embolden : SPUR ON.
6. Ones doing the dishes : CHEFS. Not washing them, but creating them. Again, bravo!
7. Sword handle : HILT.
8. Maritime agreement : AYE aye cap'n.
9. Cagney does it on stairs in "Yankee Doodle Dandy" : TAP DANCE.
10. Came out somehow : LEAKED. Politics.
11. Dolts : IGNORAMUSES. I asked and the world answered.
12. Damon of the Bourne films : MATT.
13. Big cat of film : ELSA. Born Free.
18. Wise one : SAGE.
19. "Very funny!" : HA HA HA. The Thai word for the number 5 sounds like HA, so 555.
22. Seafood order : PRAWNS. I do not know but read prawns have claws on three of their five pairs of legs, shrimp have claws on two of their five pairs of legs. Their gills and body shape are different too. As far as cooking them goes, they are virtually identical and interchangeable. Various sources. (Edited later: the source is JoleneAlaska on StackExchange).
23. Punk rock surname : RAMONE.
24. Hyped-up : OVEREXCITED. Give them Ritalin.
25. Transform : MORPH. Power Rangers?
27. Pub entertainment : DARTS.
28. Mark with blotches : MOTTLE. Mottled skin, also known as livedo reticularis, is alone a harmless condition that is commonly seen with vascular issues and autoimmune diseases. Various sources.
29. "Already?" : SO SOON.
31. Medieval barriers : MOATS.
34. Hebrew greeting : SHALOM. Shabbat shalom.
35. Drives back : FENDS OFF.
36. Make a personal connection? : NAME DROP. Great. How many name droppers do you know? Not counting me.
41. On the way : TO COME.
42. Softwood tree : PINE.
43. Knockout couple? : ONE TWO. Give 'em the old one two.
45. Prominent mayor at the 1968 Democratic Convention : DALEY. The year of the riots, vote with your feet etc.
46. What's in your wallet : CASH. Not always.
47. News headliner Lewis? : HUEY. His band. Their WEB-SITE.
48. "__ With a 'Z'": 1972 TV special : LIZA. I liked her in Cabaret, not much else.
50. Military band? : BAR. On the shoulder.
51. A, in Avignon : UNE. Just French.
52. Photographer Goldin : NAN. I should have remembered this WOMAN.
53. Board jumpers: Abbr. : KTS. We end with an abbreviation I am unfamiliar with; the Knights in a Chess match.
I have just enough time to give a filled grid and wish you all a pleasant Bastille Day, which fits right in with all the French in this puzzle. Thank you Mr. Sessa. Lemonade out.