A Friday frolic with our musical bug man, photog, where a T is is added as the first letter of the second word of a common phrase, resulting in an amusingly clued dessert. With only three themers and a reveal there is plenty of room for creativity in the grid. First, I like the visual of this puzzle, JL's photographer's eye I am sure helped. (A hint is hidden in the grid: look closely at the middle). Instead of the regular look, we have mirror symmetry. We also have standard Friday low word count with longer average word length. The longer fill is loaded with sparkle: ANY TIME, BIDS FOR, BREWSKI, DETENTE, ETERNAL, FLAT FEE, INCUBUS, MUD PIES, NOT IN IT, YES DEAR, APIARIST, BOB FOSSE, EVIL TWIN, RETRACTS with much of it word strings which are a challenge to suss. Any puzzle that ranges from ROO and MUD PIES to INCUBUS is a joy to me. Let us follow John's lead.
17A. Self-preparing dessert? : AUTOMATIC TRIFLE (15). A nice change from a weapon of destruction to an English yummy. RECIPE.
27A. Dry, powdery dessert? : DUST TRUFFLE (11). We just bought a new comforter with matching dust ruffle, but I should have gotten a chocolate treat. RECIPE.
34D. Surreal dessert? : DADA TART (8). We all should know this MOVEMENT from Jean Arp and others. The simple tart comes in many forms. RECIPE.
36D. Like the desserts in this puzzle, literally? : DONE TO A T (8). A Friday reveal.
1. Like some timers? : OLD. 20 mule team borax anyone?
4. Kids' rainy day projects : MUD PIES. The only time little boys are encouraged to 'cook.'
11. Watch kids : SIT. We get to baby sit Charlotte.
14. Piglet bud : ROO. From the world of Winnie.
15. Boring, facetiously : ETERNAL. This definition required perp inspiration, but it makes sense.
16. Kyrgyzstan city : OSH. B'gosh, I get this right away finally.
20. Supple : LITHE.
21. Red meat source : EMU. Too late for Memorial Day, but you can order these for the Fourth. LINK.
22. Red giant : S-STAR. This has been appearing regularly.
23. 37-Down's concerns : BEES. A tricky cross-reference but it is Friday. 37D. See 23-Across : APIARIST. A five dollar word for bee keeper. Where are Ulee and Sherlock? John any great Bee pictures? How about an original...
24. Year during Augustus' reign : ONE BC. For all the southern readers, "How many headache powders do you need to take?"
26. Val-d'__: French department : OISE. Oise is a river you need to know because of the great use of vowels. For Splynter, you can practice your FRENCH.
30. Human __ : RACE. I thought "kind" first.
31. Big bunch : SCAD. Not used to the term in the singular.
32. Moisten, as garden cobwebs : BEDEW. A nice Shakespearean word.
35. Shingle wood : CEDAR.
39. Biological duct travelers : OVA. Eggs.
40. Wagering letters : OTB. Off track betting. I believe this has been replaced with online choices like TVG etc.
43. You'd be amazed to stand in it : AWE. Really nicely crafted clue/fill for such a simple answer.
45. Unlock, to Byron : OPEn. Read some POETRY?
46. Tries to obtain : BIDS FOR. This works two ways, both literally and figuratively.
48. Dead last, say : NOT IN IT. Tough letter string, but accurate.
50. Hourly-rate alternative : FLAT FEE. A very large part of law practice, one of the three types of fee arrangements: hourly, contingency, and flat fee.
51. Marital concession : YES DEAR. My favorite fill of the entire puzzle; so well put.
52. Anne Frank's father : OTTO. I did not remember this
53. Belts : SWATS.
55. __ vez: Juan's "again" : OTRA.
56. Grassy surface : SWARD. This appears to be the LAT debut of this Friday word. It along with STORER almost did me in.
58. Bio, e.g. : SCIence.
59. Indifferent : STOIC.
60. Yes-Bob link : SIREE.
61. One of the Kardashians : KIM. If you want a link, go for it.
62. Sandwich request : TOAST.
63. Blog input : ENTRY. A CSO to us all.
64. Compound suffix : IDE. This old bromide...
65. Annie of "Designing Women" : POTTS. I enjoyed the series but I like Annie better in this ROLE (0:29).
1. Colgate rival : ORAL B. I started with Crest.
2. Mascot of the NHL's Blues : LOUIE.
3. Like pointillist works : DOTTED. My father studied and practiced this type of painting
4. Cultural idea that may go viral : MEME. If you paid attention yesterday....
5. Acting legend Hagen : UTA.
6. Political thaw : DETENTE. Not in fashion any more. Now the Olympic arrests are a US scheme to take the World Cup from Russia, according to Vladimir Putin.
7. First coat : PRIMER.
8. Nocturnal demonic visitor : INCUBUS. My first thought was SUCCUBUS but it did not fit.
9. Corrode : EAT. The rust ate away my outdoor furniture.
10. Some pic takers : SLRS. Single Lens Reflexes.
11. Pushover : SOFTIE.
12. Lands in el mar : ISLAS. Spanish.
13. Pointing remark : THERE. Cute clue. An excuse for this CLIP. (0:26)
18. "And I'm Cleopatra" : OH SURE. I thought it was Queen of Sheba.
19. Wagnerian soprano : ISOLDE. Inspector Morse loved his Opera. They just announced a 9th season of Lewis in addition to the 3rd for Endeavor.
24. Needing no Rx : OTC. Over The Counter.
25. Ozone-threatening compound : CFC. Chlorofluorocarbon. Better known as FREON.
28. Prune : SAW OFF. A branch on a tree, not a dried plum.
29. Aspects : FACETS.
32. Choreographer with nine Tonys : BOB FOSSE. We like to see full names in puzzles. hard to believe he has been dead almost 30 years.
33. Facetious scapegoat : EVIL TWIN. Also a TV favorite PLOT.
38. Pulls back : RETRACTS.
41. Digits displayed on beaches : TOES. Sing-a-long.
42. Suds : BREWSKI.
43. "Whenever" : ANYTIME.
44. Travails : WOES.
47. Acorn woodpecker, e.g. : STORER. JL like birds and bugs, but this clue bugs me.
49. "Ditto" : I DO TOO. Fun letter string.
54. Lithographer's material : ACID. This answer should be etched in your mind.
57. "L.A. Law" actress : DEY. A partridge that grew up. Interestingly, she was replaced by Annie Potts in the TV Series Love and War. I liked her in LINK.
59. Indy initials : STP. Scientifically Treated Petroleum. Andy Granatelli.
Well another fun effort from a dear friend to the Corner. See you in June. Lemonade out.