This one started out hard, but as I went along, I learned new things. There’s nothing like learning by doing, even if that doing is the crossword and learning is inferring from the clues what must be reality.
I learned that moonquakes exist.
I learned that HEATH means an area of open uncultivated land, typically on acid sandy soil, with characteristic vegetation of heather, gorse, and coarse grasses.
I pulled out 46D What two X’s make: SCORE because I thought this was pretty good. So X in Roman numerals is 10. Two X’s is 20. A score is 20. So two X’s is a score. If you can’t remember that a score is 20, just think about the Gettysburg Address. “Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.” which is a now-fancy way of saying: “Let me set the scene for this speech: It’s 1863 right now, and 1776 was 87 (4×20+7) years ago. Remember 1776? No? That’s when those guys signed the Declaration of Independence and made us a country and wrote: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.’ Caught up now? Great! I’ve got like a couple more sentences, so don’t go anywhere just yet.”
I don’t think there was a theme to this puzzle. I can’t miss pointing out 56A Crack jokes, perhaps?: POTTYHUMOR. Because butt crack. Classic.
Finished this one in 41:05.
Have a great weekend, everyone!