Theme is blah, but the fill is decent. I especially like EYE-POPPING (28D: Amazing to behold). Wish grid were moreso. One big complaint: "LOOK WHO THE / WIND BLEW IN" feels much weaker (i.e. less in-the-language) than the other two answers. LOOK WHO THE CAT DRAGGED IN out-googles the WIND answer by a nearly 8-to-1 margin. I guess you wouldn't say LOOK WHO THE CAT DRAGGED IN to an old friend. Well, I would, but *you* probably wouldn't.
Spent Saturday at Loyola-Marymount University as a judge/scorer for the "Crosswords L.A." charity tournament. I'll do a full write-up of the experience at some point later in the week — it's Sunday as I write this, and I'm about to leave to go experience DUDAMANIA! — i.e. see the L.A. Philharmonic in action, woo hoo! My best friend from college is a season ticket holder, god love him. I will say this about the "Crosswords L.A." tournament now, though: great fun. Warm, interesting people who are not afraid to geek out about puzzles in public. Elissa Grossman is the hardest-working woman in the crossword tournament organizing business. She is very pregnant, and was still running the show (including dealing with a number of unforeseeable glitches) like a champ.
- 17a. With 59-Across, warm welcome for an old friend ("LOOK WHO THE / WIND BLEW IN")
- 27a. Warm welcome for an old friend ("HELLO STRANGER")
- 43a. Warm welcome for an old friend ("LONG TIME, NO SEE")
Crosswordese 101: KIR (32D: White wine apéritif) — Kir is a popular French cocktail made with a measure of crème de cassis (blackcurrant liqueur) topped up with white wine (acc. to wikipedia). I'd never heard of it until I started doing crosswords seriously. I knew a Lady Miss Kier, lead singer for the band Deee-Lite, because their song, "Groove is in the Heart," was the most ginormous hit of my late college career. I have never seen KIER in a puzzle.
- 42a. Flower associated with Holland (TULIP) — had the -LIP part and completely reflexively wrote in OXLIP — an instinct only a constant solver would make.
- 55d. Boo-boo, in totspeak (OWIE) — the "word" "totspeak" must die. I don't believe it is a word. Plus, furthermore, additionally. BOO-BOO in "totspeak" is BOO-BOO. It's *already* "totspeak." Yeesh.
- 44d. Reject (NAY-SAY) — so NAY-SAY is a transitive verb? Well that's a new one to me.
See you Friday,
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