I started this post the same afternoon I finished Andy’s puzzle, something almost unheard of for me! Then, true to form, I ended up writing nothing, leaving the draft open in a tab for a week, closing it, getting shamed by AVCX for never posting anymore, opening it, and that brings us up to now.
This puzzle was practically medicinal at the time of solving. We had just driven back from ACPT and my brain was hurting. Hell, my body was hurting from hunching over 6 puzzles in one day; I felt like I’d just gotten off an 8-hour flight. I came home to kitchen renovations, walking in just as they started sawing through ceramic tile. We slunk back to Brayden’s apartment which was empty because he was in the process of moving in with me. There were a couple uncomfortable chairs left and some tequila and… the printer. So we printed Andy’s themeless and settled in for what I experienced as a soothing solve.
Nothing too difficult– clues are clever but not fiendish, and the long fill is easy on the eyes with ZODIAC KILLER and RAZORS EDGE slicing through the West and East. I love the clue on OVERHEAR (31A) [Catch from a long distance?]– so nice. Same with [Light a fire under] for INSPIRE (5D). I appreciated the “wake up!” from the little zinger [End] for AIM (54).
I’m not a big fan of forced crossreferences (sometimes whining “but I don’t WANT to ‘see 35-Across'” but I do like the kind we see here between NAIVE (53A) [Like one who believes in flying pigs] and NEVER (55A) [“When pigs fly!”]– you are free to make the connection or to not.
I was not a fan of ADMUNDSEN (21D) [Explorer who disappeared near the Barents Sea in 1928 and was never found] as long fill, despite the clue’s trivia tidbit trying to make the guy compelling, but was able to fill it in with confidence based on crosses. If I remember correctly, ANTIPATHY (20A) [Bad blood] was one of the last things I got, so that saved me from eDMUNDSEN which sounds much more… explorery… to me.
Oh yeah, and I liked the MAGI clue [Christmas party?]. Like ELOPE, MAGI seems to have a lot of good clue options. Somewhere in a sad unfinished themeless of mine I recall ending up with [Important baby shower attendees?]– will the fun never cease?
Thanks for this puzzle, Andy– it brightened up a crappy old day. It was also a pleasure to see you at the ACPT and I can’t wait for the Indie 500!