Ahhh, another joint solve after coming home from a bar. Since englishteacher59 likes to comment with alarming frequency about his exact location while doing the puzzle, I will add that Frannie and I solved this one while lying in bed. TMI? Well, I figured I've got to do something to try to get the numbers up. To increase the traffic on this blog, I mean. Of course.
Anyhoo, I liked this puzzle just fine. I don't remember seeing Mr. Choset's name before, and this puzzle actually did feel somewhat fresh. The clue for DLI (11A: 551, once), for example. We've seen Roman numerals many, many times, but this simple change of wording was enough to make us smile and comment on it. I also enjoyed DOOHICKEY (11D: Thingamajig) and THRACIANS (32D: Allies of the Trojans in the "Illiad.") It's not "The Illiad?" Hmm... I've got to look that up. Why not just say "in 'Illiad'" if it's not? I started thinking about the addition of "the" back when I realized that the name of the band "Talking Heads" was not "The Talking Heads," which, come to think of it, was probably about the time that the live album titled "The Name of this Band is Talking Heads" came out. Go figure.
I like that we have another cooking word to learn today (because I, unlike Frances and Huygens, actually enjoy cooking) in SHIRR (34D: Bake, as eggs). Coincidentally, Frannie got PEANUTOIL (33D: What pad Thai is often cooked in) immediately, not because she has ever made pad Thai, but because she eats it about once per week. Mmmmm.... spicy tofu pad Thai.....
For all the good stuff, there was at least as much crosswordsy stuff (ARCO, REA, ARR, BEHAR, VSO, ENTR, SIB, ASTI...), but I enjoyed the theme, and I loved the movie IHEARTHUCKABEES (38A: 2004 film featuring Dustin Hoffman), so I'll let it go.
Lastly, such is the lopsided "right brain" nature of my brain that I asked Frannie repeatedly what "Line Art Thinking" was. Luckily, she's more left-brained, and she's also kind, so she didn't mock me too much.
p.s. I looked at the Wordplay blog to see about whether or not this was a debut puzzle, and, well, it's not. This is Mr. Choset's 25th puzzle in the NYT, but it's the first of his that we've seen, so, he's still new to us. He talks a bit about this puzzle on the WP blog, if you're interested in that kind of thing.