This played a bit harder than a typical Monday, perhaps because of things like PARI (10D: ____ - mutuel betting), EPOS (46A: Long narrative poem) (had EPic for a while), RIMIER (9D: Covered with more frost) and a few others. There was also a smattering of odd proper nouns (NIA, ARNE, BEDE, MIKA, APIA, ZOE, OMANI, OMAR), and crosswordsy stuff (INKER, AMA, AROO (yuck)), but it was all in the service of paying tribute to the great MLKJR (38A: Annual Jan. honoree), so what is a reviewer to do?
The fifteens running through really are quite nice, and the symmetrical CIVILRIGHTS (30A: Cause associated with 38-Across) and IHAVEADREAM (49A: Repeated phrase in 38-Across's speech at the 17-Across) are perfect. Even the symmetrical downs of UPINTHEAIR (11D: Still undecided) and TAKEASTAND (29D: Get off the fence?) seem to be thematic today, as the fight for equality remains ongoing, and still needs the participation of every last one of us. So DEUCE (45D: Score before ad in or ad out) take the small stuff, I support this puzzle.
We have never yet included an embedded video in this blog, but today we do. Watch it again for the first time, and remember that we're all just humans, trying to live our lives, trying to get along, and trying to be happy.