WE HOLD THESE TRUTHS TO BE SELF-EVIDENT
(The circled letters, when read clockwise, will reveal a quote from Gertrude Stein.)
After seeing those two announcements, I entered AROSEIS immediately into the circled letters. It was the first thing I put in the grid. Other things that went in with just a cross or two and without a second thought were IYAMWHATIYAM (38A: Declaration from Popeye), ITAINTOVERTILITSOVER (72A: Famous Yogiism), and HATERSGONNAHATE (57A: Words dismissive of detractors), all of which felt too easy, and none of which were especially fun or welcome. I mean... I like Popeye references, and I like Gertrude Stein, but when there are so many of these ITISWHATITIS (105A: Expression of resignation) all together, they just seem stupider and stupider and, well, HATERSGONNAHATE. I didn't enjoy it.
In addition to my negative reaction to the theme, I also found a few of the clues to be a little off. 12A: Lives (ABIDES), 29A: Workman's aid (VAN) (yeah, I get it, but really?), 181A: Record stat (RPM) ("stat?" really?), and the lame "Follower of lop" clues. Hated it. ADDER, LILTER, EEW, EER, RETROD, REHEAR... ugh.
I did, however, enjoy the pairing of 28A: Mercury, but not Earth (GOD), and 7D: Mercury or Earth (ORB) (even though "ORB" is a little lame by itself), and 104A: Top choice (BLOUSE) was good.
I didn't love it. Now it's time for the World Cup Final. See you tomorrow.