Does it feel like 2016 was a tough year? I know it certainly was for some. And tonight, one day after Carrie Fisher died, her mother Debbie Reynolds passed away as well. It will be nice to turn the calendar over in a few days.
In the meantime, as trivial as it may seem, it's nice to have something like the New York Times crossword to turn to, to take our minds off of our troubles for a short period. And what better way to do it than to remember THECARPENTERS?
This is a cute theme, with four relatively well known individuals whose names remind us of carpentry. In two cases, it's the last name (Wood and Hammer), and in two cases it's the first name (Studs and Brad). It would have been nice to find names in both genders, and I know some might have not heard of Stevens, especially outside of New England. And also Mike Hammer isn't a real person and the other three are. But these are small nits to pick.
The rest of the puzzle is well made. 1A: Some pears (BOSCS) gets a B-, losing points for being a plural, but gaining points for being tasty. My first confident answer was LITUP.
I enjoyed HOWRU and YACHTSMAN. I wish WHAMMO had been clued using the frisbee brand. I expect ET59 enjoyed 49D, despite their poor performance this season.
33A: "Your point being...?" (SOO) ... is ... well, I'm not sure. What do people think? I get it, but is it real? I suppose Philippa Soo (original portrayer of Eliza Hamilton in the musical) is not well enough known to merit a clue that way.
Looking forward to the turn!