It's an unexpected "meta" type of theme today. There are ELEVEN 11-letter answers in the grid, commemorating VETERANSDAY, as in 11/11. And thus came to an end one of the most pointless conflicts in human history. But let's not think about that. Let's acknowledge the very nice construction of today's puzzle, and have an unofficial ranking of all 11 answers, as follows:
1. PUSSYGALORE. Obviously.
2. VETERANSDAY. Would have won in most lists, if number 1 hadn't been present.
3. HORRORFLICK. I tried ____movie, then ____story. "Flick" is so much better.
4. GUADALCANAL. So many lovely vowels to fit in the grid.
5. PESTCONTROL. For the clue: 39A: Debugging? So simple.
6. MARENOSTRUM. Latin is always welcome.
7. ROBERTSTACK. A complete name, and he has such a great role in Airplane!
11. ACCOUNTSFOR. Too generic.
That's 10 out of 11 that I would say are pretty strong to very strong answers. Nice work!
In other news, I entered the puzzle confidently at 1D: "Yentl" setting (SHTETL), and enjoyed the Agatha Christie complaint about her own creation (POIROT). I am interested in seeing Kenneth Branagh with that ridiculous mustache on screen soon.
33A: Text alert? (NOTABENE) will surely appeal to certain readers of this blog. QUEENBEY is a winner, and I also liked INAPANIC.
There were a ton of 3-letter answers, necessary, I'm sure, to get all those 11-letter answers into the grid. 32A: Old union member: Abbr. (SSR) is an example of how to gussy up a somewhat tired old piece of crosswordese. I'm not so fond of DPI, URI, RMN, RIN. 45A: It doesn't come full circle (ARC) is really quite nice.
1A: Array in ancient battles (SPEARS) - B+.
Least fave: AWS (41A: Comments like "Yer joshin'!"). Huh? Is this actually any kind of real life term? Or was it just made up on the spot? I'm lost.