A relatively simple-seeming, but sometimes hard to guess, Sunday theme today of six ways to define
“21,” with bonus material at 1A: New Hampshire’s is 21 kilometers long COAST) (Nice find, that), 41A: Famous writer who entered West Point at 21 (POE) (That didn’t go well), 97A: 21st-century
currency (EURO), 94D: “21 Grams” actress DuVall (CLEA), 102D: Scandium’s is 21: Abbr. (ATNO), and possibly 50D: State whose capital is 21-Down: Abbr. (NSW). Whew! Nice work with all that extra stuff! Of the six 21-letter answers, I think my favorite is SPOTSONALLSIDESOFADIE, because it was the least expected.
NUMBERONEALBUMBYADELE isn’t bad either, because, well, she’s great.
The grid itself has an interesting look. It appears to be fully symmetrical, which we don't see all that often. Other things I don't see all that often are the names SLIWA (69D: Guardian Angel Curtis ____), CHITA (13A: Actress Rivera), LONNOL (91D: Bygone Cambodian leader with a palindromic name), and EXON (33A: Former Nebraska senator James). There seemed to be a few other stress points that were smoothed out by foreign words or partials - ELRIO, USTED, TERNI, MOT, TGI, SSTS, SNCC, ITA, OCC, OESTE, ETD, PCT... and more. Perhaps it was ONETOOMANY. TRISTE, but true.
Even with all that, I didn't mind it. The grid is pleasing, and I kind of liked the simplicity of the theme.
It's been a fun week, but I'll let Frannie take it from here. Over and out.
Horace said this morning, "who's next on the review schedule?" and I said, ISITI? Apparently, it is. So, here's I am, taking up the reviewer's MANTLE this fine Sunday afternoon. I think Horace ALLTOLD concerning the theme, so I'm going to focus on the fill.
One of my favorites today was 10D. End of an illness? (ITIS). Ha! While it does fall into the oft-lamentable category of partials, I still liked it because it's amusing. I thought the clue for 9D. (Bit of scolding) improved the old standby TSK as well. I liked both clue and answer for 5D. Hellion (TERROR). FACSIMILES and MALEFICENT are both good grid fillers, or gridlers. 40A One might be cast in a Harry Potter film (SPELL) was also nice.
I FWOE'd in the northeast thanks to a lengthy struggle with actress CHITA Rivera. I wanted her name to be CHIrA, which lead me to put rELayED in at 16D.Sent an important message, once (TELEXED). My apologies to Mr. James EXON for never having heard of him. I hope the almost 2 million Nebraskans who dropped that answer right in will boost his spirits. That whole area also suffered from my mistake at 20D (Monopoly pieces) where I entered tOkEnS instead of HOTELS. It was a classic CASEOF overconfidence, which caused me another little spot of trouble over in the mid west. For "Brand of wafers" I dropped in Nilla, which, in retrospect is not so much a brand of wafer as a type, but the correct N (for NECCO) made me reluctant to JETSON my error.
Let me give Horace a SHOUT out for a great week of reviews. I know I had ABLAST. I hope he did, too.