Hear me now and believe this later, I found that the top half of the puzzle went much more slowly than the bottom half. Although all of the phrases are perfectly cromulent, none of them came to me off the clue, which put the burden on the Down answers for this solver. I'm not familiar with cartoonist William STEIG, the ABEL prize, or Carson Daly's hosting efforts (THEVOICE). Those lacunae, combined with some other northerly Downs that didn't leap to mind made my start slower than molasses running uphill in January, as my mother used to say. Once I got to the midsection, with RIP, BIGSALE, and BOW, however, I was on a roll. Truth.
I love the words HORDE, GNASH, and AGOG. On the other hand, words and/or things on which I would have VOTEDNO, given the chance, are SCAB, PRAT, and TVADS, but as they say, there's no accounting for taste.