It's really a perfect day for GAZPACHO, given the heat index, and that answer along with POPASHOT made me feel in a Summer mood to start the solve. I haven't played Battleship in yonks, but I enjoy a good game of cribbage, which also uses a PEG or two. Horace, we need to renew our rivalry. It's been too long since we've been able to be face to face.
And speaking of faces, I liked the pair of clues at 33D: Spot on a face (PIP, referring to face cards) and 9A: Bad spot for a date (PIMPLE). That's some nice playing around with expectations. My other favorite clue was 43A: Sta4nce, for instance (REBUS). The four is in stance, thus, "for instance." Although perhaps it should have been "Sta4nce, for for instance."
|The British REGALIA|
There are some great long answers in the grid, such as BLACKSABBATH (not my favorite kind of music, but it's a good entry) and 38A: Climactic court moment (MATCHPOINT) - Cece got that off of the MA____. That last one has its own minitheme with 34D: Cause for a replay (LET).
Wait, I just remembered another good clue! It's at 10D: It won't react well (INERTGAS). Indeed it won't. Very nice.
Why is this puzzle not quite as lovely as yesterday's? It's a personal taste sort of thing, I guess. SACBEE is an odd thing to find on a Saturday, and perhaps not even necessary with a little work in that corner. INARUG is a peculiar partial. These are small things, but when you're operating on a high level, the bar is raised. Or perhaps your hoist by your own PETARD.