I guess I was hoping for some kind of Earth Day theme, but instead, let's see... what was it? I guess it was two-word phrases ending in a three letter word starting with B and ending with T. Seems a little odd as a theme, but hey, it's Monday. At least the vowels go in order, that's nice.
There was some brief trouble at 9A: Born first as I put in oLDEST before realizing that oLATES wasn't quite right for 8D: Thrills. 15A: The "M" in S.M.U.: Abbr. was a missed opportunity for adding a little "edginess" to this puzzle. I guess I smiled a bit at the clue for ESP (33A: "I know what you're thinking" ability, in brief), and I thought KEENS (35A: Wails), was maybe a little Tuesday- or Wednesday-ish. AMAHL (41A: Menotti's "____ and the Night Visitors" takes me back! Huygens, if you think of it, ask the wife if she still remembers singing the lines "AMAHL!" "What do you want mother?" repeatedly for days and days after we saw those performances at Mechanics Hall.
LAN (49A: Computer grouping, for short), was just in on Saturday! But, oh, nevermind, the clue was different - (38D: Certain computer grouping, for short). And it's lucky I review these Monday puzzles for the write-up, otherwise I would have totally missed BOBA (19D: ____ Fett ("Star Wars" villain))! Nice one. I wonder how many boys aged 13-60 had trouble with that? I'm guessing the answer is none. The same is probably not true, however, for ENTEBBE (48D: Ugandan site of a 1976 Israeli rescue), which I knew (with a letter or two) from a Mountain Goats song called "Raid on Entebbe." Thanks, John Darnielle!
I'm conflicted about ETCETC (36D: Yadda yadda yadda). On the one hand, I think it's cheap, because the former is abbreviated and the latter isn't, but I also kind of like the look of it in the grid. Your thoughts?