After a brief scare last night when the NYT Crossword app sent us the diagramless puzzle by mistake (and not correctly formatted, at that!), the proper puzzle arrived this morning, and we're sure glad it did!
This was a fun Sunday puzzle. The "THeme" answers were mostly hilarious, although, as Frannie said, "No one should ever have thought of" the phrase ASCYTHEFORSOREEYES (95A: Unpopular ophthamologist's implement?).
Remember Jennifer CAPRIATI (94A: 1992 Olympic tennis gold medalist)? Yeah, neither did we, until we got the C and a couple other letters. What ever happened to her?
The cluing in this one was quite good. It starts off strong with 1A: Coating on some facial tissues (ALOEVERA), which could mean that the stuff is on your actual skin (because you applied lotion) or on an actual paper tissue, 'cause they do that sort of thing now, don't they? And 1D: Elementary school group? (ABCS) is also solid. 90A: Form letters (WRITE) was very nice, as were TAILFINS (60D: They were big in the '50s), 97A: Cabinet members? (FILES), 111D: Miss America she's not (HAG), and many more. 50A: Uses a keyless entry system? (BREAKSIN), brilliant. 53A: They go places (ROADS), love it. 101A: What a fist might represent (ROCK)! One of Frannie's favorites was the simple, but perfect, FRO (48D: Back again). And I liked seeing the double double F's of FFLAT and WOLFF.
Clues like 5D: Hound doc (VET) and 99D: Long little doggie (CORGI) show an admirable playfulness, and for that, we're willing to give Mr. Berry the extra leash, as it were, for things like YKNOW (96D: "... see what I mean?").
Zippy, modern fill mixed with the ICHOR of ARACHNE makes for a very satisfying solve(nt?). I'm going on record saying this is my favorite Sunday puzzle of the year so far. What do you think of that?