It is somewhat unusual for the pattern in a crossword to have anything to do with the puzzle, but here we have an M on the top of the grid and a W on the bottom, and what do you know, all the theme answers are two-word phrases, starting with M and W. And of those answers, MAKINGWHOOPEE (52D: Euphemism used often on "The Newlywed Game") might be my favorite. I looked up the phrase, because I thought it might sometimes be spelled with an "IE" at the end, but that spelling seems to be reserved for "Whoopie Pies," and the double E is used for the phrase. Interesting. To me, anyway. 58D: Money raised by members of Congress? (MINIMUMWAGE) was a nice, tricky clue.
Make Way for Frannie. I liked the theme/gimmick for being non-intrusive. Horace started the puzzle, then turned it over to me. I didn't know the title and I didn't see the shapes, but that didn't slow me down. I went through the puzzle like a hot knife through butter. There were a few poor entries (110A Certain singers (ALTI) was no prize), but overall the fill was clear, easy and fun. I enjoyed many of the clues with question marks like 28A Opening words? (SAYAH) and 38D Still dripping? (BOOZE). Also, "64A Piece longer than its name suggests" elicited a chuckle. I guess the puzzle crafters and I have Matching Wits. :)
- Horace & Frannie