I was actually looking forward to the themelesses more than usual this week, and this one didn't disappoint. It fell a little easily, perhaps, but it was fun while it lasted.
Threw in APPIANWAY (16A: Road built during the Samnite wars) immediately (old road = Appian Way). I learned not too long ago that that road was built by a guy named Appius, hence, his road. Who knew? I guess I always thought it was the name of a place, or a battle, or something besides just being an eponym. What next? Someone named Colosseus?
Anyway, it seemed to be right in our wheelhouse. Even things like EPAULET (7D: Uniform ornament) came to mind easily. I'm not a smoker, but CAMEL (26A: Joe who was retired in 1997), also went right in. Put in "Pink" at first for 38A: What the name "rhoda" means. I might have reached a point where I have too much Latin... but it was corrected soon enough. (And besides, it still didn't help me with SINEDIE (37D: How Congress might adjourn). I know what it means, but I didn't know it had a use in that context.) Also corrected somewhat easily (by Frannie) was my initial thought for 54A: "Don't decide right away" ("ThinkONIT).
After one pass through the acrosses and downs, I handed it over to Frannie. When I got it back, it was more than half done, and all that was left for me were things like TARHEELS (6D: Five-time N.C.A.A. basketball champs from the A.C.C.), and the somewhat odd TINCT (9D: Add color to).
Lots of great long stuff (ABREAST, CRUMBLE, HASBEEN, HYMNALS...), and plenty of nice cluing (18A: Game ender, possibly (RAINSTORM)). And did you notice that "Mt. Olympus" fits for 56A: Titan's home (TENNESSEE)(!)? Very nice.
STANDEE (2D: One who's unseated?) was a tiny bit of an eye-roller, but other than that, and really, even with that, this was great.
p.s. Remember yesterday when I said that sometimes the daily puzzle and the syndicated end up being by the same constructor? Well, it happened again today!