Frannie and I passed this back and forth with Huygens, and although the time says it was a decent challenge, it never really felt that way to me. Three people doing a puzzle together makes it seem pretty easy. Still, there were plenty of interesting and/or fun clues.
The side-by-side pair of 34D: Tip used for icing (SILENCER) and 38D: They will be missed (DODGERS) was good, and ENS (7D: Nissan bumpers?) is a nice twist on the “_____ starter”-type clue. It was also interesting to learn (or relearn) that NAPALM was used as the 43D: Dresden decimator of 1945.
How many tragedies are five act (ACTFIVE) (1A: It may provide closure in a tragedy)? And what locals, exactly, call MANX CATs “stubbin?” Do they come from the Isle of Man?! Interesting. And I did not realize that DOYOUWANNADANCE was a 50A: 1965 Beach Boys hit. I know it from John Lennon’s “Rock and Roll” album, and before that I would have guessed it was the Everly Brothers, or someone more like that. I also had no idea that FLAX was used as a 10A: Cigarette paper source. And while I’m in this vein, I might as well ask if anyone knew that “monitor” in the clue 16D: Large monitors (KOMODODRAGONS) referred to “any of a family (Varanidae) of usually very large, flesh-eating lizards of Africa, S Asia, and Australia: from the notion that they warn of the presence of crocodiles?” I did not. Very interesting, indeed.
Loved KABOOM (40D: Major report). Enjoyed SEWER (45D: Something beyond the grate divide?). Really, there wasn’t much I didn’t enjoy in this.
A fine Saturday.