A very clever Thursday, shot full of holes. The "To be or not to be" theme is very, very good. For across clues, the answer is yes, for Downs, it's no. Really, it's quite beautiful.
Some of the fill is almost shocking in its modernity. Witness SUCKS[BB]YOU (17A: "Good thing I don't have the same problem!"), and SCREWIT (45D: "Whatever!"). Very fresh fill, in two ways! I'm sure that the AMISH (30D: Some buggy drivers), and whoever wrote ADESTE (22D: Christmas hymn beginning) Fidelis would blanch at the sight of such entries!
The asymmetry of the rebus squares is key, as it keeps one from simply filling in the corners, or all the Vs, for example, once the pattern is learned. Here, the eight "BB" holes must be found separately. Well, except for the revealer, I guess. Once you get the beginning, you get the end, or vice versa.
I like PHOENIX (20A: River of film) as fill, and 23A: That's the point (DOT) was good. I struggled a bit when "lunch" didn't work out for 24A: Meal at which to drink four cups of wine (SEDER), but the crosses fixed that right up. 25A: Part of a pickup line? (TAXI) was excellent, and I was on the right track for 42A: One who may need a shower? (BRIDE[BB]), but it was not the first rebus I figured out, so it took a while for me to get it right. Oh, and the very next one, CHESSSET (44A: Holder of a pair of queens) was brilliant, too. So much good stuff!
On the down side, OHOS (14A: "Look what I found!" cries) is pretty weak, but I'm going to cut Mr. Birnholz quite a bit of slack today. Great theme/trick, lots of clever/interesting fill... Great Thursday!
DNF in 56 mins.ReplyDelete
Once I figured out the rebus (yes, Horace, VERY nice), the puzzle filled in quickly. I was shocked by both SUCKS[TO BE]YOU and SCREWIT (I couldn't believe it as the crosses filled that in - I kept fighting entering that, until I couldn't fight any longer). I loved seeing Geordi LAFORGE in there, but 11D Where reruns run (ONTV)? Really? I also enjoyed HO[BB]IT and 38A What fell in the Fall (MAN). I'd never heard of CHET Walker, which isn't surprising, but the crosses were relatively easy, especially once I'd figured out the rebus and was able to fill in part of my favorite duo, A[BB]OTT.