Happy Thanksgiving, reader! Frannie and I hosted for nine, and had a wonderful time. It's a miracle, really, that I'm still conscious, but while I am, I will make use of these final waking moments to review the puzzle that Frannie and I did together late last night.
First off, the 14x16 grid looked very odd on the iPad mini. It didn't fit into the space allotted to it, and in the margins is visible blurred text, as though the puzzle were merely scanned from the paper itself and simply inserted into the software. That's not the case, I don't think, which makes the newsprint odder still. But that's really quite immaterial, is it not?
The SNAKESONAPLANE (61A: Cult classic whose title is depicted four times in this puzzle) seems a little ill-advised on a weekend when half the country is travelling, but the execution, with "ASP" appearing directly over different types of flying machines, is kind of cute. The fill, however, was not my favorite. PAS (1A: Not for the Parti Québecois?), for starters, bothered me. "Pas?" I'm no native speaker, but it just doesn't seem right to me. Wouldn't "Contre" be better? And then ISPS (4A: Comcast and CenturyLink, in brief), ETAS (8A: Terminal info), ODE (12A: Words of praise), and RIAA (13A: Org. that fought Napster) (?) all right in a row? That's not a great start.
The clues for HANGGLIDER (34A: One interested in current affairs?) and SEMINARY (41D: School at which students are collared?) were nice, and I always enjoy a chess-type clue like 6D: Future queen, maybe (PAWN). Also, I learned a little about old toothpaste brands and the name of yet another small antelope. But even with all that, and a nice Latin clue (63D: Bellum's opposite (PAX)), I still found this puzzle bland and full of crosswordese. I think maybe they figure a lot of people won't be doing this puzzle because they will be, as I will be in a minute or two, lying on the couch in a food coma.