IT'S ALL RELATIVE
Sometimes I can't decide whether I like Sundays or Mondays less. Or maybe it's Tuesdays, since on Mondays I can try to break the 4-minute barrier, but on Tuesdays that's rarely in play. And I guess on Sundays you've usually got a more interesting theme than in the early-week puzzles… Oh, when did I become so jaded?
Today did have an interesting theme, but it was initially irritating, because I generally am not a fan of references from one clue to another. When I see "6D: 73-Down, relatively" (NOWAYJOSE), and then look to find that 73-Down says "See 6-Down," (MYDEADBODY), well, it's just not that fun. It's kind of cool once everything is filled in, I'll grant you, to finally understand that "No way, José," being positioned directly over "my dead body," makes the two phrases equivalent. Sometimes it's "over," sometimes it's "under." OK. Clever. Is it worth it? Maybe. Frannie says it adds variety, and asks, "What, do you want every day to be a Saturday?"
Theme aside, the fill did have a few highlights. 21A: Summit planner (SHERPA) was lovely. I enjoyed the imagery in SCATTER (25A: What players do at the start of a game of tag), and we learn more and more about MRED (50D: He "will never speak unless he has something to say," in a song) every week, it seems! And speaking of learning, I don't think I ever heard before that YOKUM was 34A: Li'l Abner's surname.
Very tricky clue for ELLE (38A: Notre dame, e.g.) today! It's kind of a hidden non-capital. Hah! And a nice shout-out to BATES (74A: Maine college) (a brother went there), but I wonder how long it is until we see that clued with some kind of Downton Abbey reference? 83A: Tops off (BEHEADS) is nice, if a bit gruesome, 107A: A line in an A-line? (HEM) is cute, and 119A: Love to hate? (ANTONYM) is quite nice. Lots of hammock clues, a few clunker answers (IRED, KAS, DPS, ENA, ELOGE), but overall, ok, it was fun enough.
Favorite clue: 49A: He's 2, for one (ATNO) (Helium…). Very fine clue for a standard bit of crosswordese.