Horace and Frannie would like to congratulate Bernice Gordon today for becoming the oldest person ever to have a crossword published in the NYT (and, quite possibly, anywhere else, for that matter). Her first puzzle was published in the 1950s, and she is credited with originating the "rebus" style puzzle, in which a symbol replaces letters (& = AND, etc.), and she turned 100 last Saturday. There is a nice article about her on the Huffington Post Web site, from which I have drawn some of the above.
Her grid today was relatively clean, with a rebus-type theme of its own. We were a bit surprised to see such a thing on Wednesday, but perhaps it played a little too easy for a Thursday, and Mr. Shortz decided to grant a little leeway.
The theme entries are nicely symmetrical, with the central crossing of ONLYU (39A: 1955 hit for the Platters) and WELLG (30D: "Hmm, imagine that!") to round things out. We enjoyed the odd clue for SAP (20A: Sustenance for aphids), and who doesn't love that use of JAGS (1D: Sprees)?
YIELDING (40D: Soft to the touch) is a lovely entry, and it's always nice to include an interesting quote, this time by VOLTAIRE (34A: Philosopher who wrote "It is difficult to free fools from the chains they revere"). Lovely.
A few crosswordsy-type things, but nothing egregious. A very pleasant Wednesday.