Never really felt comfortable in this one, but still it flew by. Took an educated guess on 1A: Her 1994 memoir has the chapter "Desert Storm" (BARBARABUSH), Frannie pulled ERICAKANE (30D: TV antiheroine for 41 years) out of the (BROADCAST) air (waves), and I remembered the name ERIKSATIE (13D: Composer of several "Gnossiennes") with a few crosses, and with that kind of long fill in place, things just started to fall.
The SE corner was a total crapshoot. ESTES (45D: Business fraudster Billie Sol ____) (never seen anything other than ____ Kefauver, or ____ Park, CO), WAYNE (46D: General who won 1794's Battle of Fallen Timbers) (?), and MEW (44A: Persian language unit?) (??) - those are all pretty tough. And nevermind the questionable MISDO (44D: Screw up)…
The cluing overall seemed more obscure/esoteric than tricky/clever, and that doesn't really make for the most pleasurable solving experience. KOLN (48D: Severinsbrüke's city), AVI (5D: Prefix with culture), AQABA (2D: Great Rift Valley port), and EMILNOLDE (36A: Member of the German Expressionist group Die Brüke) (two umlauts in one puzzle!), are all fine, but not really exciting. Add to that the BEFOGs, the MISDOs, and OBES, and, well, … meh.
On the bright side, we enjoy the mention of Lewis CARROLL (33A: He wrote of a "vorpal blade"), KITES (38A: Sky boxes?) was nice, and any Simpsons reference is ok with us - MOE (26D: Dispenser of Duff Beer). The last box we filled in was the X of EXMET (40A: Strawberry, for one), because Frannie had figured out FLEXTIMER (32D: One whose shifts shift), after which, we had what we now refer to as a "Kitwo moment." This refers to an event that happened recently when we solved a puzzle with Colum Amory. The clue was "Peak on the Pakistani-Chinese border" and the answer turned out to be KTWO. The three of us spent a few moments saying "Kitwo?" out loud to one another, until Colum, I think, finally said "K-2!" That's what happened today, but for a briefer moment. Frannie and I said to one another "Exmet?" until one of us finally said "Ohh… ex-Met!" Ahh… puzzles. Or is that Aah… puzzles… HAH!
OK, that's all for today.