A challenging Saturday, just the way we like them. In the end, we guessed right on the W in PEGWOOD (7D: Watchmaker's cleaning tool) and WIE (21A: Youngest player to qualify for an L.P.G.A. Tour event) but, having entered hOWL for YOWL (25D: Protest vehemently), and not being familiar with YMHA (25A: Jewish community org.) (It makes sense now - it might be "Young Mens Hebrew Association"), we finished with an error after all. I guess that's a DNF, but it feels different to me than when you finish with actual gaps that you just don't know. I mean, we were able to fix it right away, and maybe, just maybe, if I weren't so quick to hit the "check" button, it's possible that we could have noticed it. But enough about that. It's not important.
We started very slowly in this one, just getting a few gimmies like BISHOP (34A: Piece in a fianchetto opening) :) , ITS (42D: "____ alive!"), and ISNT (22A: Ain't fixed?) (we've seen this a few times, now), but not much else. Frannie finally broke through in the SE, and we worked clockwise from there.
After finishing the NW, we had a hard time understanding ACH (15A: Dieter's beef?) (I had tried "soy" in here at first), until I suggested that maybe "Diet" is a town in Germany, and Frannie went a step farther and realized that it's a German name! ("Now's the time on Sprokets when we dance!") Very nice clue!
Kind of cute that 43A: "Check it out!," in Chihuahua (MIRA) follows 39A: Play with someone else's toy? (DOGSIT). They were giving us a clue, but we didn't realize it! 24A: Lock combinations? (DOS) (hairdos) was another tough one. And what about GOKAPUT (40D: Quit working)? That's some crazy fill right there.
The dreaded "one" makes an appearance in FLIPONESLID (4A: Snap), and I'm actually pretty happy that we didn't get JUKEBOXHERO (16A: Foreigner hit in the musical film "Rock of Ages") (boy I hated that band) until almost the very end.
As I said, we love a challenge on Saturday, and even with the error, we enjoyed the struggle. It's just what a Saturday should be.