Funny that Sid Caesar died yesterday, and now today's puzzle is a tribute (sort of) to ITSA[MAD][MAD][MAD][MAD]WORLD (15D: 1963 movie with the tagline "Everybody who's ever been funny is in it!"). I was already pretty certain of the rebus after 25A: Sportscaster who lent his name to a popular video game series ([MAD]EN), but that movie clue sealed the deal.
We got a good start when AKIMBO (1A: One way to stand) went right in (Frannie says that word a lot, for some reason), and, as stated, the rebus came early, so it didn't really feel that tough, even though we finished in a pretty normal time for a Thursday. (Our Thursday average is actually much higher than this, but I feel it is skewed by a couple of very long puzzles. I also think we've been getting faster after a year of doing the daily NYT puzzle.)
There were a few unfamiliar names, like EDONEILL (53A: "Modern Family" actor) and TINA (51D: "Glee" girl), CLAUDIA (11D: Italian actress Cardinale), and ROCA (42A: Almond ____ (candy brand), but they were all crossed fairly. Also, I tend to think more often of Shakespearean sonnets, which end in a couplet, rather than the Italian model that ends in a SESTET. Luckily, Frannie dropped that right in.
Overall, I have a good feeling about this constructor. The simple, but elegant 43D: Balance (SCALES), for example, is a high-quality clue. I like the tone of LAME (26A: Unconvincing), and UNTURNED (57A: In situ, as stones) is a questionable word redeemed by its clue. Further, I like the erudite nature of ACADIA (7D: "Evangeline" locale), and ARIADNE (35D: Titian subject with Bacchus). Plus, he uses the proper ICEDTEA (39D: Summer drink) instead of the bastardized "ice tea."
Sure, he also uses SERE and ODER, and are MIATAS even made anymore?... but overall I think this was a quality Thursday. Now, On to the Weekend!