Today marks the one-year anniversary of our first post here at Horace and Frances, and we'd like to thank every one of you who's stopped by to read, whether it was just once, looking for an answer, or nearly every day to join in the conversation. Frannie and I have had a lot of fun doing the puzzles, and are repeatedly amazed by the creativity and cleverness of the constructors. We have talked of trying to create a puzzle of our own, but so far, that hasn't happened. I can only assume that when it does, we'll have even more respect for those who do it so well.
Today's puzzle was very good. I thought I had sniffed out a rebus early when I saw 35A: Rembrandt van ____ (RYN). I wanted "RijN," but I couldn't really convince myself that the rebus could be "IJ," unless it was made to look like a smiley-face somehow… but even that didn't really work. Luckily, I was wrong, and there was no rebus at all. Only COLORBYNUMBER (13D: Kid's art activity … or something seen four times in this puzzle's solution?) (OK, why the question mark there? They're question mark happy at the Times!). We've seen side-by-side themes, or "under" or "over" themes, but I don't remember one done exactly this way.
The NW was the last to go for us today. I knew that 5D: Mashie niblick (SIXIRON) was a club, because I had once bought either a mashie or a niblick at an old church fair. I hadn't known that together they made their own club, but I guessed it was an iron. I was thinking along the lines of "one" or "two," so BOARS (1A: Swine), and BRUNEI (12A: Country that calls itself the "Abode of Peace") were hard to figure out. Also, I don't know why RATEDX (15A: Like only one Best Picture in Academy Award history (1969)) (!) took us so long. What else could it be, really, once "documentary" didn't fit? Anyway, I eventually reasoned that 1A might end in S, and then everything fell into place rather quickly. It probably shouldn't have taken as long as it did, but it was very late, and I was very tired.
Some nice internal pairings - KTS (23 Gold units: Abbr.) and DPS (46A: Diamond stats) That was tricky! (baseball: double-plays), but maybe not as tricky for non-sports fans as RHE (54A: Line score inits.), which is, I believe, "Runs, Hits, Errors." And speaking of baseball, what the heck is "SFO" in 22D: SFO opponent in the 2012 World Series (DET)? Is that just a typo?
TORPOR (60A: Lassitude), BLACKOPS (9D: 2010 installment of Call of Duty series), SERENADE (58A: Play to the balcony?) - those are all quite nice. And SEAGREEN (33D: Teal relative) was always my favorite Crayola color. All in all, it's a great anniversary puzzle!