Now onto Thursday! I almost wish this had been unthemed. It felt like an unthemed with one 13-letter answer across the middle, and the other theme answers each modest 8 or 9-letter entries. And while each entry makes sense with THEWHOLE (54A) preceding it, 18A: Business, informally (BALLOFWAX) is not a phrase I ever hear on its own. Turns out MEGILLAH (17A: Long, involved story, in slang) is a Hebrew word meaning scroll or volume, so each of the other phrases can stand alone. A nitpicky inconsistency, I suppose.
And when we leave the theme aside, it's actually a really nice grid. Only 38 black squares makes for an open feeling, with each corner sporting matching pairs of 8-letter answers. Too many good clues and answers to list them all, but here are some of my favorites, bullet-style.
- 2D: Relax (UNCLENCH). That's a great word.
- 12A: Common flavorer in Italian sausage (FENNEL). We discovered how marvelous fennel is in salami while in Italy.
- 40A: Modern term for "Roman fever" (MALARIA). Speaking of which... but also I like the historical reference.
- 53D: Not be able to say "say," say (LISP). That's a great looking clue.
- 57A: Mark Twain's boyhood home (HANNIBAL). A piece of trivia that leapt to my mind while solving, always a nice feeling. Plus Mark Twain's awesome.
- 49A: One who's been tapped on the shoulder? (SIR). I was worried that I was going to have a square that was guessed, as I didn't know SERACS, but laughed when I figured out that last R.
So overall, I liked the puzzle a good deal.