In the immortal words of Charles Dikkens, I TAKESTO this puzzle right away. Mr. Berry and I appear to be on a very similar wavelength. So much so, that I ended up completing it before Horace even got a look at it. In this fine outing, we have all of the following:
17A. First-century governor of Britain, whose name was Latin for farmer - boom - AGRICOLA
50A. 1950 short-story collection by Asimov - long-time fan - IROBOT
12D. Not-so-fast food? - hilarious!- ESCARGOT
44D. "The Name of the Rose" setting - just read it last summer - ABBEY
56A. Phalanx weapons - Ancient Greece - SPEARS
43D. "Never trust a woman who wears ____" (line from "The Picture of Dorian Gray") - Wilde is a big favorite of mine - MAUVE
Along with the above-mentioned, Frannie-tailored clues were other great ones such as 8A. Summer hat (BOATER), 37A. Manhattan Project scientist (FERMI), 30A. Columbian Exposition engineer (FERRIS) - who knew? Substantive and interesting fill.
Mr. Berry did not OMIT (9D. Pass over) humorous entries either. I was entertained by:
15D. Send-off for the dear departed? HAVEANICETRIP ; 8D. Upstanding one? (BIPED) ; 38A. All you can take with one hand - no question mark - POT ; 2D. Being in heaven (ANGEL) ; and 52A. Cork bar (IRISHPUB). HA!
I have not a single PETPEEVE to report (56A. Cause for complaint).