I think that, in preparation for any future participation in crossword puzzle tournaments, I should start to review puzzles before submitting them. Today's puzzle was a DNF, or a FWOE (Finished With One Error) as I prefer to call it, because I had initially guessed "mMNO" (ridiculous, I know) for UMNO (16A: "Let me think … yeah, that's stupid"), leaving me with NmMERAL for NUMERAL (10D: What's required in some passwords) at the end. The error took me about two seconds to find as I quickly scanned the grid for irregularities. Why didn't I just do that before I submitted? Well, who knows, but I'm going to put a little more effort into taking that last step from now on. Frannie and I competed online at this years ACPT, and found that the bonus for having no errors upon completion is greater than the penalty for taking, say, one more minute to complete a puzzle, so it just makes good sense.
But enough about all that, let's get down to brass tacks, shall we? It's another "back-to-school" theme, and I enjoyed it pretty well. I like the brazenness of including beer in the COLLEGEEXPENSES (54A: What tuition and the starts of 17-, 22-, 37-(?), and 47-Across are). I notice, only now, that they put a question mark after the beer one, but still, I chuckle. There's bonus theme-related fill, too, with MIXER (3D: First-week-of-school social event) and COEDS (64A: Female students, condescendingly).
It's odd, don't you think, that we see NETLOSS (4D: Unfortunate bottom line on an earnings report) so soon again, but there's nothing inherently wrong with it. There might be reason to nix APPLET, though, as that word seems to have gone out of style in favor of "app." Or am I so out of touch myself with the programming world that it is I, not the word, who has gone out of style? And speaking of out of style, 25D: Late, as a video store rental (OVERDUE). Video store rental?? Today's college kids probably don't even remember them. Oh, and speaking of that, I might as well put in a plug for my old college advisor's creation, the Mindset List.
But there's some lovely fill, too, like MAXIM, INGENUE, VENOM, ALBEIT, PLASM and TABLA (35D: Indian drum) which reminds me of an old high school crush who played one. Who plays the tabla in high school? Well, Suzy did. Angelically.
Favorite clue 32D: Place where one can come home and chill? (IGLOO).
Runner up, another "home" clue: 38D: Home located in the sticks? (NEST).
Least favorite clue: 59D: Groups of cops: Abbr. (PDS). What is that? Police divisions?