What, two rebus puzzles in a row? Well, maybe yesterday's puzzle was only sort of a rebus in that you had to stuff a massive mythological beast into the middle square. Today, I made nearly a full pass through the grid before entering much of anything. And looking back over the finished puzzle, I can see why, as the NW corner is filled with unfortunate entries. Starting with 1A: Nobel-winning novelist ____ Kertész (IMRE), who I've never heard of, and then 2D: Actress Kelly (MOIRA) and 4D: African nation with a much-disputed border (ERITREA), not to mention the undefined clue for 3D, I was never going to make much headway without some help. In fact, the first square of the puzzle was the last I filled in.
All of this is to explain how I ended up starting up in the SE, where PEST was my first entry. Cece helped me out with much of the puzzle. She got 50A: One outsmarted by Odysseus (CYCLOPS), as well as figuring out 63A: Word with bar or bed (OYSTER). So I knew it was a rebus puzzle but not how it worked well before I came across any of the actual rebus answers.
The first one of those I got was 42D: Funny Terry ([GILL]IAM), appropriate. Once I got the two squares there, I still didn't understand the cleverness, because who knows that two gills make up a cup? When I had [CUP]ID, I was under the misapprehension that somehow you had to switch the rebus into other answers (like the cup would go into RE[cup]ERATE somehow). But no, two cups make a pint, and two pints make a quart. Definitely impressive!
So, clearly I didn't like the NW. How about the rest? 43A: Acrobat displays? (PDFS) is mildly clever, although I don't like the unnecessary plural. 54A: They're marked (EXAMS) is good without being punny. WRESTS is an outstanding word. On the downside, TAHINIS is such a stretch. You would really never be called on to use that word in the plural. ULEE, ONEK, ARETE are painful.
I like the down rebus answers, particularly RI[PINT]WO and TA[PINT]O in that they find different ways to split the letters. I guess the theme is smart enough to overcome the fill in my opinion.