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.
Wow! You had an easier time of this than we did, even though I felt we caught on to the theme pretty well with HAROLD[CUP][CUP]ER. I blame it on a very disjointed solve. Some on the bus going to work (yeah… the bus. It was two below zero when I left the house, so I didn't take the bike), some with coffee at lunch, some coming home, then Frannie took a crack at it. We, too, ended up in the NW, guessing at "santAS," then "penAS," then "saLAS" before ISLAS finally became clear. SANREMO and RAVEN were in fairly quickly, but I think I also guessed at a couple other African nations, and MOIRA and IMRE were not known for certain (although both ring distant bells). Was loath to give up EXitS for EXAMS, but the latter is good, too.
I like the rebus, and the adding of the rebi, but have you ever heard anyone use the expression "HALFMEASURE?" I haven't. Still, overall, it's more good than bad. It's got two Kerfuffle clues - which adds up to fun!
There was just too much that I didn't know in this one. I worked on it for ten seconds shorter than Horace and Frannie (63:37) before giving up; if only I'd have stuck in there! I didn't check, but I hope that "AXIOM" was the answer to 48D; it would fit in with EXAMS, which seems to be correct. I never really caught on to the theme since all I had was HAROLD[CUP][CUP]ER, and I just thought that I didn't know the person. Anyway, onward.