The theme of Midwestern state capitals was fun, but very easy. I think I got LANSINGMICHIGAN (Midwest capital #1) off just a few letters, and neither of the other three took much more than that. So right away you've got those letters. I know it's only Wednesday, but it just played really easy. And this from someone who solved the puzzle at about 5:30am Boston time, after a six-hour flight, a 45-minute bus ride, and a twenty-minute walk to the hotel. But enough about me, let's talk more about the puzzle.
There are a lot of little three-letter answers in the NW, but I enjoyed ROLLEDR (1A: Part of "rico" or "roja"), and it is weird, as they say, that the praying mantis is ONEEARED. Over in the NE we have the less-desirable AMEBAE (8A: Lives in a cell?). I don't particularly like the answer or the clue. BONERS, meh. ARENA & ESSEN, common crossword entries. But MONTHS (9D: Their days are numbered) is clued well.
All over we have a mix of good and bad. I think of ADDIN (23D: Computer extra) as more of an "ice cream" extra, and IDEATE is nobody's favorite. Just across the grid, though, is my favorite section today. DARTS (33D: Game of motor precision that, strangely enough, is often played while inebriated) is great, and who doesn't love KAFKA (36D: "The Trial" author)? And almost in the same section was CLUBS (27D: Black suit), which I also enjoyed. It was one of those that I thought way too long about.
I like capitals, but it just doesn't feel like enough today. There's a a handful of interesting non-theme stuff, but also a lot of mediocre-to-blah fill. I'm giving it a "thumb slightly down" rating.