Another Monday, another ho-hum puzzle. I mean, when are these creators going to...
Hang on a sec.
Oh, yeah! I actually liked this Monday puzzle! Mr. Livengood has created a lively grid, despite the abundance of 3-letter answers (23 of them, all told). Part of what makes it so nice are the fairly chunky corners, with trios of 7-letter answers, all of which I enjoyed quite a bit. In addition, there are two 8-letter down answers, each crossing three theme answers.
For some reason I put BArb in at 1A: Streisand, familiarly (BABS), even though no one ever has called her that (or if they did, they've been quietly and efficiently removed). Even as I looked at 3D: Sunday liquor prohibition, and thought, well, that has to be BLUELAW, it took me a few seconds to convince myself. That corner also has BUSSTOP and ACQUIRE.
I had another spot of trouble getting into the NE corner. I couldn't come up with the seafood portion of FRIEDSHRIMP (scampi? squid? calamari?!?!), and TALENT wasn't coming either off of TAL___. That's a fine clue there, IMO - "Singing, juggling or performing magic" did not lend itself to that answer. Meanwhile, I'd entered "sweet" at 9A: Banana split or fudge brownie (TREAT). EDYS and TAO (a nice counterpart to ZEN) helped, then I got TOSSPOT off of the correct T at the end of my incorrect answer, and the rest fell into place.
I love ROOTBEER, and will always choose that as my non-alcoholic carbonated beverage. I'm also in favor of baseball, so ASHTREES was also good. I did not like ALTTAB, which feels a bit random. I love the trio of GYMNAST, GORILLA, and SNICKER.
Oh, and the theme was well done as well. Four synonyms for "small", with two answers where the synonym starts the phrase, and two answers where it ends the phrase. Again, FRIEDSHRIMP seems a little skimpy (scampi?!?!), but I really like PEEWEEREESE in the grid, all those Es.
Thumbs up from me.