Ahhhh... now, that's more like it.
Happy Pi day, everyone; the only one we're likely to experience of the full 3/14/15 version. At 9:26 AM, Cece and I got our math geeks on.
But back to the puzzle. An excellent themeless today, anchored by lovely sets of three 10-letter answers or two 10-letter answers with a 9-letter answer next. In addition, we have two excellent 11-letter answers.
Things would have gone much faster if I'd put LAMAR in at 1D when I first saw the clue. I thought that might be it, but withheld. I already had ONONE at 2D, so that could have jumpstarted everything. Instead, I went to the NE, where I mistakenly put huntsMAN in for 14D: Savior of Little Red Riding Hood (WOODSMAN). Astonishingly, I was able to pull ERICBANA from nowhere, but that didn't help too much.
I really got going with the SE, where Boston knowledge gave me The PRU, and then PRIDE, USERS, and THEINSIDER followed. I love EATENALIVE and CARTWHEELS. That's a nice set of answers there.
I had _____WASH, and Cece looked at it and immediately said "MACHINEWASH!" Smart kid, that one. This led, however, to the second mistake in the NE, where I had _AHA_EN, and entered BAHAtEN. I mean, come on, who cares about the Baha Men? Oh. I see they wrote "Who let the dogs out?" Yes, I agree with Rolling Stone. That is an annoying song, and an annoying answer.
One of the downsides of this grid is the relative isolation of the two halves. The connections hinge on the answers at 8D and 39D. I got STPETER easily enough, but it was a struggle to get going after that. My Jane Austen helped with EMMA, and finally I opened up the trio of SHOVELED (nice), WHACAMOLE (fine), and HARRUMPHED (excellent). 38A: Ones pulling strings? (HARPISTS) is a great clue. 24D: Division of biology (MITOSIS) was a good misleading clue.
Which leads us to TAYLORSWIFT - what a great answer, and such a peculiar clue! "Art of sly wit"...
LOBSTERBIB was fun, ANIMANIACS I had no idea about, and could care less about. And MONEYTALKS was good.
Really very little to complain about. I enjoyed it very much.