Wow. I was so happy with myself when, about ten minutes in, I figured out SILENTW (41D: Wrong start?), but it took us another hour and fifty minutes to finish!
Granted, we’re at the beach house, entertaining a few other people, but still… it’s not something you expect on a Saturday. I don’t know how many times we put in and took out NOI/RE, and when Frannie got WEI/GH for 16A: Hang in the balance?, we knew it had to be right, but it just wouldn’t work! And furthermore, one of our guests was pretty confident about ESTR/ADA (38D: Latino star once named one of “The 10 sexiest bachelors in the world” by People magazine), and was stunned when it didn’t fit.
“MIRROR MIRROR” came quickly, and with it SNOWWHITE and the SW. EVILQUEEN and the NE took a little longer, and eventually the sides filled in. But everything around those gray squares stayed undone. We figured out more and more of them – or thought we did, but they just wouldn’t fit, and when they did, the crosses looked awful.
So anyway, it was finally the OFM/AN (42A: Darwin’s “The Descent ____”) crossing THEM/ASTERS (25D: Annual Augusta event) that broke it. In retrospect, it took way too long, because both of those just had to be right. I guess I just have to blame it again on the fact that we weren’t expecting it, and the fact that we are entertaining guests this weekend. In any event, I will remember Jason Flinn’s name from now on.
It’s a little odd that you end up with some nonsense if you look at is as though it were a regular grid, but it’s not a regular grid, so that’s ok in the end.
Very good, challenging Saturday.