I like this living below the 4:00 mark on Mondays. Two weeks running. Now I have to get below 3:30 one of these days.
A fine Monday puzzle with a straightforward theme which I appreciate because I despise when a puzzle has to use an "A___" word, such as agape, awhirl, and so on. In this case, the A has been separated from the rest of the word to make a silly phrase. Some of these work much better than others. 36A: Accept one of the acting roles? (TAKEAPART) is actually a phrase you might use in exactly that situation. Better would have been something like: "Receive a division in your hair?"
The others work more in the spirit of the game. The best by far is 25A: Design the lav? (PLANAHEAD). That got a chuckle. KNOCKABOUT is amusing, the other two less so but still serviceable.
But the puzzle is really topnotch when it comes to the non-themed portion. I ran through all the answers and didn't find one to really kvetch about. Sure, there are a number of 3-letter abbreviations, but nothing terrible. And tall four corners have well done trios of 7-letter down answers. I knew I was going to like the puzzle when I put BEWITCH in at 1D. ALAMODE and ILLPASS are nice companions.
The NE has the less scintillating EREADER, although that is one of the few E- answers I'll accept as regular usage nowadays. I don't love COMCAST for its commercialism, but it's completely acceptable, especially next to APOSTLE and JAVAMAN. And RECTORY in the SE is lovely.
Overall a very pleasant Monday puzzle.
Nice time! Agreed on the best theme - PLANAHEAD. That's good stuff. Agreed, also, on the overall high quality of the fill. My favorite little bit is 61D: Word just before blastoff (ONE). Ha!
I was beginning to feel a little lonely on the blog this week...Delete
I've been reading, but just haven't had time to comment until now. Frannie and I just did the Thursday together, and we're eagerly awaiting tomorrow's review! Spoiler alert - we liked it.Delete
Good times for you two. This ran a little hard for a Monday for me, but it was, as has been mentioned, a good solid puzzle, nice theme, with clean fill. I enjoyed RECTORY right below CONFESS (I always think of the Spanish Inquisition - not the real one, the Monty Python one - when I hear that word) and, unlike Colum, I even liked APOSTLE. HESS is another bit of commercialism to go along with COMCAST.