Let's see... 30 days hath September. Yup, that's right. The end of another month. Nine months in the books of 2015. And I've blogged five of them, with one left to go. I'm actually going to write two posts today, one about the puzzle, the other about my theme of the month.
So here's the one about the puzzle. I was certainly concerned by 1A, which didn't bode well. But really, overall, this was a pretty smooth puzzle. I'm surprised, given the six theme answers, along with three other long across answers that aren't themed, that Mr. Cheng managed to avoid too much ugliness. Although there is some, for sure.
The theme is... well, fine. Each answer has a first word that can fit into the pattern "break a ____". I'm just not entirely convinced by the revealer at 62A: Extra-care items for movers ... or a hint to the starts of [theme answers] (BREAKABLES). What exactly is "breakable" about the starts? If you take the actual definitions of the idioms in question, only "break a fever" and "break a record" actually mean that the items in question are broken. "Break a leg" means "good luck," "break a sweat" means to cause a sweat to happen, while "break a fall" means to cushion something.
Meanwhile, I do like the actual phrases. Although, FALLSEASON is kind of a thing of the past as the standard introduction for new shows. There are too many other choices, especially on non-commercial television, which is what I mainly watch nowadays anyway.
I welcomed FIREDANCE and OWLETMOTH. They definitely broke the mold for a themed puzzle (see what I did there?) by being only one letter short of the theme answers. The two long down answers were even better. 30D: Huge amount, slangily (GAZILLION) is fun, and 11D: Like many mainstream economic theorists (KEYNESIAN) is very nice. I wish more economists were Keynesian.
I didn't like RARES, EMBAR, ALIFE (although it's clued better than "Get ____"). ITE, OID. ARECA. Yuck. Or, as this puzzle might say, YIPE.
Oh, well. On the whole, it was pretty good.
I liked 44A Bottom of a gym? (SWEATPANTS), and it's pairing with LEGWARMERS, which bring to mind Olivia Newton-John or Jane Fonda in their younger days. NIXES has a good clue (60A Puts the kibosh on), and I, for one, thought that ALIFE was great because of its cluing (which Colum mentions). I also enjoyed how FEVERPITCH and FIREDANCE were adjacent answers, and WHAMMO (4A Pow!) brings to mind the great Adam West. This was definitely and OKAY puzzle in my book.