I'm sure glad they got their "Halloweeny" puzzles out of the way earlier in the week, because that left today for this lovely themeless. Thick, open corners, a wide-channelled middle section, plenty of interesting fill, and very little junk. Let's get right to some of the good stuff.
Loved OBEISANCE (54: Deferential respect). This word immediately brings to mind "The Raven," and is therefore quite appropriate for Halloween, no?
Open here I flung the shutter, when, with many a flirt and flutter,
In there stepped a stately Raven of the saintly days of yore;
Not the least obeisance made he; not a minute stopped or stayed he;
But, with mien of lord or lady, perched above my chamber door—
Perched upon a bust of Pallas just above my chamber door—
Perched, and sat, and nothing more.
So this is getting long, but I liked this puzzle, and hey, it's my last review for a while! Colum takes over tomorrow. And speaking of Colum, I've kind of abandoned his "1A Assessments," but today's BERET (1A: Soft top) is one of the best of the month, so I'll give it an A. Pourquoi pas?
Finally, I took 31 Across to be a hidden political message. Bravo, Mr. Wentz, bravo.