Yow! Friday faster than Thursday! By this trend, I'll finish tomorrow's puzzle in around 5 minutes. I doubt that is really true, of course. But Patrick Berry's puzzles fit very neatly into my roundhouse, I think. Always so clean and enjoyable.
I broke in with 1D: Major quinoa exporter (PERU), giving me EPEE. Once I put in 37A: Dimwit (ASS), I got 3D: Carol king (WENCESLAS). That's a great clue, especially since Ms. King recently was honored at The Kennedy Center. And 2D: Boot hills? (APENNINES) - also great.
1A: Little man (PAWN) gets a B+ for the very nice clue. Anyway, I figured out the entire NW corner quickly, and with SISTE____ above ONLIN____, it was very straightforward to break the center. No clue tricked me much today: I had my themeless/Berry hat on. 28D: Handle again? (RENAME) and 29D: Eight-footer? (SPIDER) went in easily.
23A: Number of letters (ZIPCODE) is clever as well. I didn't even get it entirely until after I'd finished the puzzle. 12D: Old war story (ILIAD) I love. I was thinking of "rest in peace" for 18A: Grave words (INMEMORIAM).
Nice trio of clues at 44D: Not on base? (AWOL), 52D: Strong base (LYE), and 47D: On base (SAFE). Three different definitions of the word, which makes the crosswordese of the first two palatable.
My favorite clue-entry was 48A: Cab supplier (WINESELLER), both for the hidden capital and the product of the fermented grape. 56A: Shot blockers (LENSCOVERS) is clever as well.
I VETO anybody who has a problem with this puzzle. I think we should name Patrick Berry the official NYT crossword constructor.