Frannie here. I have been pressed into service while Horace cooks up a storm in the kitchen. Speaking of which, we had a storm here today - a snow storm. Six or so inches of heavy, wet snow. I wished I had a whole ECRU of people to help me shovel, but I Dent. The snow was so deep it was like taking ABAFT. Happily, it wasn't too KOLN. I UKES a scraper to clean off the car. ODIC, our neighbor was out clearing his drive at the same time. We both agreed our backs were going to ACRE tomorrow.
But seriously folks, it was a fine Friday for Frannie. For most of the puzzle, I was able to read the clue and enter the answer, rare for me on a puzzle in the latter part of the week. I did hit a couple two three snags, detailed below, but otherwise, it was pretty smooth sailing. I really liked SKIRT for Circumvent (38A). I also liked the slightly unusual SONDE (35A. Balloon-based probe). I thought 34A. Frank narrative (DIARY) was a clever hidden capital. KOLN and SENAT brought a nice hint of Europe, which I always enjoy. And who doesn't like a NILLA wafer?
There were very few groaners, or as I believe our regular reviewers call it, puzzle glue. My least favorite answer was CSIS, (24D. Collectors of DNA, prints, etc.) Is that an acronym you really want to pluralize? I don't think so.
Infelicitously, I entered the Clean freak of sitcomdom's first name (9A) where UNGER belonged, which set me back in that corner for a minute until I got to 10D. Shetlands turndown (NAE). Another spot that held me up was at 1A, where a person might reasonably enter GApe, or GAwk, just to name two words that start with GA, before hitting on GAWP. So, today's 1A gets an A- from me. An A for trickiness and a minus for fooling me. :)
If it's not too forward of me, I have AMODESTPROPOSAL of my own. Never cross AMPAS with SHAILENEWOODLEY if you want me to be able to complete the puzzle without one assist (see FWOA above). This is the first I've heard of Ms. Woodley. And, although I have watched the Oscars every year for as long as I can remember, I had a vague notion that the acronym for the Grp. behind the Oscars would be composed of the letters A and M. Who'd a thunk we'd need a P or, more importantly, an S?
Anywho, Ms. Guizzo created a puzzle that was squarely in my wheelhouse. For me, a 21 minute all-but-completion on a Friday is pretty good. I didn't EXPAT such a good time.