How nice to start a new month on a Monday. Frannie and I have just been remarking that the Europeans tend to think of weeks starting on Monday, whereas the Americans like to start weeks off on Sunday. You wouldn't think it would make all that much difference, but when you start looking at online apartment-rental calendars that are actually set up in a different way than you're used to, well, it can get confusing. And speaking of confusing, what are we to make of the NYT Crossword? Does its week start on Monday with the easiest puzzle and culminate in the one that usually takes the longest? To me that seems the most logical analysis. One might accuse them of being European! And, well, that's how I choose to think of them.
All that to justify my first sentence...
Today's puzzle went pretty quickly. I had enough crosses to fill in SUNSETBOULEVARD (26A: Title locale in a 1950 Billy Wilder film noir) and MULHOLLANDDRIVE (44A: Title locale in a 2001 David Lynch thriller) without any hesitation, even though I've never seen either film. In fact, I never saw WALLSTREET either, but you needn't have seen them to appreciate this nice twist on the idea of ROADMOVIES. What does strike me as a little odd is the clue for the revealer - "58A: "Bonnie and Clyde" and "Thelma & Louise" ... or a hint to 18-, 26-, and 44-Across." I've never seen "Bonnie and Clyde" either! I did see "Thelma & Louise," but would I have called it a "road movie?" I doubt it. Wouldn't it have made more sense to clue the revealer with something like "A Nightmare on Elm Street," to match more with the theme answers? Or would that be giving away another level of pun? ... oh, maybe I just don't understand road movies if they're not the Hope & Crosby kind... none of which, incidentally, have I seen.
So anyway, if you're still with me after this rambling diatribe, I'll just add that CORA (14A: ____ Crawley, countess on "Downton Abbey") makes me think of the shockingly gruesome episode last night. Did you see that?! Did they really have to have him cough up all that blood?...
MYMY, where was I? Sometimes it's amusing to see a straightforward clue like "15A: One of the Great Lakes" for ERIE, after so many "lakeside tribe," or "War of 1812 battle site," or even "City of NW Pennsylvania" type clues. It's refreshing, in a way. URU and VIEIRA, on the other hand, are not all that Monday-friendly. I liked ALLNIGHTER (30D: Crammer's last chance), BUTTON (25D: Campaign giveaway) (Timely!), and SHOALS (23A: Sandbars), but the less said about ASSUCH the better, don't you think? Is it an exclamation? Is it a hard "ch?" I'm going to start yelling that when I sneeze...
p.s. As Colum so kindly reminded me in the comments, I forgot our standards. Have I really been away that long? So let's set things straight -
1A: Switch that changes bands on the radio (AMFM) - C+. I dropped it right in, and I like thinking about the old dashboard radios, but wasn't that more of a button?
Favorite clue/answer - I guess I'll go with the fairly obvious 38A: "$500 on the roan nag," e.g. (BET) for the absurdity of it all.