Another slightly odd theme today. I like the trend. For one thing, there are double revealers. MIDDLE-CLASS (31A: Bourgeoisie ... or a description of each group of circled letters?) and CENTERFIELD (42A: Baseball position ... or a description of each group of circled letters?). And in the circles, we see "ECON," "MATH," "LATIN" (my favorite!), and "THEATER." Even the arts folks are included! (See also: 21D: "____ washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life": Picasso (ART).) And the answers that these fields are hidden in are really quite diverse. From the full-name of actress UMATHURMAN (22A: Female lead in "Gattaca" and "Kill Bill") (I've seen both of these!) to the somewhat uncommon yet still acceptable ALLATINGLE (47A: In eager anticipation). I'm not too familiar with DEATHEATERS (60A: Followers of Lord Voldemort), but Frannie assures me that they were in those damned movies, and I'm sure that many, many people will find it to be their favorite of the four.
So let's give the theme an A. What do you know, two theme grades and two As. How long will it last? And while we're grading - 1A: Infomercial presentation, e.g. (SPIEL). I love the word, and it's uncommon and interesting, but it's not terribly clever or funny, so let's give it a B+. Better than better than average, but not great. And finally, my favorite clue/answer - 26D: Source of about 20% of the calories consumed by humanity (RICE). Very interesting. And sort of surprising to learn that it is not corn.
Not much long stuff outside the theme today, but there's still plenty to enjoy. The pair of fictional lands PANEM and EASTASIA, the paired "Cotton" GIN and ELI "Whitney," The paired "file name ending" clues make PDF and DOC slightly better, and then we have such fine words as ELICIT, CANON, EENSY and ICKY. And finally, a little something non-smutty for Huygens - AREA (21A: What pi may be used to find) and 15A: HI hi (ALOHA).
All in all, a fine Wednesday. Onward to The Turn!