Well, I had gone back and forth between nOd and BOB at 10D, and settled on the wrong one, and all because I could not parse 19A: Rolls for dogs (BUNS). And in any case, in honor of the absent Huygens, that could have been clued in such a more interesting way. BARI, nARI. Who knows these Adriatic ports, anyway?
Okay, so enough griping. I loved the theme today, for the crazy way the Ws looked in the middle of the words; for the neat visual trick when your eyes start seeing the Ws as VVs; and for the fact that the grid has no Ws or Vs anywhere outside theme answers. Excellent consistency.
My favorite theme answer by far was HIWACCINE. I love the split of the Vs across two words. All the other answers are standard VV words. I think it might be 80 years since the word FLIWER was used in any meaningful way. TECHSAWY, on the other hand, is contemporary.
The downside to all of those Ws, of course, are words like RENEWER. Oof! Definitely the LOWTIDE mark of the puzzle for me. That whole NE corner, as noted above, right? Just not the thing. ALERO! Yuck. The SW is much better, with APRIORI and PEORIA.
I also enjoyed EPHEDRA and AEOLIAN, the latter particularly. The Aeolian Harp prelude of Chopin is absolutely brilliant... in fact:
Let's just go ahead and say that all the Chopin etudes are absolute musts. Looks like Schumann gave this particular one its nickname.
1A: Not much (ATAD). D-. Good lord. When am I going to get a really good 1A?
Favorite clue-answer: 46D: The drink's on me (COASTER). Yes. Rye, anybody? I think so.