We're a quarter of the way through 2016. Enjoy it while you can: according the New York Times, by 2100, New York will no longer be above water, so this crossword may be NULLANDVOID. I'm feeling a little morose today, in case you hadn't noticed. If there is any UPSIDE, though it's that ILOVEPARIS, and will be there before the next month is finished. TRESBIEN, non?
This grid did not start out so great. 1A: Elected (OPTED) is such crossword triteness, I give it a D-. It's compounded by the questionable OVOIDAL at 1D. Isn't this a term that is unnecessarily long? Wouldn't "ovoid" describe it just fine? On the other hand, here is London City Hall:
Anyway, things could only look up from there. 2D: Robert Galbraith and J. K. Rowling (PENNAMES) is interesting. The first is clearly a good example, in that Ms. Rowling chose that name to publish her mysteries under. The second is actually her name, though, even if she's using her initials instead of her given name, Joanne. Wikipedia says it is a pen name. I'm not convinced.
The theme is fun, though. Standard phrases in the form "[blank] and [blank]" where the blanks are synonyms are reinterpreted by clues in the form "double..." All five clues are definitely recognizable phrases. I like 17A: Double solitaire? (ONEANDONLY) and 33A: Double take? (SNATCHANDGRAB) the best. Impressive to fit five examples in. Not to mention that vim, vigor, and VERVE are all in the same grid.
36D: How conflicts are best resolved (AMICABLY) would be good advice for the Republican presidential candidates. 47D: Current events? (TIDES) is maybe a little off, but I enjoyed it anyway. Well, that's it for my month's reviews.