First off, happy birthday to Horace. I understand you're freaking old now. Congratulations.
Meanwhile, we have a much better puzzle than yesterday. I love the concept of the theme, and it's carried out very well. 34A: Environmentalist's concern ... or a hint to the shaded letters (CLIMATECHANGE) is the centrally placed revealer. Since it's 13 letters, I don't think it could have gone anywhere else.
Then, in each of the other theme answers, the letters of "climate" are anagrammatized, in each case across the two words that make up the phrases. Always nice to see that consistency. The M and the C take this exercise out of the trivial rearrangement of common English letters. I don't love CHEMICALTESTING as a phrase: it seems a bit ad hoc. But the other three are all strong answers. I wonder whether MEALTICKET was the seed entry.
The puzzle had an exotic flair to it, what with ALGERIA (really the largest country in Africa? 919,595 square miles, per Wikipedia, making it the 10th largest country in the world! Although that includes Antarctica, so really the 9th), TIRANA (capital of a country makes it fair game, not to mention that Albania is another country that begins and ends with; apparently there are 12 - can you name them?), and NORSEMEN.
SKEEBALL is a big favorite of ours when we go to Lake George for a late summer Saturday frolic. I have found a ludicrously successful technique of bouncing the ball off the left wall just before the lip of the incline. With the right spin, I can almost always get 30 or more. Good times.
It's a nice pairing with SEMPERFI, and I love the crossing of that and PILFER. Such chunky feeling answers. THORAX is another nice one, although it comes at the price of XED.
1A: So last year (PASSE) is pretty good. I'll give it a B+.