I'm going to call this one, "Revenge of the KIOWA (29A: Plains tribe)." I had put in "Otoes," thinking myself clever, but one by one the letters got changed, until I was left with the space for that W. And the Down, 31D: Dips in a bucket, say (WETS) was just not coming to me. I honestly think I suffered the "Running the alphabet fatigue" that EnglishTeacher59 recently described. I got to around T and thought, "There are no useful letters left!" Ha!
Like on Sunday, once the trick is done - the "ART" removed - the resulting letters still make a word, but somehow I don't mind it so much today. Is it because I am more comfortable with subtraction than addition? Is it because I don't like the thought of alien invaders? Perhaps we'll never know, but I thought I'd mention my gut reaction. Isn't that just what I'm supposed to as a reviewer? (Right about now, faithful readers of this blog might be thinking to themselves, "It must be nearing the end of the month. This is the time when these 'Horace and Frances and Colum' writers tend to wax philosophical. But all we have to do is wait it out another few days and then a new blogger will start, and the reviews will be all business all the time again..." Well, we'll see, Dear Reader, we'll see...
1A: Auto booster (CHIEF), I give an A. I only realized now that it is part of the theme (C[ART]HIEF), which I should have realized earlier, because all theme answers are symmetrical! The more I look at this puzzle, the more beautiful I think it is. And I'm now in a predicament, because I've wasted so much time rambling that I feel I must cut the review off soon, lest I lose all readers. Nobody wants to read more than four paragraphs these days, am I right?
I'll finish with compliments for the non-theme down material - POLARIS (10D: Guiding light), FEELFREE (25D: "Help yourself"), EDWARDI (45D: King nicknamed Longshanks) (awesome nickname), PATROL (21D: Keep the beat?), TRAMP (50D: Vagabond), and TAKETHAT (23D: "So there!"). And I was strangely happy to see OHHI (30D: "Didn't think you'd be here") again so soon. Isn't it odd how some answer-oddities seem to come in bunches? Wait, wait... no more philosophizing!
Loved it. Great start to The Turn.