Rabbit rabbit, everybody! It's October. And I'm ringing it in a couple of hours early. I feel like September was a pretty good month, crosswordwise, other blogs notwithstanding. And the way the last few days were going, I was hoping for a good start on this Saturday themeless.
Well, I'm not going to say I was blown away by this effort. It felt a bit like a slog. There are some nice bits, and a lot of answers that just feel neutral or worse.
I wandered through a lot of clues before finally hitting on one I was sure about, at 37D (ARIANNA). That didn't net me much, though. I actually jumped over to the eastern half of the puzzle to get any real traction. Iraklion is not the way I think of CRETE's capital - usually I see it spelled Heraklion when it's put into the Latin alphabet. Because of the odd spelling, I briefly considered putting in Kriti, but ERIC (Dickerson or Decker) put me right.
I kind of worked my way crisscross up to the NW, which actually became the first corner to fall. So... those two decks: POOP and ORLOP. Huh. And all of these down answers, like BOLOTIE (okay), IRONORE (oof) and NOSTARS (don't love it).
I'll give it up for BIGSPOON (1A: One of a pair of cuddlers) because that's oh so sweet (B+ for the corn syrup), and 15A: Handel bars (ORATORIO) is a cute clue. I actually wanted ORATORIa, because it looked plural-ish to me. But what is this LOGROLLS? Apparently a political term I've never heard of. And I didn't like ONREPORT at all.
The rest of the puzzle has much the same quality to me. STRESSEATS is good. GOODREASON is okay. TEARGAS (unpleasant clue there) and CAMEL (unpleasant product) not so much. ONETOTEN feels forced. HAHAHA and DADADA in the same corner?
Well, anyway, I guess it just didn't hit my spot the right way. How about that partial TINIES? Love the Edward Gorey original, so here's a picture from it.