For those of you keeping track at home, after yesterday's debacle, I took it a little slower today and have started a new non-FWOE streak. We'll see how that goes.
The theme combines the a substantive set of phrases ending with W[ORK] or L[IFE] and the big 55A. WORKLIFEBALANCE with a corresponding grid shape. Add to that WEIGHS and SCALES and it's a HEFTY amount of theme material.
The top part of the puzzle was a little heavy on the three-letter abbreviations (PSAS, MAV, AVE, NHL, FEM), but it also had better ones like JOG, GIG, and PEZ. I loved the ALI quote in 33A. "If you even dream of beating me, you'd better wake up and apologize." That's some solid braggadocio.
Favorite clue/answer pairs were 20A. Gilt-y party? (MIDAS) and 54A. Gave a damn? (CURSED).
You got me by 7 seconds! I figured out the theme with 31D TO[LIFE] and immediately was able to fill in the other seven rebus answers. My favorite is the first, PIECEOF[WORK] (1D Unpleasant sort), even though it's off of the above-mentioned terrible start to a puzzle, PSAS, a plural abbreviation that is also crosswordese. Nice to have WORF in there (I'm currently enjoying him in his role in DSN). Also, I enjoyed the cleverer-than-usual cluing for OPALS and DECO. It isn't my favorite rebus puzzle ever, but I was happy to see one on a Thursday again; it seems like it's been a long time.
I too figured out the rebus with TO[LIFE] and LOW[LIFE] at the same time. No shout out for ASYOUDO? Made me smile.
Colum, I didn't like ASYOUDO. Do you?Delete
I think I kind of got two or three of the [LIFE] answers at once, and then immediately filled in the revealer and the [WORKS]. I, too, enjoy a rebus, and this was a pretty good one. The black-square "picture" of SCALES is pretty weak, but whatever...