Today's theme features characters and their horses. I only knew a couple of these for sure - everybody knows the LONERANGER and Silver, and TONTO and Scout and ROYROGERS and Trigger were at least familiar once I got them - but you could have waterboarded me for weeks and I never would have come up with Diablo, Tornado, or Buttermilk. Overall, this seemed more like a history lesson than an engaging theme, but perhaps others were more RAPT by it.
The fill had a few gems, like 62D: Top secret? (WIG), 78D: Repeated part of a five-mile hike? (LONGI) (Again, they got me!), and I like the way of cluing STEM (101A: Check). 41D: Pea nut? (MENDEL) was cute, and they're pounding 102D: Vernacular (PATOIS) this week. My favorite, though, might have been 37D: Is Greek? (IOTAS). Tricky!
But for the most part, the fill didn't wow me, and sometimes it even annoyed me. ALLO (64A: French greeting), for instance, just seems so weak. It's not actually a word in French... but I guess neither is NAH a word in English... and 96A: Brownie, e.g. (GIRLSCOUT) - Sure, I guess that Brownies are run by the same organization as GIRLSCOUTs, but Brownies are Brownies and Girl Scouts are Girl Scouts. I can't think of a hymn that begins OGOD (but then, that doesn't mean much), and I've never seen GRANPA (16D: White-bearded sort) spelled like that... And what about 72A: Third word of many limericks (WAS)? That's a good clue? Who knows. Maybe I'm just SOUR. Perhaps I should end with a limerick that doesn't use WAS as the third word:
On the chest of a barmaid at Yale
Were tattooed the prices of ALE
And on her behind
For the sake of the blind
Was the same information in Braille.