Please forgive the lateness of my review. Yesterday was Bastille Day, and we went out for a nice French dinner with friends. It was all going quite well until I ordered one more bottle of wine...
Vive la France!
Anyway, this puzzle went along swimmingly until all I was left with was the NE corner, which I only just now finished with Frannie's help. Not remembering DOANS (8D: Popular backache remedy) and not knowing SEAOATS (13D: Beach grass that prevents erosion) made things difficult. And I couldn't think of DISCUS (8A: Event featured in every Summer Olympics) until I had "scu" in place. I like that one. And I also liked CASTANETS and UPSTAIRS (12D: Flight destination?) Tricky!
The center section has staggered long answers, which I kind of think of as one of Mr. Berry's trademarks. Today they are all serviceable answers, but not particularly scintillating.
Realizing that TUFFET would be the answer to "45A: Short-legged item of furniture" was amusing. As was the SHAW quote "Hell is full of musical amateurs." SCREENER is weak, but GOODTOGO was good. TOETAGS (35D: IDs tied to one digit) was a little bleak, but HOCK, and SCRAP, and HEREAFTER, and STARSYSTEM were all good.
Overall, it was a pretty smooth affair. Only a few bits of SCREENER and ORES to hold things together.
What would the crossword world do without ORE or ORES? Getting SILVERLININGS off of the S was a major bonus in solving. I too had a lot of difficulty in the NE with DOANS/DISCUS, in large part because I guessed pEAOATS.
DOANS thankfully went right in for me, so that corner wasn't too bad; always nice thinking of ALYSSA Milano, IMO. PIPES is great and I liked SWORE and its clue, too, even though it employed a question mark. HARBORMASTERS was my favorite of the great triple stack in the middle. ONTAPE is questionable, though. I mean, what is this, 1987? Smooth Friday. pEAOATS?!?! That would be some cross, plant-wise.
I forgot to mention that GREASE went right in - too easy - but it could have had a slightly more funny clue, if you know what I mean.Delete