For the past couple years, Frannie and I have had the pleasure of talking with Mr. Haight at the ACPT. He is a nice guy, and a funny guy. He's also a constructor who likes to play with the crossword form and push at its boundaries. The first time I met him, I confessed that I was a crossword blogger, and we discussed one of his "stunt puzzles" in which two large I-shaped groups of black squares were used as a letter in all answers that touched them. Later that night, I went back and re-read my review of that puzzle, and found that I had nearly SAVAGED it. Unfortunately, he read it too, and the next day when we met again, I felt like a heel. It's funny, because looking back on that puzzle now, I think the concept is kind of cool. Oh well... sorry, Bruce.
In addition to the fun theme, we get four chunky corners, and some decent seven-letter fill in the downs. I particularly enjoyed PRSTUNT (3D: Cheap way to get media attention) (and interesting, coming so close after last weekend's "prnightmare"), PRIVYTO (41D: In on), and, believe it or not, LEADORE (45D: Galena or cerussite). What can I say, I'm a sucker for geology.
We also get some "glue," as Jeff Chen politely puts it. ESPIED (22A: Spotted) always feels a bit forced, and then there's ATTA, ETTE, DOO, UTAHN (is this real?), and OMRI (14A: Father of Ahab in the Bible) (really!? I don't think I've ever heard that before). And isn't it odd that SLIM (44A: Like a long shot's chances) gets almost the exact same clue that it had on Sunday. Weird.
1A: "____ Don't Lie" (2006 Shakira hit)" (HIPS) - B. I don't know the song, but from the title, I kind of wish I did. Maybe I'll download it.
Favorite: DUELS (25D: Pacers' engagements?) - Hah!
Least: ITD (64A: "____ be my pleasure") - Obvious glue.
Overall, I enjoyed this. The theme was clever, and sometimes that's all it takes. :)