I thought I was in the groove dropping answers like RATPACK, EBENEZER, and GANGSTA right in. That gave me the false impression that this puzzle was going to be straightforward, instead, in the end, it took me for a SCRAPE round to Dinsdale's place. Things really blew up in the northwest with KABLOOEY (Bad way to go) crossing ABUDHABI and OLGA, amid other uncertainties. I only just now understood 4D. "Giant competitor" (PADRE) on reviewing the clues.
I spelled GROMeT wrong, leaving me with LEA_eN for "Show immediately preceding another," a clue I had trouble parsing. Other NEMESES included NBAJAM, ASWAN, ADOANNIE, and NOSLOUCH.
Happily, I am not familiar with the term NIGHTMAREFUEL, but I was able to guess the nightmare part pretty quickly. EXOTICA and XRATED really SOUPED up the mid section. I liked LUKEWARM and TASTEBUD, too.
GROAN for "Express stress, in a way" I thought was way off base. Not unpossible, of course, just SEWNON interesting, nor apt.
Nice review. I never heard of ADOANNIE, trying (after a few crosses) iDOANNIE, which made more sense to me. But then after getting the NBA of NBAJAM, I changed it with a fair amount of uncertainty. ABUDHABI took a few crosses for me, too. ZEKE is someone we don't see too often in a NYT grid, and I'm happy to say I dropped it right in. I didn't know of the NELL reference; I would have preferred a Jodie Foster-themed clue for that. I agree with Frannie on GROAN and on the EXOTICA/XRATED cross.
Nell was the first movie I saw with the woman I would one day marry. Boy, was that a bad movie. I prefer the Dickens reference.Delete
I won't get into why I enjoyed the movie, since this is a family blog.Delete