Well, Dear Reader, today we drove from just south of Paris up to Utrecht, parked the car, then took a train to Amsterdam and a tram to our AirBnB. I tried to get the review done before we left, but we had to leave ample time for driving through Antwerp (not recommended), and for cramming in as much of the last French breakfast (highly recommended) that we would eat before leaving the country. All this to say that the review is not being published quite as early today. Het spijt me.
In fact, before we left this morning, I could not even finish the puzzle. I got everything except for the AUDI square, which came as soon as I opened it up just now. Perhaps it was seeing the logo over and over again in my rear view mirror all day! We've driven a lot in Europe, and nine times out of ten when a car zooms up behind you and flashes its lights, it's an AUDI. It's never an OPEL. Those drivers always seem to be just struggling to keep the thing going. (Just kidding! We had an OPEL rental one year and I loved it!) And do they even sell KIAs in Europe? I haven't seen any!
So about the puzzle - everybody likes a rebus, am I right?! Even after getting the theme (with R[OPEL]ADDER), I was slowed down by the revealer COMPACTCARS (38A: Easy-to-park vehicles ... or what can be found four times in this puzzle) because I confidently entered "subcompactS," and tried oh so hard to make it work. COMPACTCARS is much better, of course, because it describes the rebus squares perfectly.
Lots of quality fill today - ACCLAIM (1A: Praise), FRAILTY (14A: Weakness), AF[FORD] with its interesting clue (1D: Meet the expense of) (I think I had "buy" here for a bit), DIRTCHEAP (21D: Bargain-priced), and ESPOUSE (68A: Support, as a cause), to name several. I liked the cute clues on LEASHES (62A: Reins cats and dogs?) and RNA (15A: Cellular carrier?), and CRU (2D: Word on a magnum) is nicely reminiscent of our recent time in Bordeaux. Which reminds me of another good clue - 22A: Got off the bottle (WEANED). Hah!
I'm not going to DANCEAROUND a decision today, because it's pretty much an OPENANDSHUT case of a solid "Thumbs up!"