Boy, this felt great. After a FWOE (Finished With One Error) to start the week and a DNF (Did Not Finish) yesterday (... and yes, I realize that to finish with one error is to not truly finish, but here at Horace & Frances Featuring Colum, we cut everybody a little slack), it was very satisfying to LACERATE this one quickly and cleanly. I got started right away by entering CRIP (1A: Gang member associated with the color blue), MANTA (5A: Powerful ray) (I realize now that it could also have been "gamma,"), and "rhoS" for 10A: Sorority letters (PSIS). From the first two correct answers the entire NW fell almost instantly, and then I worked my way down and around, ending in the SW.
It was all squarely in my wheelhouse, and I can't be the only solver who found certain clues a little easy. Maybe the editors lighten up when a puzzle is so segmented. The NW and SE are quite isolated.
Still, easy though I found it, I still smiled at several of the answers. My favorite might have been the charmingly quaint AHOYTHERE (43A: Ship-to-ship communication). Hah! And just below it, 46A: Dead ringers? (FLIPPHONES). I guess it's true, if even yours truly abandoned his FLIPPHONE for a Pixel 2 last year... "25A: Caesarean section?" was cute for ICAME, but I thought "26D: Ended a phone call?" was a bit of a stretch for BUTTDIALED. And if "tails" and TUXEDOS (28A: Relatives of tails) actually are different in some way, I'm not high class enough to know about it.
I liked the directness of LISTENUP (31D: "Hey!"), and the mini astronomy theme (PTOLEMY, POLARIS) was nice. Loved the old-timey BESOT (21D: Stupefy) and BELIE (48A: Contradict) contrasted against the thoroughly modern NETFLIXANDCHILL (7D: Modern invitation to hook up).
In short, this was full of satisfying fill and very little filler. Being the CLASSICS lover that I am, I'll even accept ILLE (18D: Latin pronoun) with a smile. Everybody's familiar with "Winnie Ille Pu" after all, aren't they?
Really, a lovely puzzle. Pity it was over so fast.
p.s. It's a debut puzzle for both constructors! Congratulations!
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