A big DNF for me today. I got stuck literally forever in the south east and decided to give up. I would like to say that if I didn't have to write the review today and could have taken more time with the puzzle, I could have solved it, but when I saw WORLDSERIESRING for "Band since 1922" I knew that it wasn't true. I would never have guessed that in a million years. Well, maybe I could have guessed it with most of the crosses, but there was too much I didn't know in that quadrant. I did not improve matters by confidently and erroneously confusing Mario Vargas LLOSA with Federico García Lorca. Dumb. That also meant that I was never going to get LLAMA, and so on. I didn't think to spell out I in ACTONE for "Play starter." Derp. THONGS never once crossed my mind for "Summer slip-ons." I call them flip flops. To sum up, that section was the perfect storm of weak topic areas for this solver: sports, musicals, and vocabulary variants. :|
On the upside, I did get TRACEEELLISROSS, even with no prior knowledge of her. The triple E's in her name are sweet. I thought TELEVISIONPILOT was well clued.
I've already ended my feud with France, and I quite enjoyed "Homme land?" (TERRE). In other foreign fill, I also enjoyed the complicated parsing necessary to understand the clue "Die on one side of Italy?" (SEI). I enjoyed HOWODD and "Some causes of brain freeze" (ICEES), the latter, as a puzzle entry only.