Another fun themeless puzzle. I'm a little ambivalent about whether I like themeless puzzles better than their themed cousins or not. On the one hand, when done well, they can be packed with fun answers and tough clues. On the other hand, I love the aha moments of figuring out tricky themes.
Well, we'll leave that argument for another day.
Today, lets acknowledge Mr. Johnson's fine efforts. I broke into the grid in the NE corner with OAR and ELLE as well as TOE. I then took a stab at ISITSAFE, which led to the excellent 16A: Something holding up the works? (EASEL) Hah!
VESPERS is a lovely answer, reminding me of The Name of The Rose (by crossword favorite Umberto Eco). The clue at 28D: Totally screw up? (MISADD) is really something: I had to twist my mind around to get what they were looking for. I am more used to seeing Pangaea than PANGEA, but either is acceptable.
|Happy Baseball Season|
I love love love 23A: Peabrain? (MENDEL). That's a brilliant clue.
Finally, I confused myself by putting in genetICMATERIAL. In fact, nobody has found DNA or RNA on Mars, simply hydrocarbons (i.e., ORGANICMATERIAL). But I had to take everything out of that corner before I could convince myself that the error was in that answer, rather than in REHEARSAL or CEOS.