Another puzzle, another new theme. Mr. Last has gone fishing in his own grid, and has found seven fish to hook and pull up to the top of their respective Down answers. In 1-Down, for example, "Gym rat's development," the answer ought to be "workout routine," but the word "trout" that can be found spanning both words has been hooked and pulled up to the top, yielding TROUTWORKOUINE. Odd, but pretty cool. I guess that to create such a thing you'd have to first come up with the phrases, then alter them and put them into the grid, then start to build around them. And the fact that he could find seven such phrases that could be worked into a grid symmetrically is kind of amazing. At least to this MOOK.
With the theme running vertically, all of the horizontal space calls out USEME for interesting fill, and so there we find the timely STORMSURGE (Danger for coastal residents), the full PAULSIMON and CANNERYROW, and the full-on French phrase AVOTRESANTE (French toast) ("To your health"). I've heard of "cold fusion," but never COLDFISSION. Is that just what we usually think of as plain old fission?
Favorite clues today included:
27A: It "should comfort the disturbed and disturb the comfortable," according to a saying (ART)
33A: War loser, usually (TREY) - The card game, not the military game.
2D: High pitch, maybe (BALL) - Baseball, not music.
13D: Works with numbers (OPUSES) - Music, not math.
64A: They're full of hot air (DRIERS)
87D: Delightful event? (OUTAGE) - Guffaw.
Things I did not know:
ARGOSY = Flotilla of merchant ships
DESI = Member of a South Asian diaspora
I enjoyed the challenge of figuring out what was going on today. I don't know how they keep coming up with these puzzle theme ideas, but as long as they do, I'll be trying to solve them. :)