I know I'm on a great week to review when I get Ms. Lempel (and I had Mr. McCoy yesterday!). Her puzzles are always smooth and fun to solve, and today's did not disappoint.
It's such a simple idea, it seems like it must have been done before. Standard phrases interpreted anew because the first part is a synonym for giving a bad review. 57A: Bash an Alex Haley classic? (PUTDOWNROOTS) was my favorite. What a great twist on a common phrase! And how ludicrous, as those of us who watched the TV miniseries in the 1970s will agree. LeVar Burton, am I right? Can I get an Amen? Or at least a Reading Rainbow?
The other theme answers weren't quite as amusing, and two of them relied on brand names for their punch line, but they're all solid nonetheless. And there five total themers in a 15 x 15 puzzle, which is impressive.
Other things I liked included SASHA Obama. With PAPA and POTUS close by, I think Ms. Lempel is signaling her nostalgia for a better time. Also added to that is GORES and BOBDOLE. We were all so innocent in the 1990s. I also enjoyed AIRKISS, and of course, BLTS.
Enough YAK. I'm done.