I enjoy an early week puzzle where the theme stands on its own, no revealer needed. Today, we get a set of -IZE words reconfigured as if the last syllable were a separate word, and then the result is clued in a humorous fashion. Thus, "tenderize" becomes 17A: Very soft loaves of bread? (TENDERRYES). The best of the bunch is the last, 57A: "You haven't aged a bit" and "I love that jacket you're wearing"? (SOCIALLIES). Funny because it's true.
It's a nice set of answers because in all cases the letter starting the last syllable is repeated for the new version of the phrase and because there are two examples using -YES and two answers using -IES. I like things to be evenly worked out in my crossword puzzles. Is it too much to ask? Well, no, not too much to ask. But I don't actually think any of these wonderful people are paying that much attention to my little requests.
I'll call out two answers in the fill which I think are really below standard. The first is 10A: Like logs that have been cut (SAWN). That's a lot of work in the clue for an answer that feels a little archaic. I think most people would prefer the form "sawed." It's made up for by the later clue at 33D: Like falling off a log (EASY). It is fun to get a little repetition in clues. The second answer I really didn't like is 52D: One providing great service? (ACER). Just no. The clue is cute, but the answer makes no sense. Nobody every called an outstanding tennis player an "acer." It's minimally better (I guess) than referring to the computer company, but only just.
Fortunately the rest of the puzzle is smooth, even if there aren't any whizbangers. I like crossing TEDTALKS with SKEIN, and BYOB reminds me I want one right now. Certainly much more than a DIETSODA, which I have never been known to take.
No one should be drinking any type of soda (save for soda water as a mixer), much less a DIETSODA. I, too, loved the theme, especially the absurdity of TENDERRYES. I'm not really sure why this one took me so long; it seemed to go along fine, but I guess it wasn't as EASY as some Mondays.