INITIAL PUBLIC OFFERINGS
Today's theme did not sit particularly well with me. (Sorry Howard.) l guess that the "Initial Public Offerings" title might be playing on an old bit of crosswordese, IPO, but then again, I'm not sure why it would be. (Maybe I'm missing something... wouldn't be the first time!)
Anyway, the idea is that both a full name and the initials of a famous person are included. So we get ABT just before ALICEBTOKLAS (nice tie-in with AROSEISAROSE, btw). And ACC before ARTHURCCLARKE. The initials, however, are clued in a way that is not related to the writer's name, as in "N.Y.C.-based dance troupe" for ABT (American Ballet Theater) (looked it up), and "Org. for the Demon Deacons and Blue Devils" for ACC (Atlantic Coast Conference) (looked it up).
It's interesting that the constructors found six people whose middle initials are almost always included when their names are invoked, but somehow the fact that it was an initial in both the long and short answers troubled me. Also, once you knew the name, you could just drop the initials into the corresponding spot. This might have led to my sub-twenty time, which, for me, is fast for a Sunday.
Outside of my mild disappointment with the theme, I did find things to smile about. ACCURST (Hex'd) is a fun word, and I liked the simple but precise cluing. And I love the term EATS (Grub). "Playing on both sides" was a tricky way of cluing STEREO, likewise "Left on board" for APORT. Both excellent non-QMCs. In the QMC category, "High percentage of criminals?" for USURY took me every single cross (!), and "Mass-produced response?" (AMEN) was hilarious. Also, "Inspiration for a horror movie?" (GASP) was quite good. And for once - finally! - I wasn't fooled by "Northern borders?" for ENS.
To continue Colum's examination of 1-Down would be a downer today so I won't go into it. And if you look too close, you start to see things like EVENER, UAL, and OBES, but it wasn't all bad.
Hope you're having a lovely Sunday. See you tomorrow.