With regards to our widespread readership (might I even hazard "global?"), I was amused by Horace's comment yesterday that he mostly thinks of myself and our other stalwart commenter, Huygens. I, too, think predominantly of Horace and Frances when I write. I also think of the crossword constructors, fondly for their efforts to keep me entertained, and with awe when a puzzle is particularly well crafted.
Today's puzzle is a double debut for Ms. Friedman and Mr. Weisblat, and so I send a happy AHOY to them. It's always nice to have new names and faces at the top of my iPad. Their offering takes the well known 'N'Sync hit BYEBYEBYE (honestly, I barely know it at all, but I'm sure I'd recognize it if it came on my radio, just before I switch to another station...), and uses it as a revealer for three other phrases which start with the sound "bye" but spelled differently.
All three theme answers are solid, particularly BICURIOUS. In addition, our intrepid constructors work in some nice long answers, particularly PHILOMENA, an outstanding and very moving movie starring the ubiquitous Dame Judi Dench. I also liked 10D: Things to keep on hand to prevent burns? (OVENMITTS).
Does RABBI count as bonus theme material?
I am less enthused by NOTAR and the very odd NOTPASS. Seems a stretch, as does LOOTBAG. Is this a meaningful phrase? Moneybags, certainly. Meanwhile, there's a bit too much DII ELIS SSNS and the atypical singular TONG for my taste. But overall, it's a solid effort, and I'd hate to discourage anyone from continuing to work at this form of entertainment that I do every day.