We often talk about The Turn here at HAFDTNYTCPFCFA. The definition of these terms is in the Glossary to your right, but simply put, the last three 15 x 15 puzzles of the week. It's what I most look forward to in my puzzle solving week, and today's is no exception to the rule. In fact, it might be my favorite theme in a very very long time. It took me a while to figure out Mr. Halperin's ingenious trick, but once I did, I couldn't stop chuckling.
In fact, it was the lowest theme answer that I got first, at 54A: Cows' various glands? (UDDERSANDOTHERS). Dang, I'm laughing out loud right now, looking at that piece of ludicrous flimflam. Beautiful. Each one is a piece of art. 47A: Things that scouts earn badges for? (KNOTSANDWHATNOT) was my least favorite at first, but now I'm finding myself deeply amused.
And how about ALIETALII? Or even better, SETTERSETCETERA...
So hats off, everybody. You'll rarely see a theme so fabulously carried out, especially with four 15-letter answers.
Now, as you might imagine, there is a definite tradeoff. I'm looking at you, VERANDAED. When I had the last four letters in place, I took them out, questioning what I was doing. Others issues include any time a constructor needs to use a _BEAM as an answer, in this case TBEAM. "AWK-ward!" said the Parrot.
I wanted liABLE instead of SUABLE, which is a "huh?" word.
But in other high notes, there are some fun clues. I liked 2D: Fool's gold? (FAKETAN), and 63A: Where the batter eventually goes to the plate? (IHOP). Also, EDEN and XANADUS is a nice pair, although I will point out that it is odd to think of more than once Xanadu.