Nine theme answers in a 15 x 15 grid? Is it possible? Certainly, if you get a great deal on those answers. And today's puzzle offers us HALFOFF (24D: Discounted 50% ... or a hint to the answers to the starred clues)!
Mr. DiPietro has come up with eight examples of phrases or idioms where the same four-letter word is repeated twice, and then fills the answer with only one of the words. Thus, 16A: *In rapid succesion, in slang (BANG[BANG]). CRAY[CRAY] is the most modern example, and maybe the least recognizable to folks. The answers are all pleasingly arranged around the outside of the grid, and all of them are strong examples.
I've been wracking my brain to come up with other examples of this sort of thing, but haven't been able to come up with any. So don't go about saying POOH[POOH] to this idea.
|Wherein BALIN resides|
And then you have 55A: In the very recent past (ADAYAGO). Really? Not, say, "an hour ago?" Or "last week?" These sorts of answers are so vague as to be meaningless in response to the clue.
Maybe I'm just JADED. I didn't even fall for 36A: What's found once in a generation? (SOFTG). I did like SPINCYCLE, which is something I do every time I get on my Peloton.