Today we find a fugitive "hiding" in four theme answers - an ESCAPEE, or, more precisely, an 'SKP,' its phonetic representation. In all four answers the three-letter group crosses word borders (de rigueur in these cases, n'est-ce pas?) In one answer, the fugitive screened itself in DESKPHONES ("Lines at the office?") and in another the rascal took cover in ASKPRICES ("Lowest acceptable offers, in stock market lingo"). But, I can't let Mr. Sivakumar get away with the clue "Willing to accept danger" for RISKPRONE without comment. I don't quite see how someone can be prone to risk when a risk is thing a person takes. I don't want to make a federal case out of it, but the rest of the cluing is by the book, and this one doesn't sing.
As I said, there's fine cluing throughout the puzzle. I especially liked "Wordlessly expressed approval" (NOD) and "[Um ... I'm standing right here] (AHEM). I also enjoyed "Sphere or cube." At first, I entered 'Shape' but it turned out to be something a little more SOLID. It's always good when clues keep you guessing.
Although I don't take one myself, I thought PIERCEDEAR was a nice long answer interestingly shot through with vowels. I prefer a BUFFERZONE if I can get one. The word NEAT brings Auntie Mame happily to mind. I also liked ANKLET, DADBOD, and OUIJA as fill.
In a fun crossword coincidence, Horace was working on a puzzle from the archives over the weekend (one from March 22, 2001 to be exact). He asked me about the first name of actress Swenson from Benson. I NEWT, of course (INGA), but I also commented that I hadn't thought of that show in years. Imagine my surprise when almost the same clue turned up two days and 19+ years later.