It's been a long time since we had a good old triple stack puzzle like this one. It used to be that quad stacks were the ultimate in constructing, and then apparently Mr. Shortz put the kibosh on them for a while. When I first started doing the daily puzzles regularly some... [checks on the site for past posts] ...um, some seven years ago (?!) I would regularly DNF those puzzles. I found it frustrating to work through all of the tiny crossing answers, many of which seemed obscure, and sometimes downright unfair, just to get to the 15-letter answers.
Well, those times are long past. Just doing puzzle after puzzle makes the shorter answers more obvious. My usual strategy is to glance at the long across answers to see if any of them are apparent off of the clue (none today), and then just work my way through those short crossing answers until something becomes apparent.
Today, I got ILEA, SHE, EEL, RIPA, and TESS off of the clues, although not all on the first pass. In fact I made my first real purchase on the grid in the center W section. Much of this section was pretty straightforward, except for TIEWRAP (I had nothing for a long time, then TInWRAP before taking the N out) and the funny 29D: For whose sake? (PETES).
Nice piece of trivia about VICTORIASSECRET, and SEALEDENVELOPES makes me both happy to think about the Oscars, and sad because how could there even be Academy Awards this coming year?
Other fine clues include 41D: Some small Asian exports (BONSAIS) - I was expecting a car reference, and 51D: Three-time World Cup champion (PELE) - I was expecting a country. I even tried Peru, even as I was convinced this could not be correct. After Googling, I see I was right - Peru has won none.
WINPLACEANDSHOW is how I feel about the turn this week. The Thursday was the winner, the Friday placed, and the Saturday came in a very respectable third.