A nice workout for the little gray cells today, n'est-ce pas mes chers amis? Today's puzzle contains four rebus squares in which [BLACK] and [WHITE] combine to create a GRAY AREA. For example, 67A: "Many a country road" is [BLACK]TOP and 52D: "'Grimms' Fairy Tales' heroine" is SNOW[WHITE]. In the app I use to solve the puzzle, entering [GRAY] in the shared square resulted in a successful solve. It was a nice even mix, too, with black and white alternating in the across and downs throughout the grid.
While I caught on to the rebus squares right away with the EGG[WHITE] / [BLACK]HOLE combination in the northeast, I was duped at first by the very next clue, "One with a title." I tried 'baron' at first, which looked okay with MART above, but it was another kind of title and the answer was OWNER - very nice in deed. "Run for it!" at 5A: also had me going for a while. I didn't figure out that it was that type of clue, whatever that type of clue is called, until I got the answer (SEAT) from the downs.
In other gray matter matters, I learned that BLINDPIG is an alternative name for a speakeasy. I also read about the origins of the speakeasy and the term 'blind pig' in the Wikipedia. Stimulating! I also discovered that one can use TREPID without the prefix 'in.' Who knew? And the clue about THERMOS losing its trademark status in 1963 was interesting, too.
All that erudition and a sense of humor, too? YEAS! "DC reporter" (LOISLANE) is really good. I very much enjoyed "Sole proprietorship?" (SHOESHOP), "What a foul mouth is full of" (SILT), and "Starter course?" (PLANA), but my favorite today was "Air apparent?" (SMOG). Ha!
Also, FILCH deserves honorable mention as fun fill. :)