A change is gonna come! So sang Sam Cooke, and we can only hope that his words will ring true soon. Soon, but not today. For once again, you are stuck with me blogging this review of a Friday themeless by Mr. Gulczynski.
I loved this puzzle. So much excellent fill and some excellent clues. Let's dive in, shall we?
There's a sort of theme feeling with the three long colloquial across answers at 19A, 36A, and 53A. I'm a fan of these sorts of phrases: they have a fresh feeling to them, especially when each can stand on its own without some sort of stem in the clue. You also get IMALLSET as a mini-addition to that collection.
4D: The "king of kings," per a famous sonnet (OZYMANDIAS) will surely get a nod of recognition from Horace. It's a great poem and looks excellent in the grid. Look on my works, indeed.
I feel sure that 31A: Mentally exhilarating experience (HEADTRIP) and 41A: Conclusive proof provider (ACIDTEST) were connected in the constructor's head. At least the second word of the first answer and the first word of the second answer.
Elsewhere, BATFLIPS brings to mind the baseball playoffs which are occurring right now. I saw a couple of pretty blatant examples of this act in the highlights of the Braves-Dodgers game from last night.
1A: Graduation props? (HONORS) is amusing, and I smiled at the pairing of 47A: Jazz fan, presumably (UTAHN) and 58D: Half of a jazz duo (ZEE). I must be getting better at recognizing this sort of thing because I barely batted an eyelash in entering the latter. Probably because I already had the Z in place. I also liked 25D: What can come before long (ERE) - a nice way to make a bit of classic crosswordese fresh again.
Well, another review has come and gone. I hope you found something edifying in it.
A steady solve without too many snags. UTAHN came in slowly, though, and I didn't even think of sports until it was completely filled in through crosses. ACIDTEST brings to mind "The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test" by Wolfe, a book that I read a few decades ago and remember enjoying. I am not familiar with OZYMANDIAS, but perhaps I should look that poem up. I've never heard of the British slang AGGRO, which is odd as I watch a fair amount of British TV. I also didn't know of Jan STEEN, but all of the crosses are fine. This ran slightly more difficult for me than a normal Friday.
I did enjoy seeing OZYMANDIAS in the grid, but if I had to pick just one effete, British romantic poet from the early 19th century who spent the last years of his all-too-short life in Italy, it would be Keats.
I, too, enjoyed the "chatty" nature of the feature entries. A very enjoyable themeless.