Another piece of evidence to be placed in the file marked: Crossword Puzzle Constructors - Not Like the Rest of Us! Things were bopping along in today's solve. I had gotten the NW corner without difficulty, including the lovely 20A: What you're doing right now (SOLVING), and with the first 5 letters of 17A in place, I glanced at the clue. "Translation of the Latin phrase "ceteris paribus"." Well, I thunk to myself, I know that. It means "All things being equal." Only that didn't fit.
No problem! It's Thursday. Time for a rebus, and the obvious place was in the last square, so I obligingly popped in ALLTHINGSBEING=.That equal though. How could it fit into the down answer? What's the clue there? 13D: Traveling between the poles? Hmmmm. Could they be referring to an electrical current, such as AC/DC? No, that wouldn't have an equals sign. Time to work on the crossings.
ELI and LOGIN were quick answers, and I tried pHEW at 9D: "Barely made it!" (WHEW). I raised an eyebrow at the P, thinking that might have to change before the end. But now I had OHLOOK, and that made 13D clear. SK=NG! Huh? Why are the two Is sideways? Is that a commentary on skiing in general? Mr. Newton's ability at skiing? Meanwhile, I had no idea what 8D: "____careful, will you?" should be. Seeing the W, I put in an S. "So be careful, will you?" Seemed to make sense. And swELLS! Sure. Why not.
Um, because it doesn't answer the clue, that's why not. But we're getting diverted from the point here. That's just why I ended with two errors...
The rest of the puzzle went along. SEPARATEBUT= crossing good old Kristin W=G. Still don't know why the Is are sideways, but whatever.
In fact, the revealer at 39A took some time to figure out, because I had put in GANGSTer Paradise, and when I corrected it to GANGSTAS (getting the excellent 33A: What the sun and Sunoco have in common (GAS) in the process), suddenly I saw HASHTAG.
And the other shoe dropped. I was supposed to put a pound sign in at the end of the clues, and the equal sign would cross the two Is: =II --> #! That's some next level stuff right there.
Let me just remark on some excellent C/APs here:
1A: Product that's available on tap? (APP) - not Ale or iPa.
44A: Thank you for waiting (TIP) - brilliant non-QMC. Love it!
11D: White noise? (LONGI) - for goodness's sake. How many times will I fall for this sort of thing?
45D: What takes a toll? (ONEAM) - this is the most ludicrous clue I've come across in quite some time, and I adore it.