ASI WAS saying just yesterday, I much prefer split answers whose clues refer to another clue to be placed in order. So then, why was I fine with 21D and 13D (NAKED / EYE)? Because I got to 21D first. A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, as Ralph Waldo Emerson said. As it turns out, he could have been AROUNDTHEGLOBE, at least for seven years at the end of his life.
The theme is simple: three phrases, common in the English language, where the last word is also the name of a well-known US newspaper. The clue is then worded with the newspaper in mind, hilarity ensues. I love UNDERTHESUN - it's where the desk is, because the newspaper is on top of it. And BEHINDTHETIMES works as well.
So a cute theme, but if you're only going to have three theme answers, the rest of the puzzle better be strong.
And Mr. Vincent does not disappoint. I knew things were on the right track with Cal Ripken, Jr. and ORIOLE. The grid is RIFEWITH fun answers (that being one of them). I love TRUEDAT, UNCLESAM, and the beautiful AEGEANSEA. I have been there but not for some twenty years.
Did our readers know that OPRAH was named for a person from the Book of Ruth? Not I. That's a nice piece of trivia and a new way of cluing her name.
Some might wince at ZEBU, but I think all the crosses were reasonably straightforward. Although I can imagine some looking at ATO_ and not getting that the answer was in three parts. I had never heard of TOTIE Fields. But otherwise, I found nothing to get too upset over.