Meanwhile, the NYT chugs along. I always am happy to get to Friday, for the two themeless puzzles which crown the increasing challenge. Today's does not disappoint at all.
I dropped EAVES in as my first entry. Often I find that the down answers in the NW corner are the easiest to begin with. The other easy(ish) answer is often the shortest across answer at the bottom of that section, in this case 28A: "The Gray Lady": Abbr. Then I saw 19A: Tours can be found on it. In a moment of inspiration, I dropped in seInE. Right, but not quite right enough. The correction, LOIRE, came much later.
Scattered entries followed: ALS, LAHTI, SATEEN, hiLL (incorrect!), and then EGAN and NICOLE.
Finally, I figured out a section, in the SE. I very much like 61A: Token reprimand (WRISTSLAP), but the other two longer answers are a little less interesting. Turns out you can really put E- before just about anything. ESCOOTER indeed. I ask you.
At this point, due to that incorrect H at 25A, I couldn't see 8D, even though I knew it ended in ____(Y)OUAGREE. That Y had to be correct, but it came after a U in 30D: Friend or foe (NOUN), which I guessed after getting 41A: A real head-scratcher? (NOOGIE) - a great combination of clues. So I worked my way up from the SW corner.
THESHIRE and HAPPYNOW are fun answers, particularly the latter. There are multiple answers like this one in this grid, the kind of conversational statement answers that are pleasing to come across, often because they're made up of many small words, as in ASISEEIT.
Finally, I got THISGUYGETSIT (fairly late, so not too apt), and then realized it was WOULDNTYOUAGREE. The final two corners fell shortly thereafter. How about 11D: Digital filing service? (MADIPEDI) - one of the best clues of the short year so far.