It's been a lovely week for reviewing, perhaps in part because I got assistance with the first two days. Today, I solved with Phoebe, whom you all met in writing on Tuesday. You know your daughter has chops when she answers 13A: Ancient allegory paralleled in the plot of "The Matrix" (PLATOSCAVE) off of PL_T_____. Not only has she an understanding of the allegory, but she's seen the movie, and she also figured it out with almost no crossings in the grid.
There's a lot of excellent long answers, including 5D: Statement of inevitability (NOTIFBUTWHEN), a great phrase. There's something about multi-word phrases as answers in a crossword that is very satisfactory to me. Thus, IMEANCOMEON is also very pleasing. INEEDAHAND is slightly less aesthetic, but only because it feels less colloquial.
20D: Hardly a test of one's memory (OPENBOOKEXAM) is certainly true, but in my experience, those tests were usually much more challenging, because the professor could force us to delve deeper when pure memory wasn't the most important thing. BENTOBOXES and ANGORACATS are two very nice answers.
But perhaps my favorite clue of the year comes at 24D: Dingy kitchen items? (OVENTIMERS). I'm still chuckling as I look at that.
There was an undertone of sadness in this puzzle, what with 14D: Like many minor-key compositions (SOMBER), 25D: Is lachymose (WEEPS), and 32D: Place of drudgery (SALTMINE). Not to mention SOBSTORIES. Even 28D: Brings down (DIMS) has a sense of being slightly depressing. And, wow, also HALS's painting of a "Young Man With a Skull!"
But let's not end on a down note! There's a nice reference to Amanda Gorman, POET extraordinaire, and ice cream. So there's something to DEVOUR.
Tomorrow, Horace takes over again. Let's see if he can find someone to take over reviewing duties...