This theme made me smile. Old-fashioned phrases HEAVENSTOBETSY, GEEZLOUISE and GOODGOLLY MISSMOLLY are clued with the more modern "Omigosh, girl!," "Dang, girl!," and "Wow, girl!" Pretty fun, if you ask me, but I'm not the only one - even the puzzle is smiling through its black squares.
|Short for "Fragmentation hand grenade." Who knew?|
The old/new vibe was evident in the fill, too, with MAHLER and IGOR Stravinsky going head to head with Demi LOVATO and TAYLOR Swift, but for the most part, the modern lingo won out. Witness DEETS (Specifics, in slang), TOTES ("Uh, yeah!"), BFFS (Inseparable buds), and POSSE (Crew) (is this still considered modern?). Well... FSTOP is decidedly passé now... but BARCAR (Place for meals on wheels) is timeless, right? What I wouldn't give to be nursing a drink on the Thalys running between Paris Nord and Utrecht Centraal... sigh. Stupid covid.
The puzzle has left-right symmetry and is extra tall - 14x16, and it has that smiley face. How can you not like it?! Of the longer (7- and 10-letter) Down answers, NETCORD (Place for a sensor in tennis) is the weakest. BLESSES (Says a prayer over) is slightly better, REDSPOT (Jupiter has a "great" one) and ROBOTIC (Herky-jerky, as movements) are both good, ESTATESALE (Event for antique lovers) is fine, and SCAPEGOATS (They're not really to blame) gets the best clue of the bunch. Which isn't really saying much, but then, it's only Tuesday. And speaking of clues, and Tuesday, how'd you like "One who takes a bow before success rather than after?" (EROS). That's "bow" as in "bow and arrow," not "take a bow." And what about "It's just an act" for LAW. That's a good one. And it kind of goes with "Defense org.?" (ABA).
The one clue I didn't particularly love was "Gently sting, as with cold" for NIPAT. It just didn't seem right to me, and the "as with cold" only made it more confusing. I suppose it could be supported by "Jack Frost nipping at your nose," but I still don't think it works as it is. What'd you think?
Overall, though, I enjoyed this one, and it's always nice to start the day with a smile.