Today I knew just enough answers right off the clues, like APPS, ONICE, REUBEN, ACELA, FREEBIE and JANUS, to get a toehold in each section, and then I kept chipping away at the grid, until I was able to complete the puzzle in just under 25 minutes - a respectable Friday time for this solver. I'm always torn between YEARNINGS to increase my solving SPEEDS and just taking my time on an activity I enjoy. I am always happiest when I avoid FWOE-based FIASCOS.
Anyhoo, to get more ONTOPIC, I liked ITSSOYOU, URBANE and, of course, NERDY. "Running apparel?" for HOSE was clever, as was "Parts of a restaurant's overhead?" (TOQUE) - funny to see 'toque' crossed with TORQUE - you go from cap to whap with the addition of one letter. :) "Lets, say" was a tricky clue for REDOS. I also liked DRIFT for "Meaning" and found "Having the same number of karats , e.g." (ASPURE) delightfully OUTOFLEFTFIELD. And speaking of the unexpected, how about the asymmetrical nature of the grid? I didn't notice it until I was reviewing the puzzle for the review.
I found CADENT for "Rhythmic" a little odd. and while I did get INSIDEBASEBALL for "Esoterica" I didn't really "get" it, if you see what I mean. My only rocky spot, was the answer ROCKIE. Our dear readers know that I am not strong in the sports category, especially when it comes to the names of sports arenas. Additionally, I wasn't sure how to spell AGUILERA, nor was I 100% on Ab ESSE for "absent, in Latin," so my no FWOE goal was briefly INPERIL, but upon mature consideration of the various options (AGUeLERA, ESSi), I settled on the REAL answer. NICEJOB!