But enough about me (Bet you never thought you'd hear me say that!), let's talk about the puzzle. And let's start with the contradictory pair of grid-spanners running through the middle: RATTLESNAKEBITE and LETSTHINGSSLIDE. I like both, but if you do get the first, don't be someone who does the second. And remind me never to go hiking in the desert. I want to avoid THEPALEHORSE.
In other topics, didn't you love "Component of three of the five French 'mother sauces'" (ROUX)? I thought lait at first, and then oeuf, but no. A roux is used in Béchamel, Espagnole, and Velouté. The other two are Hollandaise and Tomate. Selon Escoffier, bien entendu.
Nice to see my generation represented in XERS (Group portrayed in "Slacker" and "Reality Bites," familiarly), "Sudden inspirations" was a great clue for GASPS, and as for TUNAMELTS (Classic diner orders), well, they've been mentioned and now I want one!
I liked all the mentions of IPA, MEAD, and BEER, but I think with the way I'm feeling, I might just stay SOBER tonight. Frannie and I, for many years, got together with Colum and his family to celebrate the New Year, but for the second year in a row, we'll be on our own. As for the rest of you, I hope you have a lovely celebration wherever you are.
Every day for nearly two years, the numbers of infected and dead displayed on the New York Times website have reminded us of how terrible the pandemic has been and continues to be for so many people. And for those not directly affected by illness or death, there has been the disruption of work, routine, and normal socializing. I know I'm not saying anything revolutionary here, but still I can't help hoping aloud that we can regain some sense of normalcy in 2022. But whatever the state of the world, I hope things ALIGN for you in the best possible way, and that life gets a little EASIER for all of us.
Happy New Year.