Merry Christmas! I made it through the entire week getting the review done super early, and look what Christmas did to me. I blame having family stay with us.
On the other hand, it was family what helped me solve the puzzle. So I guess I can blame them for getting two squares wrong. We had PHOneAPPS at 1A: Things you might snap on, nowadays (PHOTOAPPS). We weren't incorrect, as such. And eWW seemed reasonable for 5D: Pained expression (OWW), as did nESS for TESS Holliday. I have not heard of this individual, so photo is included below.
Meanwhile, what is up with the grid shape? Doesn't it look like an old princess dial phone? Or alternatively, the Liberty Bell? There were no indications that this was an important piece of the construction, but I liked the way it looked.
It also made for some lovely long answers in the across areas. 12A: Welcome sign of spring (SHORTSWEATHER) made me confused as I parsed it as "short sweather." Did they mean a sweater with short sleeves? But it became more clear, thankfully.
I also liked GODFORBID above OOHIMSCARED. By the way, who knew there were RHINOs in Java? I didn't. Clearly. But now I do. I imagine I will forget again before the next time it shows up in the puzzle.
And the final three puzzle spanning answers at the bottom were reasonable. MEGACORPORATION is very good, and ELENADELLEDONNE merits notice, for certain. SLEEVELESSDRESS is mostly notable for having a lot of Ss and Es, so it fits well at the bottom of the puzzle.
My favorite answers were 18A: Fly far, far away? (TSETSE) and 15A: Writer whose initials, when doubled, become another answer in this puzzle (TSELIOT).
Fun week! I hope you had a good one, and enjoy the holidays.