Happy Boxing Day, Dear Reader! What's that? You're not British? Well, then, happy day after Christmas. I hope you were able to WORKOUTTHEBUGS in today's clues in order to finish with a clean solve.
In the beginning, for me, the problem was not so much the theme as it was the Spanish! "Number of sides on a sign reading 'ALTO'" (OCHO), took me quite some time to understand. And shortly after, we hit POR (____ favor) and HUEVO (Product from un ave). Add in the uncommon DURA mater, the gross IDEATE (Form thoughts), and the tricky "Java activity" (CODING), and there's some real opportunity for ERROR as we start out. Once things did fill in, I quite enjoyed the clue for USOTOUR (Entertainment with a private audience?).
But back to the theme - I tend to enjoy puzzles with tricks in the clues, and as the revealer reveals, today we had to "work out the bugs." So for "One wearing chapstick, perhaps," the task was to remove the "tick" to leave "One wearing chaps, perhaps." Who might that be? A HORSEBACKRIDER, of course. :)
I liked the two central questions that left only single letters in the clues - "Blouse and broach, perhaps" (PUBLICHOUSE) and "It has many beet and beef options" (TRUEFALSETEST). The latter is a bit forced, and the T and F are essentially the same as "true" and "false," but still, I enjoyed the extreme reduction. Just like I enjoyed the complete elimination of one word in "Pop fly" (SOFTDRINK), and the jump from one pole to the other in "Antarctic coordinate" (NORTHPOLE).
So the theme was fun and it existed in both dimensions (Across and Down), which I like.
In other areas, I chuckled at BOOZE (Sauce), "Record speeds, for short" (RPMS), and "One hanging around Queen Elizabeth?" (PEARL). I didn't know BOCCE was a Special Olympics event, nor that Hermann HESSE wrote "The Glass Bead Game." To give you an idea of how the talk was at our Christmas dinner table, EAZYE came up in conversation, HESSE did not.
I hope you are having a lovely weekend, regardless of the holidays you celebrate, and I hope you enjoyed the puzzle.