A rather normal Thursday today. The official line is that Thursday simply needs to be more challenging than Wednesday and less challenging than Friday, and, for me, the first half of that objective has been met. This took me almost three minutes longer than yesterday's puzzle. But we often get a little something extra on Thursdays, so when we don't, it's a little bit of a let-down. But then, I suppose this is an appropriate way to celebrate a year that we also hoped would be a little better than it was.
So what's all the non-fuss about? Different ways that XXX can be interpreted - as "adult" material, as the Roman number thirty, as kisses (at the bottom of a letter, say), or as a symbol for moonshine. Not a bad set, really. I don't know why I'm complaining. :)
The rest of the grid is sprinkled with contemporary entries like HATERADE (Virulent negativity, in modern parlance), STAYWOKE (Social justice catchphrase), and COEXIST (Popular bumper sticker of the 2000s). And it oozes attitude with IBET, OHWOW, OHYEAH, BEATSME, and NOPE. Those are balanced out with the more staid THERAVEN (Classic poem set in "bleak December"), TATAMI (Japanese mat), and TROUPE (Traveling performers).
Some good clueing in "Fire starters, for short" (PYROS), "Animal, vegetable or mineral" (NOUN), and "Gentleman from Genoa" (SIGNOR).
In the end, it's a fine Thursday. We'll see tomorrow if it meets the second half of that time requirement.