Last Thursday, we were reminded to cross our Ts, and today we have its companion instruction - DOTTHEIS. Each I in the puzzle serves as an I in the Across answers, and as the rebus DOT in the Downs. Very nice.
It made me happy to break into this one with GLAM (Rock genre for Roxy Music). This led to DOGLEG (Sharp bend), OOLALA ("Fa-a-ancy!"), and eventually, to LAREIEXAS (Southern border city in a Larry McMurtry title). I knew it wasn't right as it was, but I didn't stop to think about what, exactly, was going on until I hit "Trendy brunch order" which just had to be AVOCA[DOT]OAST. And that did it.
It's a little odd that POLKA[DOT]S (Spotty pattern) uses the rebus as the word "dot" instead of breaking it across other words, but I like POLKA[DOT]S so much that I don't really mind.
I liked learning that the Boston Mountains are a part of the OZARKS, and the clue "Bird found in the mud?" was a fun way to get EMU. Did you see it hidden in the clue, straddling the words "the" and "mud?" Tricksy cryptic crossover! And speaking of tricky clues, "Game measured by its number of points" (ELK) was another nice one. I thought, Well, lots of games are... but they're talking antlers, not scoresheets.
It was a little surprising to encounter both ASS and SUCKY in the NE, but maybe I'm just a little too old-fashioned on that front.
Overall, a fine Thursday debut.