Good morning to all! I've been somewhat absent from crosswording this past week, as things were very busy round here. Work was crazy, multiple rehearsals for concerts this weekend... you get the picture.
So I felt a little slow as I pored over this Sunday grid. Or was it Mr. Ezersky and his clever cluing? Either way, this puzzle took much much longer than a typical Sunday for me. Was it that way for you also?
There are eight theme answers, with one broken into two parts. The theme is simply adding -ET to the end of standard phrases, and cluing the resulting new phrases wackily. I love 48A: Today's plans: watchin' someone's kids? (SITTINONTHEDOCKET). It's perfect how the verb in the original phrase becomes a gerund noun in the actual answer. The exasperated WHATMAKES / YOUTICKET is laugh out loud funny.
APPLEJACKET and DARNSOCKETS are more neutral for me, while WATSONANDCRICKET is just silly. Pretty fun theme, which took me way to long to cotton on to.
Just a little insight into the difficult cluing today:
1A: Make a bust, say (SCULPT) - oof. What a great start!
72A: Happy companion (DOC) - nice hidden capital there! Took me a long time.
89A: Pie slices might be displayed in one (CHART) - didn't actually fool me, but I was stuck on grAph.
17D: Line on a neck (FRET) - just didn't see what they were getting at.
Some nice words also with XYLEM, BERNIEBRO, MERCH, and RICOTTA.
A fun tough puzzle, nice to see on a Sunday.