Happy birthday to Frannie! I hope your day is as funny and clever as you are.
You certainly got a fun themeless puzzle for your special day. I have to assume that the seed for this grid are the crossing answers MOZAMBIQUE and VELAZQUEZ. I don't think you could chance into those entries. I love the trivia clues for both of them. Just for completeness' sake, the other countries with all 5 vowels are Democratic Republic of the Congo, Dominican Republic, and Equatorial Guinea, which manages to do it all in the first word.
So many good long entries today: LAKEGENEVA, SURFTHENET, CURRYFAVOR, and SUPERSONIC, to name a few. I like the word PRESCIENT as well.
I need to learn my chemical symbols. My first reaction to 25A: As seen in chemistry class? (ARSENIC) was "astatine," whose symbol is At. It's a fine clue though, with the hidden capital. But on a Friday, one's thoughts quickly turn to cleverness rather than straightforwardness.
|Catherine OHARA and Eugene Levy have been together in a lot of things|
Another sort of cleverness comes with pairings like 3D: Close (NIGH) and 18A: Close (SHUT). They look the same, but they don't sound the same. Even better when the two entries cross.
Then there's the sort of clue that seeks to go into the gutter, but actually doesn't. 64A: Its website has a "Fantasy" page (ESPN) is a good example. Our previously prolific commenter Huygens was wont to bemoan a lack of "blue" cluing, but here's one for you, sir!
Nothing really to complain about today, which is nice. I like the 10 Cs, the 3 Zs, the Q and the multiple Vs. Scrabble has its place in the crossword puzzle.