It's been a good week both vacation-wise and crossword puzzle-wise. Today's solve was sort of steady and non-stop. My only difficulty really came from putting in OPERACloak (is that a thing? apparently it is) rather than OPERACAPES. The clue does not give a hint as to singular or plural. I more frequently notice clues that indicate a plural but the answer is a group noun without an -S at the end.
I started out with 2D: Nipple ring? (AREOLA), confirmed by SAT and ALIT. It's one of my favorite ways to start a chunky white square grid like this, with the 3- and 4-letter answers that sit at the bottom of the NW corner. 1D: They can lead to long sentences (COMMAS) is an excellent non-QMC clue. 1A: Rolls dough, perhaps? (CARPAYMENT) was a tough get. I was thinking some sort of counterfeiting operation.
|Jules et Jim|
I was unable to exit the area however. I suspected YOUHEARDME was going to be something along those lines, but didn't feel comfortable putting it in. And 9D: Michelangelo, e.g. (NINJATURTLE) is such an excellent answer and vague enough clue that I didn't recognize which direction to go in, at least until I started the NE corner and ended up with JETSKIS.
In the SW corner, 35D: Positive impression (GOODVIBE) is a very modern answer. Nowadays I hear the word "vibe" used in all sorts of ways. Back in my day, we never thought of using it that way. Kids these days.
I like 28A: What a duck might be (BATHTOY) and 31A: Climb the social ladder, in a way (MARRYUP). And as a final note, 51D: Results of some successful defenses (PHDS) is excellent.
Well, that's it for me this week. Back to Horace tomorrow. Have a great weekend!