I know many solvers who are excited to see Brendan Emmett Quigley's name on the NYT puzzle. I'm one of them. But when I saw seven entries that spanned the grid--each fifteen characters long--I was ready to call it quits.
I'll be the first to admit that I Googled several answers. I also had some help from Don. He's not usually in the room when I solve, but he was tonight...and he knew a couple of things that had me stumped.
Every one of the long answers was a masterpiece...typical BEQ.
17A: It has a fast, easy gait (Tennessee Walker).
19A: Things you enjoy doing (active interests).
29A: Dish with tomato sauce (Spanish omelette).
36A: Area of W.W. II fighting (European Theater).
37A: Like Dacron (crease resistant). Once I had a couple of letters in place, this one was fairly easy.
47A: One working for a flat fee? (real estate agent). I was trying to come up with something clever...like a tow truck driver. Wrong kind of flat...
54A: Has an accommodating spirit (is eager to please).
I didn't have too many wrong answers, although I had an awful lot of blanks for an awful long time. The only wrong answer I remember is 3D: Wedding rentals (tents). I had tuxes...I'll bet more of those are rented than are tents.
With a puzzle like this, I start with the down clues. I would guess that many of you had the same approach. I had a few gimmes...not that they were very helpful.
1D: Spanish 101 verb (estar). I still confuse it with ser when I'm speaking Spanish, but I always get it right in the puzzle.
32D: Longtime "All Things Considered" host Adams (Noah). I know his name because I read a book he'd written, called "Piano Lessons." On a whim, he bought a Steinway piano ($11,000 +) and began taking lessons so that he could play Schumann's Traumerei as a Christmas gift for his wife. He did this in twelve months. I can't speak for any other piano student, but after twelve months of lessons, I was still in the beginner books. Hell, even after three years. Anyway...a good book and a fast read.
33D: Itself, in a Latin legal phrase (ipsa)...as in res ipsa loquitur (the thing speaks for itself). That's not to be confused with ipso facto (by the fact itself).
25D: Drink preference (neat). I don't drink Scotch, but if I did, that's how I'd drink it.
27D: Antique gun (sten). A word I learned from crosswords.
47D: Popular U.S. board game since 1959 (Risk). It was a toss-up between that and Life...so maybe that's more a good guess than a gimme.
43D: Some moldings (ogees). I learned this from the friend who started me on the New York Times puzzle more than thirty years ago. Carpentry was another of his active interests.
Other good clues/answers:
8A: Riddle ender (What am I). But it took me forever to get it.
16A: Still oblivious (no wiser).
21A: Marxist quality? (zaniness). I didn't notice the question mark, so I was thinking of the wrong Marx. Sheesh!
57A: Activity of an organism in response to light, e.g. (kinesis).
5D: Music symbol (breve). Alla breve is a term that's been in the puzzle more than once in the last couple of months.
30D: Reverse movement, of a sort (purl). Clever.
I can hardly keep my eyes open, so I'll wrap this up.
See you tomorrow.