Jeff Chen notes:

Beautiful start to the puzzle, the POT ROAST / ABOUT THAT … / TOUGH LOVE / OTHER HALF quartet is so nice. There’s even a TERABYTE running off of it. All of that for just the price of a minor SRS? That’s the way I like a themeless to kick off.

Quite a few other great entries too. I like me a TALL ONE especially after exercise (don’t judge me!), and I have a curious fascination with the BALALAIKA — Eastern European music can have such a cool sound. Throw in ALPHA MALE, BAD RAPS, and SOUND ASLEEP nicely placed next to CATNAP and that’s solid material.

I also liked that Andrew spread his goodies around. Often, I feel like a themeless has all its feature entries concentrated in the corners, and the middle does a workmanlike job of holding the corners together. Nice to get SNOW CRAB, even PARLANCE, EXPEDIA adding a bit of zazz in the middle.

I did have a major pause in the lower left, though. ARIAS crossing ARIOSE felt duplicative, so I looked up the terms. ARIOSE is linked to “arioso,” meaning … “like an ARIA.” I don’t know how many solvers will be bothered by this, but it feels like a big-time no bueno to me. It’s too bad, since that corner otherwise is nice and smooth, with the added bonus of WARHOL, SHOCK, and MOSES. It’s a relatively big corner to fill, and if there hadn’t been that duplication, it would have shined.

The opposite corner demonstrates how tough these innocent-looking biggish corners can be. Given SOUND ASLEEP and RAIN DATE in place, it’s not easy to fill that 5×6 corner smoothly — plural ANNAS isn’t great, and SOAVE was tough for this wine buffoon. (The latter one probably is perfectly fine, just an oddball for us TALL ONE drinkers.)

Overall, too much crossword glue for my taste, given REHEM, CES, SKAT, HELI, NIE, ANNAS, TEN AM (arbitrary time) — about five is where I start to notice the strain. But there was enough good material that it still was an enjoyable solve — besides that big ARIAS / ARIOSE duplication.

1. Yankee fare : POTROAST
9. Order to go : SCAT
13. “I meant to tell you …” : ABOUTTHAT
15. Verona vino : SOAVE
16. A good bawling-out might be an example of it : TOUGHLOVE
17. World leader who’s a judo master : PUTIN
18. “I’m with ___” : HER
19. Word after light or fire : EATER
20. Kendrick and Paquin : ANNAS
21. June honorees: Abbr. : SRS
22. Provision for an outdoor event : RAINDATE
24. Family-friendly diner choice : BOOTH
27. “The Blacklist” network : NBC
28. Followed closely? : APED
29. Some long sentences : BADRAPS
32. Floor support? : YEAS
34. Arrive on the sly : STEALIN
35. Brewski : TALLONE
39. Then : IFSO
40. Kayak alternative : EXPEDIA
41. Big hit : SWAT
44. Spiked punch? : AWL
46. “Napoleon Dynamite” star Jon : HEDER
47. Vernacular : PARLANCE
49. Bud source, perhaps : TAP
50. 16 things in “Don Giovanni” : ARIAS
51. Take up again? : REHEM
53. These, in Toulouse : CES
56. Culture ___ : SHOCK
57. Foreigner’s genre : ARENAROCK
59. Ancient mountain climber : MOSES
60. Instrument with a three-sided body : BALALAIKA
61. Seasonal transport : SLED
62. Show room? : TIMESLOT
1. It may be beaten : PATH
2. Instrument with octave keys : OBOE
3. Museum offering : TOUR
4. Persian, e.g. : RUG
5. Husband or wife : OTHERHALF
6. Statue at Rockefeller Center : ATLAS
7. Opportunity : SHOT
8. Place where people make the rounds? : TAVERN
10. Siesta : CATNAP
11. Play an ace? : AVIATE
12. Flinched, e.g. : TENSED
14. Big data unit : TERABYTE
15. Cross : SPAN
21. Very conservative : STRAITLACED
23. Climber’s tool : ICEAX
24. Cheap shot? : BBS
25. Muesli morsel : OAT
26. One begins “Thou still unravish’d bride of quietness” : ODE
30. Fibonacci, by birth : PISAN
31. Catch on TV’s “Deadliest Catch” : SNOWCRAB
33. Leader of the pack : ALPHAMALE
36. Whimsical : ODD
37. German “never” : NIE
38. Piece in Mr. Potato Head : EAR
41. Jerks : SPASMS
42. Creator of the 1966 underground film “Chelsea Girls” : WARHOL
43. Melodic : ARIOSE
45. Check out, in a rude way : LEERAT
48. Poses : ASKS
49. 1000, familiarly : TENAM
52. Prefix with pad : HELI
53. “When we have shuffled off this mortal ___”: Hamlet : COIL
54. Fashion designer Marc : ECKO
55. Game in which sevens are low : SKAT
58. Aides at M.I.T. and U.S.C. : RAS