My time: 16:15, close but no cigar.
A satisfyingly semi-tough puzzle by Alan Abesfeld. The theme is cute, replacing less-than-hyperbolic words in films with more "uplifting" words. So Ordinary People becomes SPECIAL PEOPLE, My Fair Lady is now MY AWESOME LADY, and of course, there's AS GREAT AS IT GETS. The only one I would change is My Fair Lady, because here "Fair" doesn't mean so-so, it means "beautiful."
"Madly for ADLAI" is a hilarious campaign slogan.
"The Gaels of the NCAA" are IONA. This is because Iona is a college in New Rochelle, New York, and their mascot is the Gael, and that's because the college shares a name with Iona, which is an island off the Ross of Mull, which we learned on Tuesday! Heh. Ross of Mull.
For "having trouble deciding" I had _OR_ left and I couldn't get past how much it evoked *A OR B. It is, of course, TORN.
The Kaaba in Mecca is a giant CUBE. Here's a picture.
Sure, sure: SHEB Wooley was a Western actor and sung "The Purple People Eater," but the only important thing to know is that he is probably the man who voiced the Wilhelm scream! AAAHHOHHH!
Long-haired sex god Romanian ILIE Nastase was a number one tennis player through the early seventies, but as always, Wikipedia has the real goods: he wrote novels in French!
I've seen, long ago, the book Palindromania, but haven't heard of Jon AGEE; however, the fill __EE made it pretty obvious to guess. Having seen some of his work, now I want to read the lot!
NAS, again. "Hip Hop is Dead" this time.
Clever clues: "Think Piece?" is BEAN; "beats quickly, in a way" is RACES and you see afterward that "beats" refers to heartbeats, not games; "slide presentation?" is AMEBA; "artist who went dotty" is SEURAT, obviously.
My time: 6:43 . -- Benjamin Kramer serves us up an ace of a puzzle with this VOLLEYBALL-loving grid. The themed answers LIP SERVICE, th...
My time: 11:43 . -- Today we are treated to a themeless by Sam Ezersky. It's nothing jaw-dropping, but it's a solid Saturday. ...
My time: 17:47 , just one minute too slow for the record! -- Ross Trudeau collected a series of cryptids from divers geographical areas ...