More additions to the list of youngest constructors! Congrats to Duncan and Clara for having their first NYT puzzle published.
I liked how current the theme is. I've only watched two of the four shows, but they're all popular enough that I've heard a ton about each. It was entertaining to give all of them an alternative and valid interpretation. I was SO sure ["Mad Men"?] was going to lead to PITCH ___ when I uncovered P??CH*. I was confused when I finally turned up PSYCHOPATHS, and figuring out the literal interpretation gave me a nice a-ha moment.
HALLMARK STORE was perfect for ["House of Cards?"], too, the clue being an accurate description of the answer.
MUSICAL CHAIRS was a bit of a stretch, since this one was much less literal than the first two. Yes, a throne is a type of chair, but the literality is lost.
I didn't expect PALLBEARERS. It felt like an inconsistency, the lone themer where you really have to stretch your imagination to think of people who are "walking (the) dead." I'm not a fan of inconsistency.
Impressive grid for a debut. I was surprised to see ETUI, since that's a word that older constructors tend to lean on, but other than that, it's a nice clean product. And integrating six pieces of long fill is something experienced constructors rarely do — well done!
Man oh man I'm hoping that Duncan and/or Clara play bridge. It's making a comeback, I tell you! Bridge is great for the mind, emphasizes logical reasoning, teamwork, deduction … oh fine, I'm never going to convince anyone. Sigh.
(A SMALL SLAM is when you bid to get 12 of 13 tricks, and a grand slam is when you bid for 13.)
A fun idea, where three of the four themers worked well for me. Along with grid execution being well above average, I'm looking forward to more from this pair.