Author: Jacob Stulberg
Time Allotment: 20 minutes
Time Left: 4 minutes (+100)
Errors: 1 (+0)
Correct Words: 76/78 (+760)
Final Score: 860
Two days in a row, I think this officially counts as a streak.
Overall I felt really ... meh about this puzzle. I really wasn't loving the theme (I was annoyed 3 of the clues forked up while two forked down), but I must say some of the shorter answers seemed less crosswordese than normal - NAIF, MUFF, AUKS to name a few. I am really not convinced that CO-HEIR is a word, but so be it.
In terms of filling strategy, I had a really hard time in the NE corner (the first square wound up being my only error), and ESAI was my first fill, followed by FAR and ARI which led to MARGARITA (Not to harp on the theme, but the whole Cocktail Fork really bothered me, because it's the only clue/answer combo where a the clue isn't actually the same thing as an answer ... cocktail forks aren't used for alcoholic beverages but for things like shrimp cocktail). ANYWAY - while PALL/PISMO was my only miss, I got really lucky with MONDALE as I had no idea what the CA beach was and I am terrible at US History so it was quite the stab in the dark. Overall though, no puzzle with DOGBERT can really be that bad.