Condiment in 51-Across
SEL [I'd go with the Mercedes-Benz line]Land surrounded by agua
ISLA [I'd use Isla Mujeres, Mexico]
Just when I had pretty much decided to stop doing Monday and Tuesday puzzles for their tedium, I came across a word new to me: LEATHERLUNGED.
As I filled in 21-Down LARIATS, it occurred to me that the term "lariat" probably came from la reata
, which settlers heard Mexicans use in the Southwest. I looked it up and it does, but it was a kick figuring it out for myself. So easy puzzles are still teachers.
I'm not sure why Mon. & Tue. puzzles are devoid of any cleverness whatever. It is obvious that a clever twist in a clue for an easy word does not have to make the puzzle too hard for neophytes [for 64-Across BEST, instead of "Cream of the crop" go with "Man kind" or if that's too hard "Friend or man type"]. Given the difficulty level of the late week offerings, the same people who solve them must be bored by the early ones. Of course I'm not an editor, so I don't get the feedback, etc., but I'd love to know why the LAT seems to cut off a large segment of its solvers when a little creativity could be more inclusive? Perhaps those who like to see how fast they can solve puzzles may appreciate the easy ones, but that's just a guess; they can, after all, time themselves regardless of the pause it may take to answer a more creative entry.