NYT 5:22 ... SUN 3:32 ... LAT 3:07 ... CS 2:00 ... WSJ 6:56 ... BEQ 4:04
Only the Big Two tonight as I'm going out for some Christmas cheer... I thought BEQ's NYT themeless had taken me longer than it did, so stuck was I in the north and east for a while. I had tentative guesses of IMP and AKELA next to each other at 34D and 30D (AKELA is "Jungle Book"-related, right? ELF and BALOO were correct), and when I deleted those the whole thing fell into place. By the way, as a professional musician, I was not aware that VOLANTE could be used in a musical context.
I did Karen Tracey's Weekend Warrior on Thursday night... Nice timeliness with WALL*E as well as 2008 baseball clues for COLE and TIM. Seemed like a lot of "pop-culture-factoid" gimmes for a WW: INSIDE MAN, PRIME TIME, EMILE, ADLER all in the same quadrant, and BATCAVE nearby. NW was my last section despite the Tony Award clue for ZORBA.
... And we're back. Nothing too remarkable in the rest of the day's puzzles, except for the 15 rebus squares in the fun WSJ grid. I couldn't figure out the significance of 'ALI' as the rebus element until just now: Boxing Day. He's a boxer. Duh!