So whether they heard my complaint, or noticed the defect on their own, today the print staff at The Sacramento Bee properly shaded boxes in the grid, which is a feature that had been missing the past couple months when the NYTimes crossword used this device for its inner puzzle. So congratulations on fixing this problem, and thank you.
A word about the inner puzzle … the reveal is at 36A: HEADSUP (Warning appropriate for this puzzle?) Eleven vertical sets of letters are shaded, three and four at a time. These include (when read up): EGG[head]; BOW[head]; OVER[head]; AIR[head]; ACID[head]; WAR[head]; DRUM[head]; PIN[head]; BONE[head]; RED[head]; and POT[head]. Not so sure I approve of the overwhelming plurality of negative connotations in these eleven. But hey, this is the New York Times crossword puzzle, and they do what they want.
I first saw 18A: PELOSI (Former House leader Nancy), appropriate for this primary election season. Which easily gave me: 1D: SaPPY (Too sentimental); 2D: PUREE (Food processor setting); 1A: SPAR (Practice boxing); 3D: ATOLL (Bikini, for one); and 20A: YELL (Cheerleader’s cheer).
I worked East from there for: 5A: DRE (Dr. who’s done 19-Down for Dr. Pepper), see how I knew it wasn’t Dr. Who?; 7D: ERR (Make a goof) — which I soon did… ; 6D: RAE (Girl’s name that is a homophone for a boy’s name); 14D: RIS (Sue Grafton’s “___ for Ricochet”). I then was able to resolve: 5D: DEDICATES (Names in someone’s honor); and 4D: REVOLT (Not take it anymore).
This left me with 13A: aUTEREAR (Auricle’s site), which is wrong. I knew it was wrong, but I was so convinced of all the vertical crossers that I left it, wondering to myself, “What is an aurical, and where might I find one?” [Post puzzle, I Googled it. See below.]
Loved the crossing related clues at: 56A: FIGARO (Name repeatedly sung in Rossini’s “Largo al factotum”); and 53D: ARIA (Rossini’s “Largo al factotum,” e.g.).