For me, a nice, pleasant solving experience starts with a puzzle tough enough that there's nothing obvious to enter right away. Today's Thursday effort by Kevin G. Der (answers) met that criterion. Then I like to find a foothold somewhere and let everything slowly fall into place, and this is where the whole theory fell apart today, at least for me. I had nothing to go on for the longest time. Finally, I saw "Old Turkish title" which had to be AGA and I was off to the races, but of course on the wrong racetrack. I think it was OXEN who finally snorted their way into 14 Across before I made any progress at all. Before then, everything I guessed was either completely wrong or just wouldn't fit. That's the beauty of rebus puzzles. They always catch me off guard. They're my Spanish Inquisition.
I have no excuse. Thursday is named for Thor, the God of Rebus, so that should have been a clue. Furthermore, I'm in the middle of adding over 1,000 new puzzles to my database and all the rebus ones have to be hand massaged so I've had rebus on my brain. I just typed in 17 new puzzles which you can see on this page if you scroll to the bottom. (More are coming!) Still it fooled me.
When the breakthrough finally broke through, the crossword was still far from easy but at least I could eventually nail it. Thanks, Mr. Der, for, for what? Causing me to pull my hair out? I guess. Plus I learned that an "old Turkish title" is BEY so if I run across an old titled Turk, I now know what to call him.