This week's preamble certainly made up for last week's absence of one - it's possibly amongst the longest I've seen, and I prepared myself for a struggle.
The puzzle itself was much easier and less dependent on trial and error than most numericals. After solving an initial few stand-alone clues, there followed a lengthy stretch of mechanically completing most of the grid from existing answers. Only when the final few gaps remained was a bit more pencil-nibbling needed. The endgame was quite fun, though, and serves to validate the gridfill.
I prefer numericals to take longer than this did. Pity there's a three-month wait for the next one.