It's always nice to finish a puzzle the day after I was totally crushed by one. I went into panic mode when I saw Byron Walden's name, but I just took a deep breath and jumped in.
The man is a genius. He always manages to stack long answers that aren't just long...they're @&$*#%' incredible fill.
Three stacks of 10-letter horizontal entries in the northeast:
5A: Small wonders (gifted kids)
16A: Dirt (inside info)
18A: Alley oops (gutter ball).
Three more in the southwest:
52A: It can keep ballfields dry (alcohol ban)
55A: Lots to offer (real estate)
57A: Bank holdings? (telephones)
We also get three vertical stacks of 8-letter answers, in the northwest and southeast. My favorite in each corner:
2D: Title city in a 1983 George Strait hit (Amarillo). I was never a huge country music fan, but I always liked George Strait. You Look So Good in Love was my favorite of his songs.
36D: Starchy bite (Tater Tot). I was baffled until I got a few of the crosses, then it became obvious.
I had never heard of 5D: Check for credibility, in modern lingo (giggle test). For the most part, I don't use modern lingo.
32A: Be profligate, in a way (sow one's wild oats). That's better than good.
There is a plethora of words ending in O. In addition to inside info, we have 15A: Novel that ends "By noon, the island had gone down in the horizon; and all before us was the wide Pacific (Omoo), 31A: Writer who was a source for Verdi's "Rigoletto" (Hugo), 40A: 1961 film also known as "The Job" (Il Posto), and 48A: Predecessor of the boliviano (peso). Also bro (26D: Good bud), Sho (33D: "Weeds" channel, briefly) and OOO (34D: Line struck through by a winner) -- tied for the most clever clue, IMOO.
The co-winner was 27D: Result of too many rusty nails on the road? (DUI).
The connected clues took me some time to decipher...44A and 31D (U.S. route and hwy, respectively).
Well, I don't want to be up late (44D: Burning the midnight oil), so I'll call it a night. See you tomorrow.