Today wasn't the best day. As I downloaded the puzzle, I thought that all would be okay if it was one of Mike Nothnagel's.
It was...but it wasn't. That is, it was one of Mike's...but it didn't make everything okay. It was one of his tougher puzzles, and I had a hard time getting a toehold anywhere.
After my first run-through, I had just a handful of answers, including:
19A: Wrangler rival (Lee).
22A: Person after a lifestyle change, self-descriptively (new me).
31A: Old hippie hangout, with "the" (Haight).
38A: Singer Lennon and others (Seans). Had the too-obvious Johns at first, though.
59A: Club: Abbr. (ass'n.)
5D: Kind of resin (epoxy)...a very good guess.
7D: Natives of Noble County, Okla. (Otos). Another one...I knew it wasn't Utes.
8D: Big __ (Ben).
I also had a partial answer at 16A, clued as [Bad mark]. This is similar to a clue from Wednesday's puzzle...[Like Beethoven's Symphony No. 8]. I knew the answer to that was in [some key]...in that case, in F. Today, I was pretty sure it was either D Plus (which it was)...although it might have been C Plus, a grade I would have thought was bad (for me). So I just wrote in Plus until I had a few more answers up in the northwest.
My favorite answers were the two long ones. 9D: Short-term relationship (one night stand) and 17D: Ultra-obedient companions (Stepford Wives)...although I thought that one would have something to do with dogs.
Other good ones include 5A: Results of compliments (ego boosts), 15A: Invention convention (patent law), 33A: "Start doing your job!" (Get on the stick!), 52A: Africa's westernmost point (Cape Verde), 56A: Like some salesmen and preachers (itinerant), 58A: Brushes off (sends away), 1D: Laugh-producing game popular since 1958 (Mad-Libs), 2D: What ethylene may be used for (ripening), 3D: Conspiring (in league)...some of that going on today, 12D: Much-studied religious writings (Talmud), 24D: Measure that resulted in multilingual labeling on goods (NAFTA), 27D: Sect governed by the Universal House of Justice (Baha'i ), 31D: Web code (HTML), 35D: Turns over (capsizes), and 39D: Pinch-hit (stood in)...a little confusion on the tense, which looked more like present than past.
I had so many favorite clues. 1A: Ways to get inside hip joints? (MRIs), 14A: Is not misused? (ain't), 18A: Opening on an environmentalist's agenda? (ozone hole), 27A: Modern vent outlet? (blog), 37A: Restaurants are full of them (aromas), 43A: Where a tongue can be found (deli)...had shoe for some time, 28D: Storyteller's pack (lies), 36D: Jersey workers (knitters) and 42D: Spare part? (one pin).
Didn't know but got from crosses (and Dogpile, in a couple of cases):
48A: Fragrant resin (elemi).
49A: Cornerback Sanders (Deion).
51A: Torch-lighting skater at the 1998 Winter Olympics (Ito).
57A: Ryan of "Boston Public" (Jeri). Another show I've never seen.
40D: Abstract (precis). Abstract, as in summary or abridgment...not this kind of abstract.
It's been an exhausting day, so I'll wrap this up. Here's the grid...
...and I'll see you tomorrow.