Elizabeth Gorski never constructs an ordinary puzzle...there's always some clever twist or gimmick involved.
For today's puzzle, she's constructed a word ladder [62A: Kind of ladder exemplified by the answers to the seven starred clues]...and the theme answers are:
1A: Salad partner (soup)
16A: Takeover (coup)
21A: Pen (coop)
25A: Cote calls (coos)
48A: Sleep lab purchases (cots)
56A: Salon styles (cuts)
67A: Fanatics (nuts).
The theme is all wrapped up at 38A: From 1- to 67-Across (the whole shebang)...another way to say soup to nuts.
I had the first two theme answers...the only answers I had at that point...and it became immediately clear what I'd be doing with the starred answers. It made it just slightly easier to get the others...although some of the clues were fairly ambiguous.
Nice multiword answers to round things out:
18A: Violin, viola and cello (string trio).
59A: Aida and Norma, notably (opera roles).
4D: Buzzer on "This Old House" (power saw).
11D: Summer side dish (corn salad).
24D: Joe Jackson's "__ Really Going Out With Him?" (Is She).
34D: Hotel front person (desk clerk).
Other answers that just plain look good in the grid:
15A: Graff of stage and screen (Ilene).
20A: Hitchcock thriller (Rope)...don't know why I haven't heard of this one.
23A: Mail at contest central (entries).
42A: Jong who wrote "Sappho's Leap" (Erica). I couldn't remember if she was Erica or Erika...27D: Dandruff bit wasn't much help, since it could have been flake (but it wasn't) or fleck (the correct answer).
44A: Many a turban wearer (Sikh).
64A: Astronomy's __ cloud (oort).
1D: Paris's __-Coeur Basilica (Sacré).
5D: Last sign (Pisces).
36D: Storm drain, e.g. (sewer).
40D: Particle accelerator (betatron).
47D: James and Jackson (Jesses).
Make a mental note of these often-repeated answers...10A: Dreaded prom night sight (acne), 14A: River of Tuscany (Arno), 29A: Place brushed by a barber (nape), 50D: Event in 1940s-'50s headlines (A-test), 57D: __ Bator (Ulan) and 52D: Eye-popping canvases (op art).
I got to bed very late last night and was up very early this morning...I'm shooting for in bed and sound asleep by 10:15.
Here's the grid...
...and I'll see you tomorrow.