If you read enough crossword blogs or reviews, you come to realize that the constructor's battle is between the fun and sparkly answers and the glue or crosswordese that holds it all together. The solver's enjoyment level typically reaches its highest when these two things reasonably balance. For me, I like it to be a little heavier on the fun and sparkly answer side, and I can put up with more glue to get that result.
All of which is to say that today's puzzle was pretty close to that magic point. It probably falls down a little on the far side of it, especially in the SE corner.
Today's solve started with 14A: Nobel Prize winner whose name should ring a bell? (IVANPAVLOV). I knew his last name but couldn't come up with the first, so although I got VEGA and TVG off of it, I jumped ship to the NE corner, where things took off.
11D: She took a seat to take a stand (ROSAPARKS) was very nicely put, and apt for the times. Apt! I also liked 13D: One of about 500 million needed to fill an Olympic swimming pool (TEASPOON). What a ridiculous piece of trivia! To make these answers fit, we have to accept ASEA, ANO, and OREO. Not too bad. I actually enjoyed BLART. Because just say it out loud. Go on. You know you want to.
Uh huh. You enjoyed that too, didn't you.
In the SW corner, JOEBOXER is very scrabbly, and I like both CENTERICE and 31D: Hoot and holler (RAISECAIN). Nobody likes an ECIG, either in person or in the grid, and XIAN was only fillable because I got all the crosses. ETS as well... you see my point.
Love 56A: High-level criminal? (CATBURGLER) - not so sure about RCA, TRU, ASTO. I also feel that 43D: Expensive beer chaser? (SNOB) feels less true for the beer drinker than the wine or whiskey drinker, but I get the point of the QMC.
All of this is to say that I really enjoyed the solve, with some points of resistance. And sometimes, all one can say is "vive la résistance!"