The grid today kind of reminded me of a hamburger. Anybody else see that? The top and bottom buns are made up of stacked 12-, 13-, and 14-letter answers, and the middle is a mess of lettuce, pickle, and ... well, ok, it's not a perfect analogy. Anyway, when I see long Across answers like that, I generally try to poke a few virtual toothpicks down into them to soften them up a bit. Today that was easy enough, with CUTEST (Something absolutely adorable, with "the"), LUG (Galoot) (Luckily, I got support for this before reaching 21A's "Galoot" (APE), or else I would have second-guessed LUG), SHROOM (Slangy psychedelic), and HIE (Make tracks, quaintly) all going right in. Thus softened, CALLTHESHOTS (Be in charge ... as a doctor?) became obvious.
Some good clues today:
I'm not so sure about "Word before or after strong" (ARM). Sure, in "strong ARM" it's a word, but it's just a part of a name in ARMstrong, isn't it? No one says, "Boy, that guy is really arm strong." "Man's name that's also a suffix" (IAN) seems a little more accurate.
There were some Saturday-level places (BUSHEY, SARANAC, EASTON), and a touch of URSI and MER, but there were plenty of high-value entries and the cluing was strong. Thumbs up. How'd you like it?