We didn't know that a PACA was a 1D: Spotted rodent, but it was INFERable (in a way) (27A: Gather, logically) from the crosses. The same was not true, for me anyway, of CSTAR (31D: Astronomical red giant). We will be interested to hear whether or not Huygens knows this term. Me, I hadn't heard it so as to remember it. Nor had I heard (so as to remember) of the city named SOCHI, which is, apparently, the 30A: Russian city, host of the 2014 Winter Olympics. I guess I'd better start paying attention to more of the so-called News. Oh, and one more thing - we know a lot of French people, and never once have we heard any of them say ALLOALLO (20A: Repetitive French greeting).
Anywho, enough complaining. We liked plenty in this puzzle. SLOB (9D: One whose work is not picking up?) was nice, and although other reviewers sometimes complain about cross-referencing, we rather like it, so 14D: Least like 9-Down (NEATEST), was fine with us. 47D: Sister (and occasional rival) of Venus, had us both thinking of mythology, and it wasn't until this morning that we finally realized it was really about tennis! And while we're down there in the SE, we put in "Prospector" immediately for 50A: One who hoped things would pan out? It's amusing that FORTYNINER also fits in those same squares. Fortyniner also fits in much better with the "numbers" theme of this puzzle. When it started out with "Fifteen" and "Thirty," I was kind of hoping for "Sixty," but no dice.
Lastly, 36D: Partiers at a hooley made us laugh. I've gotta look that word up, and then start using it all the time.
p.s. Totally missed the other theme entries of LOVEBOATS (weak), FORTYNINERS, and GAMESOVER. I guess the sequence did make sense, and I was missing out on more than I realized when I didn't understand "SERENA."