This was a tough Thursday for us, mostly because we didn't know 3D: Jerry of "Law & Order" (ORBACH), or 16A: Degrees for foreign attys. (LLBS). Also, I had originally entered OKieDOKE for 10D: "Fine by me" (really, I would prefer "okiedokie," or some spelling variant thereof), and since neither 21A: Norse love goddess (FREYA) nor 18A: Wolf in Kipling's "The Jungle Book" (AKELA) meant anything to either of us, it took a long while to change it to OKEYDOKE.
The theme was interesting and we've never seen a word ladder in a crossword before. I like how it goes with the central INSTANTWINNER (36A: Lucky lotto participant), although getting from POOR (1A: Start of a word ladder whose first and last words are suggested by 36-Across) to RICH (65A: End of the word ladder) in eight moves isn't exactly instantaneous. But then, I guess they didn't say that it was, all they said was that the first and last words are suggested by it. OK, fair enough.
Tried "Appia" for SACRA (22A: Via ____ (main street in ancient Rome)), but I guess the Via Appia ran more out of the city to the south. At least that's where the remaining parts are now. Still, who doesn't think first of the Appian Way when thinking about streets in ancient Rome? And speaking of ancient things that we will now think of when doing crossword puzzles, we thought of "Essene" for 33A: Abstainer (NONUSER), but luckily, it didn't fit.
I liked the KNEE (39A: Place for a skateboarder's pad)/KNEADED (40A: Worked, in a way) combo, but I didn't so much like the NAGAT (51A: Bother persistently)/BITAT (57A: Tried to nip) combo. And isn't it really more like "nipping at" is trying to bite? And are we calling OMAR Khayyám by just his first name now? (6D: "While you live,/Drink!" poet) Shall I write a clue for "Birches" poet, expecting the answer "Robert?"