Frannie really ought to be writing this, as she broke the code, which allowed us to finish the NE corner that had been holding us back. "KEY/PURE/ICE/UNDER/OWED." Nice. It reminds us of a story one of my brothers brought back from college one day called "Ladle Rat Rotten Hut," (Look! We included a link!) which is the story of "Little Red Riding Hood" told by using completely different words. I looked and looked at the three answers we had - KEY, UNDER, OWED - but nothing made any sense. Only, I guess, after Frannie got DRIVERS (44D: Those who should follow the advice in the sounded-out answers to the five starred clues), did she put it all together. And getting PURE (22A: *100%) and ICE (*Water cooler) really blew that corner apart.
The rest of the puzzle went pretty quickly. I threw in JUSTADROP (1A: "Not much at all for me, please"), JACKPOT (1D: Something good to hit), and SWISSALPS (39A: Skiing mecca) without hesitation. LAZYSUSAN (67A: Revolutionary invention for restaurants?) and CRANKCASE (17A: What gets the shaft?) took a little longer, but the payoff was worth it. We wanted "war torn" for WARWORN (40D: Like Europe in 1945), but the W obviously had to be in OWED for 55A: *Had charges. I also put in "weaker sex" at first, but was happy to change it for GENTLESEX (34A: Women, old-fashionedly) when my error became obvious.
Funny to have NODOZ (53D: Cramming aid) in two days in a row, and there was a bit of technical stuff we didn't know, like DICOTS (6D: Daisies and the like, botanically) and AGOUTIS (12D: Relatives of guinea pigs), but they all worked themselves out. It's lucky I remembered TSR (25A: Co. that introduced Dungeons & Dragons) from earlier puzzles. I played the game in the early '80s, but I never would have thought to think who put it out back then. Games were either from Milton Bradley or Avalon Hill, as far as I was concerned.
Overall, a decent Friday. Somewhat odd to have a theme, of sorts, and maybe a tad on the easy side, but decent.