Well, I should say right off the bat that Frannie did the bulk of the work on this one. She asked if she could look at it for a minute before she fell asleep, and when she handed it back, several minutes later, most of the top was complete, and there was enough on the bottom for me to get ATEENAGERINLOVE (45A: 1959 #5 hit with the B-side "I've Cried Before"), which opened up a lot more. I would be surprised if that clue helped anyone at all get the proper answer. I only got it because Sha Na Na made me familiar with the song, and eventually, the crosses revealed enough to let me see it.
You know, I just started taking German for the first time, and it seems like all this week there have been German words in the grids. Like SIE (20A: What you might be overseas?), and "Guten Tag" in that "tent" puzzle. And there was another one yesterday, I think. There's always French (and yes, Huygens, "Cette fille" (this girl) and its answer "elle" (she/her) are French. It's a lot like 36A: One of the girls (SHE), come to think of it...), but is there always so much German?
This was a nice, clean puzzle. I can't speak to the difficulty, really, because I just filled in a few things here and there. I didn't know the word PENNON (9D: Flag carried on a knight's lance), but, well, now I do. The fifteens were all decent enough. Probably the weakest was RAISEDANEYEBROW (15A: Expressed slight surprise), but only because the other three were so natural.
42A: Pipe holder? (PAN) was especially nice, and 33A: Many chains are found in them (MALLS) had us fooled for a while. Another tough one was 35A: Works at a museum, say (BUSTS). We tried "dusts," because we actually know people who work at museum and whose job it is to dust, but "peiges" didn't really work with 35D: Pale shades (BEIGES). For some reason, I really hate the answer VTEN (41A: Powerful engine). I've looked it up, and some modern cars do use them, but who ever thinks of a V-ten? A V-eight, sure. But a V-ten? And SNAPS (23D: "Your mama wears army boots" and such)? Really?
But really, I don't want to end on a bad note. There was some nice long stuff in here, and aside from my few complaints, it really was quite clean.