INAWORD (2D: Not at length): hated it. And my response is about as accurately relevant to the clue as any in the puzzle. There, I said it. Can we talk about 14D: Remedy for a bad leg (KNEEPATCH)? Or 12D: Strongmen of old (TSARS)? In a word, for real this time, LAME. And what's with ADSORBS and EGESTED? They are like absorbed and ejected only MORESO (36D: Beyond that), and not in a good way.
Those of you who know me, would, I think, agree that I like to learn a new thing or two now and then, but SAMISEN (32D: Geisha's instrument) and PIAMATERS (26A: They adhere to brains)? I suppose it is a Saturday puzzle, but it was TOUGHROAD through those two, especially the latter. Next time I hope either Mr. Croce or Mr. Shortz RESEES (47a: Brings in for more tests, say) a puzzle like this and realizes that it is not done TOATURN (16D: Flawlessly) and gets a mechanic, or, say a TOOLER to help them out.
I'll turn the podium over to Horace so he can address the few interesting and clever clues that appeared in this puzzle.
Well, let's see... I also hated UNDOCK (13A: Shove off), and who, tell me, says URBS (25A: Heavily populated areas, informally)? "Yeah, I live in the Urb. You know, the urb of Boston..." Uh huh.
SONDEs (49A: Meteorological probe) like neither of us liked it, right? Well, although that is true, there were some nice parts, especially in the lower-middle. 30A: Students with outstanding character? (LETTERMEN) gets points for effort. And 36A: Gifted trio? (MAGI) and 37A: Follow the party line? (CONGA) were both very nice.
This was harder than yesterday, and that should make our friend englishteacher59 happy, but at too high a cost, we think. Give us a clean, clever puzzle any day. This kind of slog just angries up the blood.