OK, now we're back on track. Not the trickiest of Fridays, but a good one nonetheless. Highlights for us included HOOTCH (41D: Still-produced stuff), PANGEA (45A: It broke up in the age of the dinosaurs), and, of course, NOONER (47A: Midday assignation, in slang). Wow, Will, wow. [*slow clap] The little mini-theme is cute, too. Who knew SODIUMPENTOTHAL (9D: What an interrogator might administer) was spelled that way?! Well, probably at least one of our readers did...
Had "hilt" for HAFT (4D: Foil feature), and we know TATARY (13D: Vast historical region controlled by the Mongols) better with two Rs. We'd never heard of OSCARWAO (15A: Novel title character with a "brief, wondrous life"), nor NIIHAU (16A: Hawaii's Forbidden Isle). The Wikipedia entry on the latter provides interesting reading. It is the seventh-largest of the inhabited Hawaiian islands (are there larger, uninhabited ones?), and is, apparently, privately owned. Who knew?
Nice to see the SEAOTTER (37D: It has the densest fur of any animal) again. He was last seen and commented on in the July 26 puzzle. ANYHOO (42D: Slangy seque) always reminds us of The Simpsons, and IDIOCY (20A: Three Stooges display) segues nicely with some of our recent comments.
Some junk (ACUTER (51A: More pointed), ABT (44A: Co. led by Baryshnikov in the 1980s), and LIA (55D: ____ Fáil (Irish coronation stone))), but even those aren't too bad. Oh, and HAPS (41A: Unlucky accidents, old-style). Huh?
p.s. The Diary of a Crossword Fiend blog mentioned that this is Mr. Woolf's debut in the NYT, and it also links to his sister's blog wherein she says that one year he went to a Halloween party as a crossword. He made an actual crossword and wore it, so people could solve him. Awesome.