We quite enjoyed solving this one! It's a lovely, open grid, and the very few that elicited a slight groan (SANITARIA (18A: Psychiatric hospitals) was one) were really quite acceptable. BEETHOVEN (47A: Big name in classical education?) is always welcome, and it's very odd, but cool, to see him on the same line with RATSO (49A: 1969 role for Dustin Hoffman) Rizzo. Ahh, life… so varied. So wonderful.
And speaking of odd things, we enjoyed the word TOWELETTE (52A: Freebie often containing alcohol), for some reason. The two car-trivia answers were interesting, although SAABS (39A: Cars whose only color until 1952 was bottle green) was much moreso than EDSEL (5D: Car that offered Polar Air air-conditioning).
I don't usually think of OPARTISTs as "33D: One[s] employing tromp l'oeil effects," but rather optical effects, which, I guess, sometimes trick the eye. So ok, fine. MAKESOUT (34D: Pets), right beside it, was a little surprising, but in a good way. And running through both was the very nice DIMESTORES (45A: Bowling splits in which the 5 and 10 pins remain).
There were lots of good entries today - ANIMALFAT (16A: It's rendered in the kitchen) (this went in without crosses) was fun, in a gross way, and LISSOME (32A: Like a ballerina) is a lovely word, isn't it?
Best clue of the day? 19A: Hardly a free spirit? (GENIE). We LOL'd, we cried, we want to solve it again and again. It was better than Cats.
A satisfying Friday.