Ugh. This was a sorry affair. I think it's actually a very well constructed puzzle that I just fell flat on my face trying to complete. I'd like to use my narcotics-addled brain as an excuse, so I will.
First off, I knew the star of "The Pianist," and entered it right away, only with ADRIaN BRODY. That "a" would prove to be a tough thing to overcome. Then I entered GOOGlePLEX, no doubt seduced by the ubiquity of the search engine. I was able to fill in the bottom half of the puzzle. I liked AUDIOVISUALAIDS, but had never heard of SOULJABOYTELLEM. Still, it's a nice current 15-letter answer. I love 47A: Like St. Catherine (SIENESE), cause I was there not so long ago. It's a simply gorgeous city.
I knew that SKINNER___ would be the start of 30A: Conditioning apparatus, but couldn't for the life of me figure out the last three letters. "ism" was my first attempt, but nothing fit in. Took a long time to get BOX. I've never heard of it, but its apparently just what is described in the clue.
Anyway, I thought 1A: would be MAfioso. MADEMAN was the same idea. So anyway, I'll just admit that I gave up after staring at the whole string of emptiness across the top half for a long time. For stacks of 15-letter answers, which I usually don't like, I think Mr. Steinberg has not sacrificed too much in the way of high quality fill. Enough complaining.
Did you give up too soon, Colum? Sometimes it helps to just put it down and come back to it later. This took me close, I'd say, to 2-1/2 hours. I starred, of course, GOOGOLPLEX, though it's a totally useless number and, in fact, concept. I was introduced to the googolplex by Carl Sagan during the original "Cosmos" series (subtitled "A Personal Voyage") and have loved it ever since just for its sheer enormity and impracticality. Anyway, that's all that I starred; the rest was just a slow slog, especially the middle wherein lied ONESIE, SKINNERBOX and COALGAS. Is XDOUT allowed? I thought we'd only seen that spelled as "XED," no? Maybe I got it wrong and didn't, in fact, finish.