Pretty straightforward Monday puzzle. Simple, but fine, theme of two-word phrases that start with S and A (ESSAY (66A: Kind of test … or a phonetic hint to 17-, 25-, 36-, 47- and 57-Across)). Amusingly, frequent commenter ET59 gets his wish answered today with one of the themers, SMARTALECK (57A: Wisenheimer) (nice clue). How does Shortz sleep at night running this and "SMARTALEC" two days apart? Make a choice or use the damn "variant" cop-out. "Put a sticker on it," as Frannie likes to say when a company (or whatever) just puts a ridiculous label on something to avoid a lawsuit. A candy cane, for example, that has the sticker "May contain nuts." (Yes, we have seen this.) That's "putting a sticker on it." "Mideast ruler: variant" is another example.
Not terribly scintillating. IMPEL (5A: Push) is SUPERB (45A: Top-notch), and I enjoyed SNOOZEALARM (25A: Sleep extender), but maybe just because it reminds me of Sunday's AFAREWELLTOALARMS.
Haven't seen SSTS or SOSA in a while. HELI, ATT, ALMA, ATM, USDA, ATRIA, SSE, MPS, … seems like a lot. WAHOO crossing MAGOO, though, that made me smile. Well, the MAGOO part anyway.
It's a Monday. It was over quickly.