A decent enough Saturday. The SW is a little rough, with OWOE, ASWIRL, and THOM, but MEMES (47A: Some modern fads) is a good, contemporary word. For non-contemporary fill, see 8D: Case for a bootblack (SHINEBOX).
It was nice to see crossword puzzle darling ROBERTELEE (24D: Arlington House is his memorial) in more complete form than usual. Thanks, Ken Burns, for teaching us that Lee's former estate was made into Arlington National Cemetery by the bitter, spiteful Northerners, who buried those Lee killed in his own rose garden. But all's fair, eh?
On the other hand, we learned GLASSONION (25D: Monocle, in British slang) from this puzzle. The Beatles song makes so much more sense now, so thanks, Mr. Knapp!
There were several false starts today, all thanks to me. I tried "back packs" and then "rucksacks" for KNAPSACKS (1D: Contents of some lockers), "sea monster" for SEASERPENT (32A: Image on many an old map), and "total loss" for LASTSTAND (28D: The battle of Thermopylae, for the Spartans). I like my answer better, frankly, as it wasn't really a "last stand" for the entire race, so much as a severe beating in one battle. The Persians eventually lost that war, right? And we're guessing that they paid heavily for killing those three hundred guys...
But overall, we enjoyed it. CARPE (38D: "____ mañana" (procrastinator's jokey motto)) was funny, and PENDANT (19D: One may have a cameo at the end) was very well clued. TATTOO (18D: Tomahawk for Andrew Jackson, surprisingly) was an interesting bit of trivia, as was NAUTILUS (13A: Creature that moves by jet propulsion). They don't have a foot like other snail-type things? Are they even gastropods? No! They are cephalopods. I wish I could tell you more, but all I have in front of me right now is a dictionary. The web doesn't exist where I am. I have to walk into town to get connected and send this out. I mean, I could look it all up when I get over there, but then I'd have to bring the portable keyboard with me or thumb-type it in, and nobody wants that.
Anywhoo, Frannie and I did this side-by-side, which I always enjoy, and it was tough enough to make it fun. A very good end to our vacation week.