This is an incredibly smooth grid. The shape calls for no answers longer than seven letters, with 36 seven-letter answers, 16 three-letter answers, 12 five-letter answers, and 8 four-letter answers. The corners are not isolated, with nice chunks connecting them together, so you're not left with four mini-puzzles.
I broke in at 2D: Compound in apricot pits (CYANIDE), and followed with UNI and LOL. I looked at 6D: Jack holder, and thought, "could that be TRUNK?" When I saw 25A: Clinton successor (KERRY), I knew I was right. The only answer in the NW I don't like too much is IFSO. Otherwise, they're all solid. Ah, SCHLITZ. I remember you well from watching Sox games in the 1970s. I give the answer an A- for nostalgia's sake. Mind you, for me, Christmas is a solidly SECULAR holiday. However, I get the point of the clue.
The NE followed naturally. I got SATIRIC, and put in AGESAGO off that A. Amazingly, I recalled AGOUTIS with just the G, and the rest of the corner fell pretty easily. SAZERAC is a fine answer. I never watched "Three's Company", but the answer was pretty obvious from the crossings. ROTO doesn't Google at all, so I suppose the clue is as good as any could be.
TRANQ and RUINOUS gave me KENOSHA. I didn't get 48A: Powerful board member (QUEEN) until just now. It has now become my favorite clue-answer pair of the day. The SE is my favorite corner of the bunch. Great clue for HEXAGON, and 52A: 10-ish? (SEXY) is funny. You also get the pair of "John" clues at 36A: John, abroad (IAN) and 60D: John (LAV). I wanted to put "loo" in at both places. I also like the NBALOGO and AERATOR. GARO Yepremian is an old-time reference. I needed all the crosses, but they were fair.
There's a nice sense of vernacular in the puzzle with CHINWAG, TOSSPOT, and PIEHOLE. That last makes me think of "the penguin sketch". Although, after watching the sketch, I realize that phrase is not in it at all. Oh, well. I'll put it in here anyway for the fun of it.
I finished in the SE. I think VOTERID laws should be AVOIDED, but I like the crossing of friendship (AMISTAD) with love (AIMEE). I've never had OHS brand cereal before. Why would you not just get Honey Nut Cheerios? I thought so. My last square was the crossing of LGA with SEGUE.
Thumbs up here.
That NE was a bear, and took a full 45 minutes for me to solve. COTTONY took way too long, as did AGONY. I had SATIRIC and RAPTORS, but could not make anything else work. I knew CHRISSY and I had ROTO off of RUINOUS. QUEEN is awesome. I filled in HEXAGON from the clue with no crosses, which led to NAM and KERRY. COBOL fell with only the "B" entered (I wanted "Klingon" but it was a few years too early). TURIN was some nice trivia, and it was excellent to see TUT again but with a totally different clue. Originally, I entered Tsk, then Tsh, which slowed me down up there. Also, I love a reference to Don ADAMS, but I think that was a bit over-clued; just "86" should have been enough, although I guess that would have referred more to "Smart." OK, it wasn't over-clued; I stand corrected by myself.
Frannie and I sat side-by-side on the couch and did this one together, just like old times! That kind of situation seems to work well for us, as when one doesn't know an answer the other often does. Anyway, I agree that this was an excellent puzzle and a fun solve.
I guessed "basic" for the programming language, but that was, ironically, introduced later as well (1964). And I guessed "Milan" for "TURIN," but RAPTOR tore through that mistake! I was a little too proud of myself for getting NBALOGO of the clue alone, and I probably watched games that GARO Yepremian played in. I'm sure I did, actually. I would have been almost eight when my Minnesota-loving brother and I watched the fish beat the Vikings to win the second of those consecutive Super Bowls.
KENOSHA brings back college memories. HELIPAD and SMELTER are both nice. And what's with fruit seeds being so poisonous? There's arsenic in apple seeds, and now we learn that (well, Colum apparently learned it some time ago!) there's CYANIDE in apricot pits?! What a world.
I'm shocked that there was no picture of CHRISSY today, but I guess the fact that you never watched the show makes that understandable. And the SCHLITZ ad you found is great/terrible.