A really challenging rebus puzzle, at least for me. And who doesn't love a good rebus puzzle on a Thursday? I like that the PA squares are randomly s[pa]ttered across the grid, making them unpredictable. I knew something was up when I hit 15A, and knew I wanted OOM[PA]H[PA]H, but I didn't know yet how to fit it in. It didn't help that the next rebus answer I knew was SAMPECKIN[PA]H, in that the final syllable was the same. It wasn't until 54A: Blanket remedies ([PA]NACEAS) that I figured it out.
The revealer is very well done today. 40A: Popular zoo attraction ... or a hint to 11 squares in this puzzle (PANDA). The two unchecked squares highlight the other way to read the answer, namely P and A. It makes for an unusual right-left symmetry to the grid, and also gives four 10-letter down answers in the top portion of the grid. I like 3D: Cold (IMPERSONAL) - a very succinct clue for a nice word. I'm also [pa]rtial to S[PA]NISHRICE. Yum.
I don't know if anybody who reads this blog knows that not so long ago I was in Rome, and visited the Vatican City. I did not get to see the [PA][PA]L[PA]LACE, more's the pity, but it wins my vote for best theme answer of the day. I also enjoyed the 16-letter answers shoehorned into a 15 x 15 grid.
The reason I had such an ex[pa]nsive time for this puzzle lies in the NE corner. I didn't see that I'd misspelled 12D, and the hidden capital in 18A: Hall of fame (ARSENIO) was just that, hidden, don't you see. Or you don't see. Or at least I didn't see, you see. Anyway, after I fixed that, I was left with 13D: Permanently (ININK). I really had ININ_ and just couldn't see it. [Pa]rtly because I was torn between STOic and STONY for 14D: Expressionless.
Oh, and also, I missed [PA]LIMONY for a while, thinking it was aLIMONY, which left aSSE for 50D: Out ([PA]SSE). Didn't seem right.
I obviously should love 1A: ____ nerve, the longest in the human body (SCIATIC), but it took far too long to figure out, seeing as I had fouLS at 1D for a while. I'll give it a B. My second choice for favorite clue-answer pair is 38A: Bygone European capital (LIRA). Took me too long to realize it was about money. My first choice is 2D: What's between here and the sun, in song? (COMES). That's really clever!
Didn't like MAMMY, but that's about it. Thumbs up.
PS: Hang on! The grid's a panda!!!!