Another triumph for Mr. Collins! or Edifice Rex, as he might aptly be called after today's puzzle.
Today's shape-y theme had a strong foundation and some nice amenities. For starters, there were a number of European touches inside that appealed to this customer including RUHR, ISERE, OPEL, and STE Jeanne d'Arc. It was nice that PSY showed up. Remember the video? That was a real hot property. 59D and 60D make a nice pair of primates, plus or minus hair. Also, I love the words DRENCH (50D) and TROU (43D).
I was excited to see Shere HITE's name; we have her papers at the library including some interesting surveys that might suit a different interpretation of 34A. Swinger's target at a party...
Speaking of which, the PINATA-style swinger had me stumped for a some time and held up the solve because I didn't know Ms. UTA Hagen, I was stuck on the eyesight meaning of 20-20, AND I was thinking 'pic' for 27D. Something a scanner scans, in brief. DOH! (UPC is better).
I don't mean any DISrespect, but I thought there were a few possible fixer uppers:
In the category of ungainly plurals, we get 39A. ASHTONS - egad, can you just imagine?!? Huygens, please make a note of it.
49A. Certain military hazards for short (IEDS) doesn't really explode with excitement, but it does make possible the very excellent. 11D. STOPTHEBLEEDING.
1A. RODS gets a C+. The clue, Shapes of bacilli bacteria, didn't really draw me in, but the answer IS a shape.
That's probably enough out of me. I'll get back to my NEEDLEPOINT.
This is a masterpiece of construction. I think the E of NEEDLEPOINT is, in a sense, quadruple checked: it's part of three answers, but two of them are theme answers, so that seems like it should count for more. I too had difficulty at 27D (UPC). I knew UTA Hagen, so I went with entirely indefensible Usb. Huh. Don't know how I bought into that. 38A: Façade feature (CEDILLA) got me once again. And PINATA, as you said, is excellent cluing. But goodness, those 15-letter down answers are outstanding. We even get IDIAMIN's full name, and finish with some THIGHS. Good times.
UTA is standard crosswordese. I had some trouble in the NW, thinking "oval" at first for 1A, but of course, that's 2-D and, therefore, problematic. Eventually, it all worked itself out. ASHTONS noted. I was expert-level with the arcade Q*BERT back in the day, and always needed to just jump all of my people to their deaths in order to end the game at the end of the night. Dairy AISLE is weak. Probably Colum knew DEFIB right away, and I, too, enjoyed the primate pairing. Good, if more difficult than usual, Tuesday.
I like the horizontal symmetry here, and the slate roof is cute. (I wish we had one!)
I was surprised when MEECE became clear for "Little rodents, jocularly." It's amusing, yes, but shouldn't it really be "meeces?" as in "I hate those meeces to pieces?"