Here's a lovely themeless puzzle for a Saturday. There are two 15-letter tentpoles that are very strong, and a nice smattering of interesting fill and challenging clues. The downside is very small, just a few 3-letter entries that I raise an eyebrow at (NOS, EDS) but can't really complain about too much.
I'm proud to say that my first entry came at 4D: Daughter and half sister of Oedipus (ISMENE). Knowledge gained in high school! I stage managed our school's production of Antigone, by Jean Anouilh, and something stuck. It didn't help me that much, though. I had to come back to the NW later.
I gained another entry with BALSA, which gave me ENIGMA (nice clue with "Tough nut to crack"). Filling in that area allowed me down into the SW corner. I like 51A: Rollback events (EBBTIDES) - that was definitely unexpected. 54A: Squeaker (CLOSEONE) is also a nice clue. I like that ODOR crosses SEWERRAT - those two clearly go together.
With Hope's help, I figured out GRAVITYSRAINBOW, which opened up the NW. 1A: Rugby rival of Harvard (MCGILL) is a seriously roundabout way of getting to that college's name. I give it a B+, mostly for the nice collection of consonants in the corner there. 1D: Unhand or disarm? (MAIM) is somewhat unpleasant.
I moved to the NE next, coming off of BOOZE and BSIDE to get 7D: One who goes on to try to conquer the Universe? (MISSUSA). That's a few too many words for the joke, I think. Maybe "A queen who can no longer be Trumped?" Too soon?
MICKEYDS is apparently appearing in the NYT crossword for the first time today, so kudos there. I tried to fit McDonalds in, but there weren't enough spaces. I also tried to put Lebron where DURANT fit: the right number of spaces, the wrong number of scoring crowns (he's only won once, in 2007-8).
Love love love YOUREDARNTOOTIN, especially the dropped G at the end. That's a wonderful 15-letter answer. I also enjoyed 27D: Front-and-center section (VIOLAS) for many reasons, but the foremost being that I was thinking in terms of the audience, rather than those on stage. 35D: Aid in studying a culture (TESTTUBE) is clever, but I think it's off somewhat. You see cultures in Petri dishes, not in testtubes.
55A: Lift one's spirits? (IMBIBE) is awesome.