Today's surprise is that Phoebe and I did the puzzle together. This rarely happens, but is always a welcome occurrence, especially when it's as tough a puzzle as today's was.
The NW corner went super fast though, even with my initial mistake of BABYbjornS at 1A: Alternatives to strollers (BABYSLINGS). ADIEUADIEU went in ("to yuh and yuh and yuh...") without any difficulty. But we couldn't get out from there, because nobody has ever heard of GEODESISTS. Even after we finished the puzzle, we stared at that answer. "Geo... desists?"
After that there was a long period with a few answers scattered here and there. What finally broke it all open was taking out a section of guesses in the SE, including a clearly incorrect -S at the end of 48D: "Go back" button abbr. on some remotes (PREV). How did I think that would end in an -S? Well, in my defense, there's an -S at the end of the clue. So... yeah.
Anyway, Phoebe looked at 53A: Spitball, e.g. and saw PROJECTILE (very nice) and then we got USNAVYSEAL, and finally, OXYGENBARS. And that opened up the middle.
I love 30A: Blarney stone? (FAUXDIAMOND), and groan at 34A: Simple business, frankly speaking? (HOTDOGSTAND). Oof, that's a tortured clue, but a fun one.
The clue that tried the hardest was 33D: What Hawaii has that Alaska lacks? (DOTTEDIS). Let me suggest that a better clue would have been "What Hawaii has that Idaho lacks?"