It's Thursday, and we've got a rebus, and all is right with the world.
The theme answers are four common phrases where the first word is repeated at the end, and here, the first word is rebusized, and then left off at the end. We are left to wonder why that should be the case until we get to the revealer, which tells us to go BACKTOSQUAREONE. Pretty nice little trick, and the rebuses are nicely incorporated into the down answers, too, as in BA[YOU] (1D: Feature of Cajun Country) and BAIL[BOND] (8D: One way to get out of jail).
The puzzle is pretty clean, with some obscure-ish names (GIA Scala, Bob KANE, ANNA Wintour, Mark OMEARA & TWYLA Tharp) (loads of names, actually - LOTT, NAST, ALVA, BEN, DALY...) and a few slightly forced answers like RETIES, BAA, and YUKS. But balancing out those necessities are zippy entries like ANACONDA, ENIGMA, STARLESS, AGHAST, MOSAIC, CONEHEAD, and the excellent SNAKEOIL (38D: Quack remedy).
Noteworthy clues today included "40A: Like a sleeper cell?" (ONSILENT), "37D: Sleeper that never dreams" (SOFA), and the very clever "4D: House rules may not apply here" (SENATE) and "59D: What makes a tumbler spin" (KEY). Beautiful.
I did not particularly enjoy seeing Marine Le PEN get recognition in the puzzle, but I do always enjoy seeing the lengths gone to in coming up with new ways to clue ERIE (63A: It's a two-hour drive north of Pittsburgh). Heh.
Saddest clue: "32A: What one gets after many years of work" (OLD). NYTX, Keepin' it real. ... ouch.
I enjoyed this one. A solid start to the Turn.