Some of this seemed downright "mid-week" to me. 1-Down, for example, "'The Handmaid's Tale' novelist" (ATWOOD) - hasn't that been in the air recently? A movie or something?... but maybe I just found it easy because I had daringly dropped in ASCII (Tech's character set) to start things off. But even "Oxymoronic break" (WORKINGVACATION) seemed kind of straightforward. And INRI (Letters on a crucifix) is pretty well-known, right?
I'm not saying the construction is SHODDY, but I worried for a bit that it would be NOCONTEST at all. :)
The stepped elevens in the center were solid. I think we've seen MANSPLAINED (Was patronizing, in a way) before, but it's good for me to be reminded of it from time to time, as Frannie likes to accuse me of it. And the clue for DANCELESSON (Step-by-step instructions?) was fantastic. My favorite clue of the day, though, and one that will go into our collection of favorite clues, is "Rabbit's favorite chain restaurant?" (IHOP). Hahahahahahhaaa! Nice one. Also strong was "Public firing?" (PYRE). All question-mark clues, but all very good.
"Stick in the dugout" had me thinking of baseball, of course, especially with that A of ALES (Porters may be found near them) already in place, but no... they meant a boat.
I got held up for several minutes right at the bottom, when I could not figure out the end of DEVELOPMENTHE_L (Long gestation for a film, informally). It seems obvious now, but I also wasn't sure about "____ moment" (AHA), so HALT (Quash) took me a long time to see. In the end, though, it all came together. Phew!
So it started out quick for me, but ground down nicely and had some excellent clues. In the end, a satisfying Saturday.