This puzzle played much more difficult than average. I'm not exactly clear why: there are definitely more mildly obscure names than I'd expect, but the crosses are generally fair. As an example, ZAHN crossing NEYO should probably be a no go, in my opinion. GSTAAD is pretty out there, especially as I've also seen it spelled Gstadt, which, it turns out, is a different other city entirely.
Meanwhile, the theme takes a standard phrase of the form "___ in the ___" and reinterprets it with a single phrase which can be an answer to the second blank space, but which contains in order letters which form a word that answers the first space. Thus, 17A: Bird in the hand? is answered by HIREDPERSON (a hired hand), with the circled letters spelling "heron," a bird.
These are interesting finds, perhaps a little tortured in the figuring out what was going on. I like MARSFORINSTANCE containing "arise" meaning "Come up in the world" the best. I dislike 61A: Ace in the hole (PERFORATION) because when did that ever mean a "hole?" It's a series of holes, right?
I find other things I am dissatisfied with... 11D: Screwdrivers, e.g. (HARDDRINKS). Hmmm. It's a mixed drink, made with hard alcohol. Do we really call it a "hard drink?" I appeal to my audience, some of whom may have a tiny bit of experience with liquor. Would you ever call it that?
On the positive side, I'm always in favor of PUTT putt.
And I'm done.
No, screwdrivers are definitely not HARDDRINKS, although maybe the second one of the morning, when one just pours some vodka and colors it with the OJ, may be. That's why I tend to not drink them. I don't know about MARSFORINSTANCE; it's OK, not great. I found all of these a little tortured, and didn't love this puzzle. It definitely played a bit harder than normal, and I did like that the NW corner is a Z, but all of those circles: not my bag. And 32A English architect Jones (INIGO)? What the...? Shouldn't INIGO always be clued with a "Princess Bride" reference?
Agreed that this was a ridiculously hard Wednesday. For a while, I thought I might not finish it at all. And I'm with Huygens - not a fan of this one, and no on the HARDDRINKS call.