I finished all but one square of the grid after coffee this morning, then I put the puzzle down. I knew a Natick when I saw one, and see one I did, almost right smack dab in the middle of the puzzle, where "Reformer Jacob" crossed "Golfer Michelle." It will come as no surprise to our devoted readers that I did not know sportswoman Michelle's last name. I did have some notion that Jacob's last name sounded like 'reese' but my first attempt at capturing the sound with an 'ei' letter combination was a fail. Fortunately, I next thought of the very Dutch 'ii' combo which produced the correct RIIS and WIE. And here I PRIED myself on my language skills.
Enough about me. Let's get back to the puzzle. Today's revealer reads "Abandon ... or two words often seen next to the starts 17-, 27-, 47-, and 60-Across." What the clue doesn't say is that while the two words are both next to the start of the theme answer, they are not next to each other. Here's the pattern to follow: FOR [entity + possessive 's] SAKE. For example: For PETES[DRAGON] sake. My own preferred entity in this equation is 'pity,' which was not included, but now that I think about it, may be that the entity in the formula above should be amended to 'religious entity.'
I enjoyed the ambiguous "Was out" for SLEPT and similarly, "What a fountain may provide" (COLA). I was surprised by the surprising HARDG for "Big finish?" because the hard g is so normal in that case it seemed odd to use it as the example in the clue, but maybe that made it more surprising! Other clue/answer pairs I liked include "Bereft, old-style" (LORN), "Noggin" (BEAN), and "Suggests, flavorwise" (TASTESOF). I also liked the fun fill RHINOCEROS and EPEEISTS.
On the other hand, I'm not completely sold on the equivalence between "Gusto" and ELAN or "Bumpkin" and YAHOO.
I reJOIST to see that women are unusually well represented in this puzzle. We have Dame EDNA, the aforementioned Michelle WIE, THEDA Bara, TERI Polo, and ALEK Wek. Maybe it was mere chance, but it is nice to see. RAS!