My solv'sperience was pretty routine for a Friday: I didn't get much at first, but then, little by little, I got more. :) My one trouble spot was in northeast corner - again. I had a doubtful QIN ("Chinese dynasty in which the terra-cotta army was built") and was unsure about ANO because of the "Brazil" specification. Since, for crossword purposes, the Spanish and Portuguese words for 'year' are the same, the specification of Brazil made me question my answer. So, with the two top spots in doubt, and being unclear both about what feature of Al Jazeera was wanted and how to interpret the clue "Chopped liver, so to speak," things bogged down a bit. Also, I'm not quite sure why, but I didn't really like FEARED for "Like bogeymen." I considered it, but resisted putting it in until I had to. In that same vein, I found DOOMS for "Sentences", not INAPT exactly, but also not the greatest match. Same with SIMMEREDDOWN for "Regained one's composure."
Two other small problems occurred when I tried HITon instead of HITUP for "Solicit, in slang" and when I entered 'sum' for "Cartesian conclusion" instead of IAM in the southwest.
On the upside, I surprised myself by remembering JAKES ("'North and South' writer John). Also, I pulled CONDI out of nowhere - so to speak. I enjoyed
"Source of a big scoop" (LADLE), "Like many a lemon, eventually" (SOLDFORPARTS), and the old fun favorite, "Were present?" (ARE). Another good one was "Kid's cut, perhaps" (OWIE). It seems obvious now, but my first ideas related to haircuts and percentages (?!?). My favorite QMC of the day was "Structure with many layers?" (COOP) - ha!
I thought we might have a pangram on our hands, but after a closer look, I didn't find an X - someone can check me on that. :) Still, entries such as QATARI, PAJAMAPARTY, and ZEROGRAVITY really JAZZUP the grid - Z's ABOUND!