I felt good about myself today when the first answer I put in was ERITREA (Country where the oldest human skull (circa 1,000,000 B.C.) was found in 1997), but it didn't get me any of the top crosses, and that NW section was where I ended up again, fifteen minutes later. But so it sometimes goes with a Saturday.
I "dropped" LSD (This might change your mind) in, too, and that, along with TOPO ("____ the mornin'!") and MERE (Woman with enfants), led to the fun Downs LOVELETTER (Hot lines?) and SPARETIRES (Remedies for blowouts). And in the symmetrical area in the SW, it was the Downs that came first: "It dots the 'i' in the Ohio State marching band's spelling of 'Ohio'" (SOUSAPHONE) and "Troublemaker" (HELLRAISER). And those helped with SHINEON (Deceive so as to deflect) - a phrase I was not familiar with.
Best clue today? Is it "Fit to serve?" (EDIBLE), "They're often worn long at public events" (FAKESMILES), "On a streak?" (NAKED), or "Takeoff in pole position, perhaps?" for STRIPTEASE? Heh. And then there's "See star?" (PONTIFF) and "Seeds may go down in them" (UPSETS). Clever.
Back in the NW, I guessed CART (Street food source) and TBAR (One way up, perhaps), which finally gave me enough to see BABAORILEY (Five-minute rock classic with an iconic organ intro), and that, finally, was that.