A tough offering from one of our regular constructors - I went with the Downs first, and so I didn't nail the first grid spanner right away-
17A. Top 10 single on the 1970 album "Abraxas" : BLACK MAGIC WOMAN - Santana
...had me a grid that was predominately blank for most of the time, until I hit on
29A. They're not near the action : CHEAP SEATS
... which broke it open for me; before that, I was considering throwing in the "red-letter" towel; and the other spanner,
54A. Didn't just go : ASKED PERMISSION - a simple, yet thoughtful fill
Splynter, here with another Saturday offering for your perusal
1. Old Eurasian letters : USSR - did anyone else start with CCCP, the Cyrillic version?
5. Bean counter : NUMBERS GUY - stared at "_u_bers guy" for a long time...
15. Home of H. Rousseau's "The Sleeping Gypsy" : MOMA - TATE? had to be a museum or art gallery, I figured
16. How travelers' bags are screened : ONE AT A TIME - I have not traveled by air for 8 years, was thinking "IN AN XRAY _ _"
19. Old-style street show : RAREE - I have heard of this
20. Tub contents : BATH - I had oleo to start
21. Depend : REST - I had RELY to start
22. Affected : ARTSY
23. A, B or C, perhaps: Abbr. : ANS - thought KEY, GRADE, etc.
24. Like an alias : FALSE - I usually hear "FALSE ALIBI", not FALSE ALIAS
25. Writ word : HABEAS - we have legal experts on the blog who can step in here
27. Wane : SAG - I had EBB to start
28. 1992 gold medal-winning Dream Team coach Chuck : DALY - I don't do basketball - personally, a waste of time and good hardwood....
35. Some six-pack contents : ALE - Felt good about my "ABS" here
36. Six-pack alternative? : BEER GUT - great answer, I had BEER KEG
37. It's best if it's well-seasoned : WOK - cast iron pans, too
38. Party stipulation : NO CHILDREN - I agree
40. Gentle way to go : EASY
41. Picker-upper's concern: Abbr. : ETA - Did anyone else think "Bounty", the paper towel?
42. Shuts out, in slang : SKUNKS - Both the Bruins and Canucks got shut out twice in the Stanley Cup finals; Vancouver in game 7, at home - they just plain "STUNK" in the series. My brother drove up to Boston for the parade
44. Takes it slow : LOLLS
47. Eastern way : TAO - getting to be a crossword standard
49. '70s toothpaste with "green sparkles" : GLEEM
51. Call, in a way : HAIL - as a cab
52. Pot user : CHEF - uh, not my first thought....
53. Language that gives us "shampoo" : HINDI
57. Very loud : STENTORIAN - A STRAIGHT UP ADJECTIVE I HAVE NEVER HEARD BEFORE - BUT TYPING IN CAPITALS TENDS TO IMPLY SHOUTING; DOES IT BOTHER YOU ????
58. Wood fastener : T-NUT - this do-dad
59. Certain tax determinant : ASSESSMENT
60. They may be first class: Abbr. : SGTS
1. Sunspot center : UMBRA - Latin for shadow; in this case, it's actually a "cool" spot on the sun's surface, relatively speaking
2. Phenomenon caused by ice crystals between the Earth and sun : SOLAR HALO - I don't think I have witnessed this; I have seen something similar, at night with the moon, so I thought "LUNAR" at first - I did have the HALO part....and two Astrological clues in a row....
3. One making cracks : SMART ALEC
4. Happens quickly : RACES BY
5. Camus, for one : NOM - see 43D - Albert Camus was "French", hence his "name" in French
6. Brazen : UNABASHED
7. Kid-lit Judy Moody series author McDonald : MEGAN - new movie coming out based on this popular character when I was a kid - but I was a boy, I didn't read about 'girls', with their cooties....
8. Entices : BAITS
9. Permanently mark : ETCH
10. Word with deal or nerves : RAW - First fill for me
11. Possible reason for folding : STORAGE
12. Letter on a dreidel : GIMEL - I am not up on my Hebrew alphabet
13. Sch. with a Lowell campus : UMASS - so here's a map, just because there isn't much to link today
14. "Fiddler on the Roof" matchmaker : YENTE - Did consider YENTA to start
18. __ Luke of Charlie Chan films : KEYE
24. Ritual abstinence : FAST
26. Rapid Northeast train : ACELA - AMTRAK
27. Moxie : SPUNK
28. Castellaneta who voices Homer Simpson : DAN - the man who improvised "D'oh", which is now in the dictionary
30. Transpose digits, say : ERR
31. Golden, Silver, Bronze and Iron, to Ovid : AGES OF MAN - tried "precious" here
32. One may be rude : AWAKENING
33. Ejected : TOSSED OUT
34. Diving milieu : SKY - had SEA first
36. Smithereens : BITS
39. Athens native : HELLENE - Tried GRECIAN early on
40. Volunteers : ENLISTS
43. Disgusted chorus : UGHs - like seeing French in my crosswords....
44. High capital : LHASA - DENV'R didn't fit
45. Hops driers : OASTS
46. Fancies : LIKES
47. 100,000 BTU : THERM - Learning moment for me
48. John Denver album with an eagle's silhouette on the cover : AERIE - I am a HUGE fan, but this one I did not know - came out when I was 9 months old....nice alternative to "high nest"
50. Cashier's counter bowlful : MINTS - the progress was PENNY, COINS, CENTS, MINTS
52. Naval noncoms : CPOs - Chief Petty Officer
55. AA issue : DTs - Delirium Tremens, more of a medical issue - THEN they suggest you start going to meetings....trust me, I have been there, and I am still there - see "Leaving Las Vegas" for a good example
56. QB's miscue : INT-erception, that is, passing it to the other team