I had a heck of a time finding a place to start. I first saw in the East 47A: LIE (“Your table will be ready in five minutes,” possibly). Then I took a flyer on the crossers at: 35D: EXIT (It’s found on the side of the road), I said “rail”; and 36D: AYES (Passing requirements), I said “Dees.” I was stuck with these wrong ones for awhile.
I next tried to find a foothold in the SW with: 63A: STE (___-Chapelle), sometimes my investment as a world traveler pays dividends; 61A: NOM (Information after “Je m’appelle …”), what did I just say?; and 44D: README (Software text page). But got stuck on 56A: AID (Bolster), with only the D, I wasn’t ready for this one yet.
I then moved East (I feel maybe that’s been a theme in my life lately …) and promptly missed 49D: CROAT (Southeastern European), I wanted it to be Serb, but it didn’t fit, so I went with Greek, although I think I knew better, since I had just seen the clue for 42D: PAGANS (Ancient Greeks, e.g.), which I hadn’t answered, but I know they just don’t do that, I mean place the answer to one clue in another — no, if that ever comes up, Will Shortz (the sainted NYT Crossword Editor) uses a substitute word or phrase, of which he seems to possess an endless supply.
A moment later, 49A: CHEEZITS (Orange snacks) saved me, on both ends, by revealing “Croats” on the front, and “exit” on the back-end. What a magical word, and delightfully appealing, slightly disgusting, nearly foodlike substance.
30D: EUGENELEVY (Only actor to appear in all eight “American Pie” films) was fun and helpful. Though I had no idea there were anywhere near eight episodes in this franchise, nor that Mr. Levy had made quite a career of it.
Had too much of an issue with 42A: PERIWIG (Top of the British judicial system?), although I had “wig” pretty quickly, I struggled with the first part, and was troubled by the shared “G” ending both it and the too similar 24D: EARWIG (Pincered creature).
Had the most trouble though with 22A: FBICASES (Some of them are devoted to gangsters), I incorrectly said “Mob Wives.” I was probably overly focused on the word “devoted” which may have led me to 35A: GETTHEWRONGIDEA (Misunderstand). See what I did there?
I finished in the NE corner with the trio: 12A: MSG (Something found naturally in tomatoes and potatoes — who knew?), I was thinking maybe this was meant to be some kind of cute spelling trick, and wanted to answer “an E”; along with 13D: SEATAC (Alaska Airlines hub); and ending at 14D: GONERS (They’re history), which was much harder for me than I think it was supposed to be.