55A. Old family recipe (and see circles): SECRET SAUCE.
The remaining long fill entries, in a pinwheel array, have nothing obvious to do with each other. If you didn't get the circles, this SECRET will be a real mystery. If you did get them, you'll see they are centrally located in the shape of the letter S, which can stand for either SECRET, SAUCE, the word that the circled letters spell, SPAGHETTI, or the letter S occurring twice each in the other long fills.
This is an original theme concept. At least I don't remember seeing anything quite like it before. The fill entries with the circled letters also have nothing else in common. Here they are in order.
26A. Filing tool: RASP. A coarse file used for rough shaping.
30A. Collars: ARRESTS. Places under legal custody. When the bandit fell in love with the police woman who captured him, it was cardiac ARREST.
34A. Web unit: PAGE. An element of internet presence, not typically associated with silken threads.
38A. Skater Sasha or comic Sacha Baron: COHEN. Alexandra Pauline "Sasha" Cohen is an American figure skater. She is the 2006 Olympic silver medalist, a three-time World Championship medalist, the 2003 Grand Prix Final Champion, and the 2006 U.S. Champion. Sacha Noam Baron Cohen is an English actor, comedian, screenwriter, and producer. Baron Cohen is most widely known for creating and portraying four fictional characters: Ali G, Borat Sagdiyev, Brüno Gehard, and Admiral General Aladeen. Both per Wikipedia. You probably don't confuse them.
43A. Struggled to achieve: EKED OUT. Just barely succeeded at something, like survival, frex., often via excessive effort.
47A. With 31-Down, "Proud Mary" singer: TINA. Because Creedence Clearwater Revival doesn't fit.
Also -- 17. Phoenix-based hotel chain (and see circles): BEST WESTERN. The chain operates 2163 hotels in North America, and over 4000 world wide.
11D. Produce served in the fall (and see circles): ACORN SQUASH. So named because of it's shape.
25. Feature of some penny loafers (and see circles): SADDLE STRAP. It's not clear to me what these last three have to do with the theme, other than each containing the letter S twice; but since the circles are mentioned, I'll include them here. Am I missing something?
Hi, Gang. JzB here. And there is your tasty theme, complete with SAUCE, a veggie burger and even an unusual dessert. The theme visual can be found in the grid diagram at the bottom of this post. Now, let's get out of the kitchen and explore the rest of this offering.
1. Film director's honor: OSCAR. One of 24 awards issued annually by the Academy of Motion picture Arts and Sciences for artistic or technical merit.
6. Rich, dusty soil: LOESS. A loosely compacted deposit of windblown sediment.
11. Greeting at a dog park: ARF. Sound of a dog's friendly bark.
14. 100 kopecks: RUBLE. Russian money, if you are in a hurry.
15. Common film festival film: INDIE. Independent - i. e. not associated with a major studio.
16. Loving murmur: COO. Get a room . . .
19. Mac platform: OSX. Version 10 of the Apple Macintosh operating system. I'm using Version 10.10.5 Yosemite.
20. Crankcase reservoir: OIL PAN. The bottom section of the crankcase where the oil resides.
21. Small bouquet: SPRAY.
23. "Help!" at sea: SOS. The Morse Code international distress signal, a continuous sequence of 3 dots, 3 dashes and three dots. So if you panic and start sending out OSO, it really doesn't matter.
27. Threadbare: WORN. Thin and tattered with long use.
28. Place for prayer: CHAPEL. Typically, a small church.
33. __ the hills: OLD AS. Contrary to popular belief, I am younger than some of the hills.
36. Here, in Spanish: AQUI. There is Ahi or alli.
Wait for it
39. Short: CURT.
40. Indianapolis NFLer: COLT.
Are they out of Luck?
42. Accra is its capital: GHANA. West African country located on the Gulf of Guinea.
45. Yellowstone attraction: GEYSER. A hot spring that emits a column of water and steam.
46. Brewski: SUDS. AKA a cold one.
49. Nine and five, in nine-to-five: Abbr.: HRS. Typical working hours.
50. Cast a ballot: VOTED.
52. Sources of fragrant wood: CEDARS. True CEDARS are conifer trees of the family pinaceae. There are many other many other conifers that have similarly colored and scented woods.
54. Make a mistake: ERR. It's only human.
60. Salty body: SEA. Of water.
61. "Carmen," e.g.: OPERA.
62. Not yet realized: UNMET. As needs.
63. Peak: TOP.
64. Ten-time French Open winner: NADAL. Rafael "Rafa" Nadal Parera is a Spanish professional tennis player, currently ranked world No. 1 in men's singles tennis by the Association of Tennis Professionals.
65. Sounds from a belfry: PEALS. The loud ringing of bells.
1. Mercury or Mars: ORB. A celestial sphere - in this case a planet.
2. Alphabet Series novelist Grafton: SUE.
3. "Young Sheldon" network: CBS.
4. Kind of clarinet: ALTO. The clarinet you typically think of is the soprano version. This one is larger and pitched a 5th lower in Eb and has a curved metal bell. Little known factoid - the clarinet was invented by a French musician who named it after his daughters, Claire and Annette.
5. Does some electrical work: REWIRES. Could be shocking.
6. Speech therapist's concerns: LISPS. Eathy for you to thay.
7. Ready to pour: ON TAP. As, frex, SUDS.
8. Genesis garden: EDEN. Life was simpler back then.
9. Ringo Starr's title: SIR. Ringo was knighted by Prince William just a few weeks ago.
10. Motion detector, e.g.: SENSOR.
12. Civil rights hero Parks: ROSA. Rosa Louise McCauley Parks [1913 -2005] refused to move to the back of the bus in Montgomery ALA in 1955. She was arrested for violating the segregation law, and became an important symbol of the civil rights movement.
13. Sly: FOXY. Clever and cunning.
18. Airline to Tel Aviv: EL AL. The flag carrying airline of Israel since 1948.
22. Tediously moralistic: PREACHY. Often implying an undeserved tone of moral superiority.
23. One carrying a torch?: SCONCE. A wall mounted fixture, not a person.
24. "Hey, check it out!": OH LOOK. Get a load of that!
27. Small, chirpy bird: WREN.
29. Incurring late fees: PAST DUE. As library books or loan payments.
30. Forever: AGES.
31. See 47-Across: TURNER. Tina, from the thema.
32. Indian lutes: SITARS.
34. "Always be a __, even in prose": Baudelaire: POET.
35. Finder's cry: AHA! Eureka!
38. Computer "brains," briefly: CPUS. Central Processing Units.
42. Gets ready (for): GEARS UP.
44. Heavily favored: ODDS ON.
45. Pesky flier: GNAT. Annoying insect.
47. __ cotta: TERRA. Unglazed, typically red-brown earthenware.
48. Exemplary: IDEAL. Perfection!
50. Garment for brisk days: VEST. COAT also fits.
51. Two-toned snack: OREO. More food, common x-word fare.
52. Sent a dupe to: CCED. Carbon copies are so 1980, but still the abrev persists.
53. Reasonable: SANE. That's not-crazy talk.
56. Org. that monitors wetlands: EPA. Environmental Protection Agency.
57. Actress Thurman: UMA.
58. Cartoon sheet: CEL.
59. Purported UFO crew: ETS. Extra-Terrestrials, off planet expats.
OK, Kids. That wraps up another Wednesday. Hope you enjoyed it.