Title: Cornered. The trick to this theme? Two words at right angles to each other thus forming a corner. The first word before the bend makes sense on its own. The last letter of that word starts the second word, which has its own clue and finishes the correct answer to the starred clue.
*1A. Nitty-gritty, as of negotiations + 5D. Library Area = BrasStacks
*6. Boater + 10D. Question from one room to another = StraWhat
*14A. Title figure in an Aesop fable + 18D. Ad-filled weekly = GrasShopper
*58A. Work at a desk, say + 59D. Act like a protective mother = HuncHover
*77A. Bracket shape + 78D. Fishing line fiasco = RighTangle
*35D. Ernest snd Julio Gallo product + 69A. Bale binder = MerloTwine
*57D. Usual amount to pay + 86A. Log holder = GoinGrate
*95D. Part of a boxer’s training + 131A. Really feel for? = JumpinGrope
*107D. It’s pitched for a large audience + 134A. Artery opener = CircuStent
*117D. Common secret + 133A. Stellate: star :: xiphoid: _____ = PasSword
22A. “L’shana _____!” (Rosh Hashanah Greeting) Answer: Tovah. Being Jewish came in handy here. We’ll be using this greeting very soon as Rosh Hashanah starts the evening of September 28th.
34A. James _____, duettist on the 1982 #1 hit “Baby, Come to me” Answer: Ingram. Another pop artist whose name didn’t ring a bell. Googling, I found out that he sang this song with Anita Baker, who I have heard of. I did recall the song after listening to it via YouTube
103A. “Il était _____ foie…” (French fairy-tale starter) Answer: une. Knowing French came in handy again.
95A. Ayn Rand protagonist. Answer: John Galt. This was one of those answers that I knew I knew but took a few minutes to pop into my head. The book is Atlas Shrugged. I’ve never read it. I did read Rand’s The Fountainhead many years ago.
122A. Stellate: star :: xiphoid: _____. Answer: Sword. As noted above, this is the second half of one of the starred clues. I’ve never heard the word “xiphoid” before. It means “star-shaped.”
87D. With 4-Down, MgSO4.7H20. Answer: Epsom Salts. Chemistry is definitely not my strong suit, so that gobbledegook meant nothing to me.