Is Wednesday the new Thursday? Last week we had some semi-rebus trickery, and today we've got two rebus squares and a trail of BREADCRUMBS leading HANSELANDGRETEL (35A: Story mapped out in this grid, from lower left to upper right) from the [WITCH] back [HOME], or vice-versa. Or does it matter? I guess they dropped them as they went from home, so it makes sense that the letters would read that way. And it's a meandering path, which is nice. OK, I like the theme just fine.
There's nice bonus theme material, too, with the symmetrical (sort of) HANSCHRISTIAN/ANDERSEN (20A: With 23-Across, giant in fairy tales) (Nice clue!), and BROTHERSGRIMM (52A: Publishers of 35-Across, with "the"), and EATNOFAT (11D: Emulate Jack Sprat). Even ABEAR (54A: Hungry as ____) seems thematic today.
I so wanted to enter "Acadia National Park" for 18A: "Where America's day begins" (GUAM), but it's interesting to be reminded that America still has territories. Is the U.S. dollar the official currency in Guam? Probably, I guess. And CESARRITZ (34D: Swiss "king of hoteliers") was also somewhat interesting.
Frannie called out LESSEES (40A: Flat takers) as especially hated fill, but I feel its terribleness is mitigated by its symmetry with EVICTED (30A: Kicked to the curb). And is an HBEAM (10D: Letter-shaped girder) the same as an I-beam when viewed a different way? Yes. Yes it is. The same type of beam can be called I-Beam, H-Beam, UB (universal beam), double-T, or RSJ (rolled steel joist). Ooh, I can't wait until we start seeing RSJ in the grid on a regular basis!
But I digress. This was a fine, if slightly odd, Wednesday. I wonder if the Wednesday trickery will continue next week?