Who doesn't enjoy punctuation? Nobody. And even one were AVERSE to it, that oddball might be happy today to see four such characters broken into two and strewn over two entries.
The tilde, hyphen, ampersand, and asterisk all appear in circled letters separated by a single black square. Very nice, really. Tidy. And I like that the revealer is a nice long grid-spanner right in the middle. During my solve, I got the revealer thanks to the first part of its clue and existing crosses, and I didn't think any more about the theme until I was done. Looking at it now, I quite like it.
And like yesterday, the fill is interesting and very clean. A couple of Spanish entries in AZUL and AMOR (Subject of una balada), a couple of classical references in HERC (Nickname for a mythical hero) ("Hey Herc!") and SPARTA (Peloponnesian War victor) (nice trivia!), and the whole thing is bracketed by photography (SEPIA) and poetry (YEATS) - seems perfect for me. :)
I enjoyed the spirit of the clues - like "Devices relied upon to a high degree?" (OVENS), "They do dos" (SALONS), and "It might be stolen in full view" (BASE). And "Shortcut for ships" (CANAL) had me stumped for a while. I kept wondering "why would they need shortcuts? They can just turn wherever they want?" Hah!
The longer non-theme material is in the Across answers today, which is a bit unusual. I like COLONIAL and EMULATED, and "Some Catholic gift shop purchases" for ROSARIES just struck me as funny. Gift shops for religions. Why not, I suppose. Where else are people going to get little Buddha statues and Whirling Dervish hats? I guess it's just that "gift shop," to me, usually brings to mind things of a more secular nature.
Lastly, it's two days in a row now for TACIT. Will we see tacet tomorrow?