I have a policy of not looking at other reviews before writing my own, but today I peeked at one to see the finished drawing that results from connecting the dots (letters) specified in the instructions. When I just tried to visualize it on our little iPad screen, it seemed kind of like a star, and kind of like an Iron Cross, but the actual result, an angel, is much better. It's lovely, really. And I might have had a better chance of realizing what it should be if I had paid more attention to the theme clues, but I missed GOLFERCABRERA, and MICHELANGELOSCULPTURE and AEROSMITHSONG didn't really help me.
Aside from all that, though, the puzzle went fairly well, up until the NE, which Frannie dubbed, "The Queegmire." We sometimes over-think the French clues, and today we had "Fait" where FINI (43A: Done: Fr.) should have been, and that slowed us down a bit. And speaking of French, RENVOI (15D: Expulsion, as of a foreign diplomat) did not come easily. Nor did FUELTANK (13D: Give it the gas), for that matter. It's funny now, but we were, of course, reading it wrong.
It's odd, but we just mentioned BAUXITE (2D: Good source of aluminum) last night! I was thinking of trying to find my old rock & mineral collection to give to our niece, who was delighted recently to have received a hunk of bismuth in her (homemade) advent calendar. I was telling Frannie about the collection I had when I was about our niece's age, and it included a slab of bauxite. I'm sure you're all so happy that you just spent valuable seconds reading about that.... but it's the holiday season, and what are holidays for if not for stories and memories about family, possessions, gifts, and the like.
And speaking of holiday, we enjoyed the central NOELNOEL (61A: Words that precede "Born is the King ...").
Did not see the forest for the trees, that's for sure. Couldn't see the shape. Limited knowledge of Aerosmith's oeuvre. Thought of the David sculpture instead of the totally unknown-to-me Angel sculpture, which could have worked with GOLFERCABRERA, but not so much with TREETOPPER (70D). Still, I enjoyed the puzzle and its multiple nods to the upcoming holiday, although my favorite clues were not theme entries. I liked the two Futuristic weapon clues (107A: RAYGUN and 50D: PHASER) and 21A: Many an early French settler in America (HUGUENOT) because I associate the word with my favorite French king Henry IV. The holiday clue I liked best was 109A: Like a rendition of "Deck the Halls" (SPIRITED). It works on so many levels. Not much Huyguens material, but maybe he enjoyed 94A: Bach's "__, Joy of Man's Desiring (JESU).