Hmm... I see now that there is a math theme in the circles. Huh. Not terribly exciting, and I only noticed it now because I am writing the review and saw the circles. Perhaps the practical non-existence of the theme allowed for a smoother puzzle, I don't know, but this one felt pretty good while it was being solved. At the end I just could not see what could happen with AE_OE! Frannie, however, saw it right away (AEPOE (15A: Author of Gothic short stories, in short)). The other square that was problematic, and which ended up being an educated (by vague memory of puzzles past) guess was the N in SANA (44A: Yemen's capital) and KENAI (38D: Alaskan peninsula). That was a toughie!
Nothing terribly exciting in the grid, but it's always nice to see our old friend EEYORE (61A: Mopey donkey of children's literature), and EURO (58A: Coin whose front varies by country) was nicely appropriate. (We fly home today, so these references should slowly fade out.) BESTOW is a nice word, as is GRIFT, and I like seeing 52D: Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse ____ (TYSON), in the grid, 'though it reminds us that we missed the last episode of the new "Cosmos." Oh well, something to look forward to upon our return.
Speaking of which, I've got to go pack! See you back stateside tomorrow.