We held off on the review of this puzzle until tonight in deference to the contest, which ended at 6pm. Now all may be revealed.
The early references to time (Monday's second-to-week time progression, Tuesday's TIME clues for all the fifteens, Thursday's "Times" squares) were relevant, and Wednesday's PEEKABOOISEEYOU and face could maybe be tied to today's XMARKSTHESPOT (9D: Map phrase ... and a hint to finding this week's final answer) as we need to look closely at all the Xs in all the puzzles this week. When we do, we note that they all occur on the upper half of the grid. They also occur only in numbered squares, and if we write down the numbers and line them up with the alphabet, it spells out "TEMPUS FUGIT," or "Time Flies." Not bad. It seems a little straightforward, but I suppose I could be missing a further level of complexity.
Frannie and I were joined by our friend, frequent commenter, and occasional guest-blogger Colum Amory when solving this puzzle, and together, we pieced out the meta in short order. We were momentarily stalled because the Saturday puzzle would not show as completed and correct until after 6pm tonight, but we didn't realize that at first, and spent quite a bit of time looking through it, trying to find an error, but in reality, we didn't have any!
Apart from the meta, this had some nice bits. AMENS (19A: Shows of appreciation for services provided?) was nice, 21A: Prideful? (LIONS) and 23A: Figureheads? (CPAS) are cute, RENEE (22A: "Born again" woman) (from French!) is nice, and OATS (29A: Some Arabian food) (horses!) was tricky! UPDO (57A: It's hair-raising) is also quite good.
We didn't (none of us!) understand why NENES (12D: Leche drinkers) was right. Is that a Spanish term for baby? And XDIN (7D: Double-crossed) wasn't a favorite. OTIC, STETS, STES... not the greatest, and it just seemed odd that EMTS was clued with "51D: Some N.F.L. workers."
Overall, it was an above average week of puzzles, and the added meta angle was fun.