A TALE OF MANY CITIES
No theme is worth this.
But let's talk about the theme first anyway. In a 23x23 grid (big for a Sunday, I think) we get eight very long down answers, two 14-letters, four 19-letters, and two 20-letters, each of which hides, not necessarily in consecutive order, the names of well known cities. The cities, San Francisco, New York, London, Suez, Bombay, Calcutta, and Yokohama, are organized in a west to east fashion as you would on a world map, split at the International Date Line. Turns out which cities have been chosen is an important point as well.
The long answers are, for the most part, completely acceptable. SAINTFRANCISCOLLEGE is pretty obscure, but I was able to infer it relatively easily. THENEWYANKEEWORKSHOP ran from 1989 to 2009, so that's recent enough, and it's a nice complete title. I don't like the "one's" in LETTINGONESHAIRDOWN. LEMONSQUEEZERS is fine, despite the unnecessary plural.
BORNTOBEMYBABY and THELONGKISSGOODNIGHT are both acceptable in their entirety; the former made it to number 3 on the Billboard top 100, although I didn't recognize while listening to it just now. The latter I never saw, and it gets a 67% on Rotten Tomatoes, so that's not terrible.
YOUKNOWWHATIMSAYING is a nice piece of vernacular. SPECIALCOURTMARTIAL is exactly what the clue says: a midlevel military trial, rather than a summary (for minor misconduct) or a general (for major crimes). So overall, the theme does exactly what it sets out to do, and it's pretty clever, and clearly a lot of hard work.
The downside is the huge (and I mean immense) amount of junk you have to slog through in order to get there. There is no section of the puzzle that is free of stuff I do not ever want to have to see. And how many of them cross each other? FANON and RAO?! (The A was my FWOE). NAHUM and OSH?!?! UHOH, OHOK and OOH; NABE, YAWL, KCAR; ERIN, ERIS and IRIS; EROO; UHURA right above OHARA. I could go on. And on. And on. I did not enjoy it.
A few clues that raised my spirits a little: 89A: Act the rat (GNAW) - I was looking for "tell". 91A: It's folded before a meal (TACO). A Mikado reference (KOKO). 154A: One following an order (FRIAR), without any annoying question mark. 162A: Do a body scan? (OGLE). And the best one of all: 125D: A neighbor (GSHARP). That's fine stuff, there.