Thursday took more time than Monday through Wednesday combined! I loved this theme, but it was a real challenge for me to visualize as I was doing the puzzle. There were times I recognized that a theme answer was required in a particular section, but couldn't get any further.
The grid is designed to literally BURSTOUT/LAUGHING, with understood "ha"s sitting outside the boundaries of the puzzle. What's really nice about the layout is that half of the twelve theme answers have the"ha" at the beginning of the word and half at the end. In addition, the collection of theme answers are nicely varied in the way the "ha" is used.
Best theme answers for me are [HA]IRYLEGS, [HA]VEWEMET, YOUBETC[HA], and APOCRYP[HA]. I figured the theme out, sort of, when I came across 46A: Big ____ (W.W. I Weapon). I knew the answer (BERT[HA]), but tried putting in a rebus at first, which clearly didn't work with 40D. I came around to it eventually.
Other non-theme entries I liked include SHRIVEL and FERRERO, because chocolate.
Odd entries I liked included 32D (NOUNS), for the ludicrous clue. The "Trial and error, e.g." style clue is spurned for the insanity of multiple versions of the word "buffalo" (for a nice parsing of this sentence, go here. In related entries, 57A: Bases for basses (HOMONYMS) had me confused for a while.
How is it I always manage to choose the wrong answer for 19A: Lead-in to haw (YEE)? Once I chose hEE, I went with MANhouR for 3D, which threw the entire corner off for quite some time. I wished for a different clue for 49A: Shostakovich symphony "Babi ___" (YAR). Couldn't we have referenced Katharine Hepburn somehow?
I will go on record as saying that I do not think of a TOPKNOT as being a stylish hairdo, let alone a "bun" at all. The clue for 15D (ARTBRUT) is pretty much word for word correct, but I'd not come across the term before.
21D: "Late" news item (OBIT) was obvious with the quotation marks. In this case, I might have preferred "Late news item?" I liked the pair of 23D: Catch (NAB) and 40D: Caught (GOT) in symmetric positions.
A good, challenging Thursday (for me). Looking forward to the rest of the turn!