So, I'm obviously going to take an immediate dislike to this puzzle when 1A: 1969 and 1986 World Series champs (METS) reminds me of one of the most painful moments of my sports-watching life. That only escapes a failing grade because of the inclusion of the 1969 Miracle Mets.
Without looking anything up on the Interwebz to see the creator's purpose, all I can say is that today's theme answers are two-word phrases which both start with S. The fact that there are 12 theme answers is impressive enough, I suppose, although it becomes slightly less impressive because of all of the Ss involved. Of all of the answers, only STEEPSLOPE feels like a random pair of words, so the puzzle gets points also for genuine phrases.
On the other hand, we get both ESAI and ESAU. ENOW, already, with those names. And seriously, we get CSIS?! That's just not an acceptable answer. There are some abbreviations that I don't love (PCT, I'm looking at you), but otherwise the fill is not too bad.
I liked LISZT, but I really wanted RAVEL to be clued to the composer, rather than the never-used "Get tangled up" sense of the word. You know, like: "When I do the laundry, I hate how my daughter's leotards and tights get all ravelled up." And speaking of Ravel, Maurice, I really love Bolero, love it to death. But it annoys me to no end when a conductor puts an uncalled-for slow-down in the last few iterations of the theme. It's meant to go straight through, metronomically, and the excitement comes from the inexorable accretion of orchestration.
Anyhoo, I guess if I'm talking about that, it means I don't have enough to say about the puzzle.