I spent a long time staring at the empty crossing of BAREXAM and RENT. And why? Because I had entered BEAUs down below, rather than the technically but really only in French correct BEAUX.
Anyway, WHY did the [CHICKEN] cross the [ROAD]? We don't exactly get an answer in this puzzle, except that there is a graphic representation of a road diagonally in the middle of the grid, with the question crossing it. I put the fowl in each square, rather than the street. What did you do?
[CHICKEN] across, [ROAD] down. The rebus squares were symmetrically placed, just not in typical locations. I much preferred the across answers, such as [CHICKEN]OFTHESEA and NOSPRING[CHICKEN], which was the answer I actually broke the theme on. The best crossing however, comes at PLAY[CHICKEN] and [ROAD]RUNNER. Poor Wile E. Coyote. Was the darned bird that tasty looking? Seemed scrawny to me.
The long down answers in the NW and SE corners are okay. I like 3D: First, second and third, exactly (TRIFECTA). POLOBALL is fine, INSANEST is just not a term I'd use. I think I'd feel more comfortable saying "most insane". RENEGADE was another answer it took me some time to get because of an atypical plural, in this case NOVAE (where I had -S for a while).
23A: Polish target (TOENAIL) was a tough get. Part of me was looking for a hidden capital where none existed. The rest had a hard time seeing somebody "targeting" their nails with nail polish.
1A: Decides one way or the other (OPTS) - D+. Too common.
Fave: SIDLE (64A: Move furtively, in a way). Fun word.
Least fave: Probably SAC, although there were others in the running.
I'm noticing more and more stuff I was not fond of, so I'm going to end here. I liked the theme. Also, I found it odd how quickly I filled in 53D: "Le Coq ____" (DOR). That's d'or, as in "made of gold". An opera by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov that I have never seen, although I have heard music from it in the form of a suite.