Well, we've gone the whole month without a rebus on Thursday. I guess the "X marks the spot" (July 6) puzzle was kind of like a rebus, but if you put in the word "spot" instead of an X, the online version did not record a complete puzzle.
So what do we have today instead? A visual play on the expression HOLDDOWNTHEFORT. The letters "FORT" in three theme answers are dropped vertically into another Down answer. I like that the FORTs are dropped at the end, the beginning, and the middle of the theme answers. That gives it a polished feel. The revealer has to be loosely interpreted for it to make sense, but I'm ok with that, too. I mean.... there have been a lot of puzzles with themes. We've got to allow a little creative interpretation if we want to keep seeing these, right?
Anyway, the three theme answers are all perfectly good, what about the fill? We've got a few outliers, like the medical ECTOPIC (13A: Out of place, in obstetric parlance), the completely-unknown-at-least-to-me J. M. SYNGE, "The Playboy of the Western World" playwright, and a few bits like ESTAS, HOR, and EEN, but there was way more fun and funny fill, starting with:
1A: Game animals, for some (MASCOTS) - A.
Favorite: I enjoyed 1D: Moving aspect of urban life? (METRO)
Least: Maybe REAIMS (63A: Adjusts one's sights), but really, that's not terrible
Lots to enjoy in this. Uncommon words like RIVEN, STAVE, and ACRID, and MOBRULE (24D: Civil unrest approaching anarchy) and PUGET (8D: Sound in Washington). Even the lowly SSN gets a fun clue "Figure kept in the head, usually: Abbr."