Completed with my mother.
Boy, this puzzle went smoothly. It helped that we guessed wrong on 1D: Strong Chinese liquor (MAOTAI) by entering MAiTAI, which opened up the NW corner pretty quickly. Turns out this is the most produced Chinese alcohol, and dates from the 1600s. Even after finishing this corner, I wondered about 23A: Big tower letters (AAA). Was it supposed to be FAA, for the airport towers? But no. They meant towing... very clever.
It's strange to have a theme on a Saturday, even though the puzzle would do just as well without it. However, the 15-letter answers, of which there are five, have the word TRUTH spread out through them, thus fulfilling the revealer STRETCHTHETRUTH. My favorite (for a number of reasons) is BUTTERNUTSQUASH. Such a lovely Q, which also plays into another nice clue at 39D: Need for sleep (QUIET).
There is very little in the fill that I didn't like. RHEA, ERSE, and TAU are old school crosswordese. Some people might have difficulty with RUPP, but the University of Kentucky basketball team has been a powerhouse for so long, that I think it's fair, as are all the crosses. 8D: Compassion for the misery of others (RUTH) is a word that has lost its meaning in modern parlance, but is retained in the term "ruthless", so all good.
Mount Obama in ANTIGUA is 402 meters tall, and used to be called Boggy Peak until 2009, when it was renamed in honor of our former president. Meanwhile, other small areas of land are recognized in the puzzle with JUTS (about what a spit does), ISLE, and TENERIFE.
1A: Spelling aid? (MOJO) - B-. Didn't really get a chuckle from me.