It seems like it's been a while since we've seen one of these "picture" themes, and who doesn't like the BIGDIPPER? Nobody, that's who. Still, pretty much every time I see it in the night sky I am reminded of a traumatic experience I had in childhood, when, while looking through one of the books in my father's study, I learned that the stars would eventually shift (are ever shifting) from their current positions and that the seven-star saucepan (that's right, I see it as a pan, not a ladle) would someday lose its iconic shape.
I suppose I might as well worry about the Sun going out, which, incidentally, was the subject of a planetarium show that I took Frannie to on one of our first dates. "Springtime of the Universe," it was called, and it told the story of how our planet, now in its heyday, would eventually have all its lifeforms incinerated and its water boiled out into space when our sun turns into a Red Giant. While the Sun then cools, on its way to becoming a White Dwarf, life might begin to reappear, only to be frozen completely to death when the Sun goes out for good. So romantic...
Anywho, this theme is lovely, for now. Four pinwheeled answers and the circles that form a pretty decent representation make for a solid core. Things get a little spacy in a couple areas (BUTENE, RONDEL, ARYAN, and the 1962 Anka hit are a little far out for a Tuesday), but over all, it was pretty clean. When I got to 71A: Dispatched, as a dragon (SLEW) all I could think of was "slain," but that wouldn't fit, so I convinced myself that "slay" could also be the past participle. Unfortunately for me, EASa and DRAy didn't work for the Downs.
My favorite clue/answer today was 3D: Doesn't mind (DISOBEYS). That might have to go onto the favorites list.
Maybe not truly stellar, but certainly worth gazing at for a bit.