The revealer explains everything today. STICKEMUP - and in the other theme answers, any time the elision "'em" shows up, it literally sticks up out of the line. In practical terms, this simply means that there needs to be an M above the E each time. The best part is where MESMER works twice over in this regard.
The phrases are all strong, with the best clearly being ROCKE[M]SOCKE[M]ROBOT, even though it should be pluralized to be the actual name of the game. Still, it's one way to get a 17-letter phrase into a 15 x 15 grid.
Some people would turn their noses up at the pair of non-theme answers at 14A and 63A, both of which are as long as theme answers. To which I say, OWLET it slide. And after all, the theme answer at 17A is actually ten letters long.
|I want to go to there|
Anyway, the mind can convince you of most anything if you give it half a chance.
My music week is running into bleak territory today. CHINMUSIC? Not exactly real music. My Gilbert & Sullivan friends might perhaps suggest Princess IDA(ho)? Even the FLUTE is clued with reference to a glass. Sad days, my friends.