Welcome back to me. Every week I say to myself, how can I possibly write any reviews of interest after Frannie has dazzled us with a week of humor and delight? Perhaps if I drank one of Horace's famed NEGRONIS, I'd be more apt to dazzle. Alas, I prefer CHAMPAGNE. Quite the tipsy corner there in the SW!
I do love a themed puzzle that keeps me guessing until the revealer shows up, and this puzzle did exactly that. The theme answers are nicely spaced along a mirror axis of symmetry down the center of the grid, with the revealer, MIXEDMETAPHORS coming at the very bottom. And in fact, each theme answer contains inside of it an anagram of the word "metaphors." ATMOSPHERE comes the closest to being a perfect anagram, adding only an extra E.
Note that in each case, the anagram is contiguous within the overall theme answer. That's impressive. For example, CHRI[STOPHERMA]RLOWE. Now, was he truly a collaborator with William Shakespeare? There appears to be some meaningful evidence that he wrote parts of Henry VI 1-3. On the other hand, he clearly died in 1593, so his collaboration after that time must have been limited at best, we suppose. The best part of this is that the theory that Marlowe wrote all of Shakespeare's plays is called the Marlovian theory (this is an obscure reference that only Horace and Frannie will get, but you must pardon the occasional inside joke).
In any case, the theme gets a huge thumbs up. What about the fill? Well, there's very little I'd be inclined to flush down the TOLET. Examples here would include REKEY, odd partial ORA (why not clue it with reference to Spanish?), SETA, and the peculiar 50A: "In case you didn't hear me ..." (ISAID).
Otherwise, look at all those bonus long down answers, like BLANKSTARE, PAXROMANA, and PRENUPTIAL in its full form. I also liked the references to LORDE, SONDHEIM, and THEMASK.
Amusement was also to be had, such as at 60A: Pompous pronoun (ROYALWE), 91A: It's all downhill from here (ACME), and 68D: One of two in "The Grapes of Wrath" (IAMB). That was a tough clue!
A nice start to the week. Let's keep puzzling, shall we?