I originally made this puzzle (for another publication) with a fairly strong subtheme spinning off the idea and intimations of 1-Across, and it became so negative and grumpy-inducing that it left an unpleasant vibe. So the subtheme, over several drafts, largely dissipated, thanks much to David's encouragement and guidance. I feel happier with this version, though some of the answers aren't as marquee-ish as I'd like. That's usually the goal of themeless constructors—to pack the puzzle with knock-'em-dead, sparkling long answers and still have clean fill for the glue. Regardless, I hope you have fun with it.