My time: 19:28, not too shabby for a Sunday!
Theme: SHIPSHAPE, as shown when you connect the "dots" represented by circled squares.
I didn't like the clue "S as in soup?" for NOODLE. Also, "silverback gorilla, e.g." is not ALPHA. There are many gorillas that aren't alpha. This is a bad clue. It's like saying "person, e.g." for sports star. Conversely, "sea route, e.g." is a weirdly specific clue for PATH.
There are a couple of clunky old-fashioned answers that struck me as a bit much: AROAR ("loud, as the surf") and SMIT ("struck, old style"), for example. On the other hand there was some fun stuff like TIME SINK, NO GO AREA, and SECURITY LINE.
Did you know N*SYNC had two members who were former Mickey Mouse Club stars? They were JC Chasez and Justin Timberlake.
Pope Benedict IV ruled until 903, and was replaced by LEO V, who ruled about a year. He was pope during the period known as the Saeculum obscurum, when popes wielded little temporal authority. So you can be forgiven for not having heard of him.
That classical education I got is totally worthless because not only do I have no skills, I long forgot (if indeed I ever knew) that AENEAS was the son of Aphrodite.
The puzzle loves to showcase obscure men of letters who write for erudite magazines. ADAM Serwer is a staff writer at "The Atlantic."
ST. PIERRE is one of the three main French-owned islands of Saint Pierre and Miquelon. It contains the town of Saint-Pierre, which lies on the island's east coast and is the main population centre of the island group. It is part of an overseas collectivity of France, and is located near the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador.
Apparently RYE is a coastal city in New York.
Clever clue: "Event that's a bit off?' is SALE.
Well, that's enough trying to ANALYSE everything I got wrong. Nice puzzle, fun theme, but with some rough cluing.