Okay, I've figured out what I'm going to do. Ta-da!
I know the only person who will care, unless there are hidden lurkers on this thread, is Darren. So this is for him.
My Living Room has a coffered ceiling. Turns out that the perfect place for down-firing ceiling speakers is at the crossing points of the coffers. A round, enclosed speaker could surface mount on those crossing points. Added benefit? They would hide some of the drywall imperfections and slight cracks that have developed in those intersections over time (above the Living Room is an outdoor deck so the ceiling/roof has settled a tiny bit in the last 5 years since I built the house).
I would still have to run the wires up the wall (in the corners) and across the ceiling to get to said surface-mounted speakers, but I can do it behind the coffer-beams on the short (TV) side of the room so they will be largely hidden from where most people could see them.
So, the question now is, are there round speakers, just like recessed in-ceiling speakers, only in an enclosed housing I can surface mount up there? They need to be relatively handsome since they will be fully exposed. The thinner the better too, although I realize there is a certain amount of depth required in any decent loudspeaker. Since nobody else but Darren will be reading this post, do you know of any, good sir?
I've looked, but am having trouble finding such an animal.
As an alternative, if I can't find a nice surface-mount speaker, I could build a box that would house a typical in-ceiling speaker and attach that to the beam-crossing points. But it sure would be easier to just find a self-contained speaker in its own
enclosure. So far, no joy.