I like. Quite a lot.
This is a gimmick puzzle. But I'm a gimmick guy and this is a good gimmick. It's not a wow, given the low thematic density. But it's defnitely a yes.
I'll revise that: It's a yes! The very sharp-looking "1s" in Bruce Haight's puzzle are a cool feature that makes it worth an exclamation point. Usually visual images in a CWP are kinda sloppy...that's not at all the case here.
The dot squares are pretty nice looking, too...an ubercool 58-word construction that got rid of them would be even groovier, but that would be too much to ask for even in our better-than-ever era of construction.
Now let's see what Rex and the commentariat think...
Oh, how delicious! A vintage pan by Rex...seem to remember there used to be lots of them...not so since I've been MetaRexing.* Rex is as good as he is as an insta-critic partly because he can do tear-downs very well...one of my reasons for doing this blog was to learn from and respect that skill, which is I think a very useful one for teachers like Rex and MetaRex to be able to command and to respect if not necessarily to employ with our students.
On the specific point-Rex's hating on the blind crossing/Natick of the R in DENARII and BANDORE and more generally hating on obscure or dated fill like LEISTER and TOPE--I disagree. I've got two generalizable reasons and one idiosyncratic one.
First, the argumentative ones: The still-strong Maleskan part of me says, "Dammit, classical knowledge is good, too." And it is! Second, it's 2013. Solving online is the new normal, and getting an incorrect signal is no big deal. You just flick in another letter or three, or you go to google if you're stuck enough. It's so yesterday--dare I say Maleskan?--to get uptight about Naticks nowadays.
The personal AKA real reason: I knew DENARII, and Bruce Haight's puzzle, though hardly a quick solve, flowed better for me relative to the pack of timed solvers than most do. Rex had an ugly solving experience, I had a pleasant one.
*Not that there's any relationship...at least I certainly hope not. The Will Shortz post some time back along with Rex's increased role as a constructor are much more plausible reasons for a possibly sedater Rexian tone.