Had CONTRIVE instead of CONSPIRE, RED OMEN instead of REPO MEN, ESCHEWED instead of ESCROWED...oh well...I enjoyed the emergence of the five long answers in David J. Kahn's puzzle as I solved...I can imagine a politician sitting by the water in upstate New York being urged to hit the streets to counter a rumor of scandal that might move from the Enquirer to the Times but all she wants to do is look up at the pine trees and read Mark Twain. A pleasant puzzle.
Follow-up on yesterday: The negative Rex reax along w/ similar reax from others made me wonder if one reason could be a sense by some that the obscure DENARII-BANDORE fill was not only dusty but had too much of a computer-generated feel. I entered the grid into the demo version of Compiler, which told me it was unfillable. In any case, I stick w/ my positive MetaRex reax to Bruce Haight's puzzle.
Assume Rex is working away even as I post this...guessing he and the rest of the Rexians will have positive reax to today's puzz...XENONS ain't pretty, it's but not a big deal...don't think this is a polarizing puzzle the way yesterday's was.
[Fri am update]--Yep...correct prediction wrt Rex and so far wrt the commentariat...appreciate Rex's discussion of how David Kahn's constructing tendencies made him expect a themed puzzle...