I liked Barry Silk's puzzle a lot. The top was v. smooth by my standards, The bottom at first was a yawning void. STENTOR and IMRE (share Rex's embarrassment at kinda knowing this answer--not so much embarrassing lit knowledge in my case as embarrassing crosswordese knowledge--"when in doubt on a Hungarian name--IMRE!") bubbled up and the rest followed in a pleasing stepwise fashion that was kinda slow but not too slow. My last letter was the X of LEOX and IBEX--nice finale! (Couldn't get my mind off the weak possibility GOAT for a long time, which kept me away from ZAGREB...was thinking Africa not Europe for the capital).
I'M A BUM is a great answer...the contrast w/ "Hallelujah" is excellent in the original song, excellent as a punchy short phrase, and also excellent as a summary of what crossword solving feels like. Moments of ecstasy and stretches of feeling like a deep loser...that's what it's all about. I also liked ALMIGHTY DOLLAR and its tricky clue...the "old America" mini-theme associations with MOOLAH and I'M A BUM are nice.
Is there any connection between the v. different Rex and MetaRex reax and the tough (by Rex's standards) and smooth (by MetaRex's standards) solving experiences? Well...does the pope have a pet elephant?