Constructor: Jeffrey Wechsler
Time: 9:47. Sometimes the puzzle gods smile...saw nothing at first in the NW and laid down STATE SERE COWS w/o any confidence...then CASTILLA felt right for chateau en Espana and it all flowed from there. Having CASTILLA instead of the correct CASTILLO was a bit of a hold up (is the primitive farming equipment ANCHOR something?!), but no biggie. Smoked my betters tushnet and sanfranman59; nice to have a day like this now and then. Missing Rex and the commentariat...coming soon, I trust.
CrossWorld buzz: Very good. Yes, this puzz could be a poster child for a mod theme: density, a nice reveal w/ its own zip, and real oomph in some of the theme answers...yes especially to WHAT'S OPERA DOC?. An unconventional looking grid w/ the big crooked lumberyards in the E and the W and separate mini-puzzes in the NW and SE...40B not so good, but 70W is more than fine for a themer like this. Ya can hate on ONE HORSE PLOWS if ya want...I don't...I like the implicit theme combo of ONE HORSE PLOWS w/ the other long down fill CRAB APPLES and FENCE RAIL...gives a nice "take me home, country roads" image to complement the word play.
CrossOver buzz: Good. PRESTO CHANGEO is both a v. nice reveal and a v. in-groupy one.. It both employs and gently mocks the cryptic CW convention of using words like CHANGE to indicate anagrams...all v. good, but both the convention and the gentle joke work better for CrossWorlders than for casual solvers.