Constructor: Sam A. Donaldson
Time: 8:19. Got incorrect at 8:03; corrected my DAT-READI mistake to DDT-REDDI preddi fast; had felt while filling it in that READI along w/ CAMERA READY was not a preadi combo. Liked the solving feel; went down pretty fast in a ladder to the SE, where the reveal emerged and helped w/ some of the thematic answers. Smoked by tushnet and beaten more narrowly by sanfranman59; purdy typical for Wednesday.
CrossWorld buzz: Average. High variance on this one. Do a decent theme and reveal with a 74W grid and some nice long fill (GORE VIDAL, MOVIE BUFF, MANITOBA, RHODESIA) make up for A HEAP of less than beautiful fill (AMUCK, ABENT, ADRIP, AMAS on top of AMA, along w/ non A stuff like OMN ERO ESS)? Don't have much to add to the comments of Rex and ACM on that score. I come out on the not-so-positive side of the ledger for a related but somewhat different reason. Yep, 74W 35B is nice, but this grid w/ its tight 3-3-3-3 OHO ADE TRE ADO middle just doesn't feel/look free and easy. I had a kinda surprised yes that's good feeling when I counted up the words.
CrossOver buzz: Pretty good. Now we get to the money question of whether the A-fill here is just too much. ACM notes she's kinda surprised Will didn't send this one back to get rid of at least three of the killer As. Well, should he have? My answer is no. For the real world as opposed to us, this puzz is good enough to go. The grumpiness by us Rexeans about dubious A-fill is fair enough. But it's also an insider's concern. Excess A-fill in a puzz that is pretty straightforward and pretty nice, as this one is, ain't a real prob for casual solvers who take for granted without thinking about it that a CW is an artificial world of artificial words that is stacked in favor of CWers. The key point: Dubious A-fill like today's is readily gettable by real people in a way that Maleska-era ESE like RAMI or Shortz-era ESE like AHI or universal ESE like PIU ain't.