Constructor: Martin Ashwood-Smith
Time: 35:06. Got incorrect at 31:10. The problem was one of my first answers, MISHA. QUIET IS A MOUSE just sat there, eluding my attention. Beaten up pretty badly by this one...in the NW I laid down SPACE JAM (hey, seems like it's been in the puzz a lot...there could be a song from the movie, right?), AMMAN, and MISHA w/ some confidence right at the beginning...oh well...that was the last part to fall...the middle also gave me trouble. Destroyed by tushnet, who finished in less than half my time.
CrossWorld buzz: Good. This puzz is not just a four stack in the middle and four more 15s at the top and the bottom. Ya got a nice world geography implicit theme w/ PAS DE, AQABA, BOTANY BAY (v. nice, that one), RENO, AGUA as clued, the "Atlas" misdirection clue, ALEUTIAN ISLANDS, URI, and SYRIAN. Ya got a novel 16 x 15 grid w/ a novel 71 words. Ya got clever cluing...enjoyed getting fooled by "Not have a hunch?" for STAND UP STRAIGHT and "Cold war grp.?" for AMA. Ya got a lot of decent to very good quality in the long answers and the fill...PEARL JAM GASBAG (Eddie Vedder, MAS knows you all too well) and SYRIAN ESTHETES are nice accidental phrases in the top and bottom. Yep, there's some less than beautiful stuff, too. SO I get into A SNIT? Don't think so...the price in junk is not a high one here. I did have one semi-significant beef, though. The sense of solving three different puzzles in the top middle and bottom brought me down some as I did this, and prevents me from giving this a great groovy superduper thumbs up.
CrossOver buzz: Good. The stacks are a wow for real people as well as insiders, perhaps even more so. The hard cluing of staples like URSA and RENE is fair for Saturday.