Constructor: Jim Hilger
Time: 13:05. Starting off with ORION for ARIES and OBITUARY instead of EULOGIES for "Passing remarks?" (like my answer a bit better than the right one) was not a speed enhancer. Hand up for AWHIRL. Had zero zilch nada idea about the theme as I solved; finished several minutes ahead of my usual better sanfranman59, who perhaps reflected more than I on what the hey was going on w/ the theme; sometimes lack of imagination helps solve puzzles faster.
CrossWorld buzz: Very good. Okay, this is another 78 W grid (only 35 B today, though), and the fill just ain't that cool unless you understand what's going on w/ the SHADES. But this is a wow and a half on the theme. MR solved the thing and felt like an idiot b/c I had no idea what was going on...I caught the META (thx much :)), and figured there was something meta-ish goin' on, but just couldn't see no how no way what it was. GASLOG has GLASS scrambled...is that a key to somethin...nah, not really. Then I got the idea that the beachwear hit could be read as (W)RAP AROUND SUNG LASSES...i.e., stuff about famous gals. Knew that was wrong, but hey...five good names for that w/ EMILY POST, ISOLDE, GOLDA, RAISA, and NATASHA (be still my beating heart...was just hearing about her from my son, who's reading W&P). Coming up w/ a wrong but cute meta-theme made me happy...then a minute or three later I saw SHADE and SHAD and then at long last cracked the thing. All of that to me is exactly the kind of thing that makes for a very good meta puzz from a CWer perspective...the somethin's happenin' but ya don't know what it is sense of one's dumbness, the aha of cracking the riddle if one does crack it.
CrossOver buzz: Pretty good. This is an insider's puzzle, but it's courteous to the outsiders...it's a pretty smooth solve, and it avoids rubbing in the clubbiness of the theme w/ cute clues.