Constructor: David Steinberg
Time: 35:49 (Google-aided). Got incorrect around 30:15; knew the SE was mucked up what w/ the children's book ending (was she a cute critter named CASIE ZEBRA or what) and the appurtenant stuff...just couldn't get off PIROCHKIS or PIROSHKIS or maybe even I thought PIROGHKIS. Finally typed in PIROSHKIS and got the alternative spelling w/ a Z. As a CWer, I felt well and fairly beaten--the double Z of Z AS IN ZEBRA is nice and entirely guessable w/ a good little hit of -ese intuition...just didn't have the smarts this morning. My bad for not auto-applying principle 13F of -ese lore: "when in doubt, look for extra crunch." Whupped big time by tushnet, who finished in just over 20 minutes.
CrossWorld rating: Good. 70W, 30B w/ a ladder in the middle makes for a pretty nice grid if not for an open field. Lotsa good crunch and sparkle...NICKY MINAJ, BARNEY FIFE, JAMBA JUICE, GARAGE BAND, RAMJET, LAMARCK, FRENEMY, TEJANO, KOREAN ARMY...goodo. From my much slower solving stance, shared Rex's guilt about the -ese lore in this one...laid down BARI and RIMA and SARD and RETE thinking that this stuff was goin' to kill real people. Some nice clues for non-ese...loved getting gobsmacked by "Rice on shelves" for ANNE. Not much implicit themery surfacing for me other than pop...in the funky association category there's NEEDLE NOSE and right below it ARG, which is an anagram of the infamous -ese GAR AKA "Needlenose fish"...maybe the wise/clever young/old soul of David S. meant something by that...more likely it's just my 'magination runnin' away with me...
CrossOver rating: Pretty good. Yep, there is a fair amount of -ese over three letters in this one... that makes it a bit less good for the real peeps than the puzz peeps.