Constructor: Josh Knapp
Time: 17:48. Didn't get a purchase on the theme until the SE...briefly wanted HERE COME SUN since I had a vague faux memory of John (Paul?) singin "Here Come..." not "Here Comes..." and thought the gimmick might be dropping THE...then it all came together pleasantly [there] and then shortly w/ the reveal and the other theme answers. Like Rex, had trouble in the NW...my monks were ASEXUAL and ASOCIAL as well as ASCETIC before they were AUSTERE. Wanted AVERAGE instead of THE RAGE. Trailed tushnet by a bit over 3 minutes and led sanfranman59 by about the same margin.
CrossWorld buzz: Excellent. Formal innovation--check...this has a cool 16 x 15 grid w/ 77W (a cool number!). Nice grid--check...a semi-open field pattern w/only 32 black. Nice fill--check...for a puzzle w/ ESE, this one has hardly any...seconding Rex's right on to that...that's really hard to achieve given all the other elements in this puzz..the long stuff like SCREW IT, ECUADOR, and RED SCARE is good. Cool reveal--check...NEITHER [HERE] NOR [THERE] has a nice doubled-up buzz to it, given that NEITHER NOR is okay all by itself. Nice thematic density and oomph--check...[HERE] COMES THE SUN is my favorite, but all four are AOK. All in all, a rare combo of good stuff all across the board. Really nice...pay the man!
CrossOver buzz: Pretty good. For all its excellence, this puzz does not sing as beautifully to casual solvers as it does to buffs. The fact that the long partial theme answers just kinda sit there is fine for CW with its high solving skill and its love of conventions and tweaking conventions...that fact combined w/ the fairly high difficulty of this puzz and its embeddedness in CW convention are bring down factors if you're not a denizen.