Constructor: Bruce Venzke
Time: 7:05. Got the E a bit screwed up w/ AHAS instead of OHOS and ALL FIRED UP instead of ALL RILED UP. Slid in 27 seconds behind tushnet and 18 seconds ahead of sanfranman59.
CrossWorld buzz: Okay. There are things to criticize about this puzz (see under CrossOver), but the old school, non-poppy tilt in itself is AOK. Example from the upper right corner: Instead of the heroine from Forster's 1920s novel ADELA crossing the 1930s Hollywood dog ASTA, ya coulda had the current pop princess ADELE crossing the kinda mod cuz Spanish is on the rise ESTA. Both are fine. It depends on the overall vibe ya want from the puzz...for this old school puzz, ADELA-ASTA was right. We persnickities of CW all got our phobias...my 3 x 3 boxes (2 of those today, I'm sorry to say), Anoa Bob's plurals of convenience, Rex's aversion to the old school combo of EELER, ELIA, ASTA...fair enough. But one thing we gotta recognize is that a constructor's ability to do cool stuff is enhanced the more junk ya have to work with. If ya can use both the mod junk AHI and the Maleskan junk ANOA, ya can do more than if only one or neither piecea junk is available. Then again, it's also true that if ya allow all the crud all the time as an editor, ya got a serious and mebbe even terminal casea -ESE. Believe that's what the Will-Rex thang boils down to. Will in upholding variety is also upholding the freedom to use old school crud like ANOA (bring it on, Will!) as well as AHI, while Rex is the voice of rigor who's willing to sacrifice some innnovation by cracking down harder on dated ESE. I'm personally a lib on the innovation-rigor spectrum in CrossWorld...I'm fine w/ ANOA as well as w/ AHI, though I would not favor having both significant mod junk and significant old school junk in the same puzzle...I think that's what the Will position in favor of generational variety in puzzes boils down to in practice.
CrossOver buzz: Okay. Four long across thematic answers, check...diagonal HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY, check plus...78W 36B grid, check. The lack of an "a" in SHIPPED GIFT and MAILED CARD gives a dry, checklist feeling to the theme answers...SHIPPED GIFT, MAILED CARD, CALLED HOME, SENT FLOWERS sounds like a very dutiful but very unaffectionate child's summary of tasks completed. The v. unglamorous central answer UNSTOPS and its v. unglamorous clue "Clears, as a drain" compounds that dutiful, un-fun feeling. That key issue w/ the theme along w/ the fill problems (my personal bete noire was the EELER-REOIL cross) make this puzz less than sparkling for both the insiders and the peeps. Sorry about that, Mom!