Constructor: Joelf Fagliano
Relative Difficulty: Medium
How cool would it be if this puzzle was itself an e-less lipogram? If not for OZZIE down there, we'd've had it [8A: Hall-of-Fame shortstop Smith]. Then actually make the clue for AVOID reference the novel, and everything would be copacetic [4D: Steer clear of]. Not as impressive as it would be if you pulled the trick off with a full-size grid, of course, but somehow I doubt such a grid would be very attractive from a fill standpoint. Wait a minute... looks like it has been done after all. I wonder if those puzzle are any good though?
I'm sure one of my Alert Readers will track them down and let us know in the comments!
One grid element that has made a Disparition from this puzzle, of course, is the black squares. Now this is no longer a towering achievement, at this stage in the game. But it's appreciated nonetheless from a stylistic standpoint, and makes it impossible to ABHOR this puzzle [1D: Hate, hate, hate]. I will even give the constructor the tiniest of BRAVOs for this [6A: "Top Chef" channel]. I'm sure he'll be HONORed to hear that [7A: "Objection, Your ____!"].
CORES are so trendy these days but I hate having to make an appointment [5D: Apple centers].
Signed, Jonathan Gibson, Ozzie Davis of CrossWorld