Be the change you want to be in the world, they say. So the change I want to be is well rested. Turns out getting only a few hours of sleep three nights in a row makes for a somewhat grumpy reviewer.
So let's focus on the good things, shall we? Today's FLOWER / GARDEN contains four varietals, a [VIO]LET, a [DAH]LIA, an [AZA]LEA, and an [ORC]HID. Nice that the last three letters of each flower get their own clue and stand alone as standard (somewhat crossword-y) answers. Of the four, I do like me an azalea. They sure are pretty.
The theme makes for a sixteen triple checked letters (those are letters that have to serve as part of three different words, rather than the standard two in a regular crossword puzzle), and that can put some strain on a grid. It's well done to have them circle a central black square, thus separating them from each other. So on the whole, great to have answers like BARITONES, BALDEAGLE, and CRITICISM.
Well, I suppose things like ACIDY might have to show up once in a while in a grid. But really. That one answer kind of nearly does the whole puzzle in for me. And if you don't get a nasty chill down your spine when you see DMVS, you probably grew up in a time when everything can be done on the internet instead of in person.
43A: One who's well-versed in the arts? (POET) is cute, and just about the only tricky clue. I also smiled nostalgically on seeing "AINTI a stinker?" Oh, that Bugs Bunny. He was really kind of jerk, if you come to think about it.
Here's to a good night's rest, and a fresh start tomorrow.