Mr. Polin starts off this puzzle squarely in my wheelhouse with METADATA (Information about other information). DEFANG (9A: Make harmless, as a snake) went right in and I was off to the races. That is, until I put the moron in OXYMORON by spelling it with an "i". Derp. TiRESE as a cross was no help, as I've never heard of Mr/s. Gibson.
For the theme we are treated to a bouquet of expressions featuring names of flowers, including SHRINKINGVIOLET and GILDTHELILY that together make for some "High-flown speech or writing" or FLOWERYLANGUAGE. I thought it a nice arrangement.
I liked MOSHES, EXHORT, SLUG and SNUG. Looking at TEASET after I finished the puzzle, I thought it could be an old past participle of tease. :)
|LOKI then and now|
"Long in the tooth" (OLD) and "Grow long in the tooth" (AGE)
"Stare slack-jawed" (GAWP) and "Slack-jawed feeling" (AWE)
That's the NYTX for you: keeping things FRESHASADAISY.