Constructor: Joel Fagliano
Relative Difficulty: Medium-Difficult
Word of the Day: LOVE
Love is a variety of different feelings, states, and attitudes that ranges from interpersonal affection ("I love my mother") to pleasure ("I loved that meal"). It can refer to an emotion of a strong attraction and personal attachment. It can also be a virtue representing humankindness, compassion, and affection—"the unselfish loyal and benevolent concern for the good of another". It may also describe compassionate and affectionate actions towards other humans, one's self or animals.
Non-Western traditions have also distinguished variants or symbioses of these states. This diversity of uses and meanings combined with the complexity of the feelings involved makes love unusually difficult to consistently define, compared to other emotional states.
This was a pleasant slog. I doomed myself pretty much right out of the gate by confidently tossing cRest into the grid at 4A (Colgate competitor), thinking, apparently, that there was no possible way there might be a third company that also makes toothpaste. Of course it would turn out to be ORAL B. All of this has happened before and all of this will happen again. Then of course the R gave me IRAN (Nuclear deal signers of 2015) and I just assumed the rest was correct, which led me to briefly consider SCUM for SOCK (1D: It's around a foot). Right? Cause, you know, you might have scum around your foot. You know what I'm talking about. I do appreciate the attempt at misdirection on that clue; making it sound like I'm supposed to think of something of a certain size instead of physically located *around* a foot.
I guess if you did have scum on your foot it might make you SIC [sic] (1A: Not a typo).
Can we all just stop and consider how awesome it is that there is a Wikipedia page for "LOVE" (5D: "The beauty of the soul," per St. Augustine)? Is there some lonely person out there, perhaps a robot, who is reading that article right now and taking notes?
"Oh, I see, 'love may be understood as a function to keep human beings together against menaces and to facilitate the continuation of the species.' I will now commence understanding of love."
No, that's most likely not a thing that's happening right now.
Moving on, who doesn't love BEETs (V8 vegetable)? Oh, what's that? Most people? Yeah, I guess that's so. I feel like most people don't know what to do with beets to unlock their full potential. I didn't really like them until I had one really amazing beet dish at some restaurant and I can't remember where it was and now I feel like I'll spend the rest of my adult life trying to recreate the recipe, just another junkie chasing that one perfect beautiful beet experience. Really, it's the same process I've gone through with eggplants and probably half a dozen other vegetables.
But wait, I have something else to say about beets that isn't about beets, and that is that if you've never read any of John Layman and Rob Guillory's excellent Chew series, you are missing out. It's a comic about superheroes in which all of the super powers relate to food in some way. And if you think you need to know any more about it than that to know you should be reading it right now, then I don't know who you are.
I have no idea if it was intentional, but I highly enjoy the meeting of the letter string C-A-N with itself between CANAL (3D: Suez or Panama) and CANOE (7A: Summer camp transport). Hopefully every puzzle moving forward will have some type of dance hidden in it like this. As for KNAVE (8A: Rapscallion), I've always felt it doesn't sound like what it means. Maybe it's such an old-timey word that it automatically sounds like a sophisticated person, or perhaps the K-N makes me associate it with knights or something. Realistically, I just don't think I could muster up any offense at being called a knave.
Then again, you could probably say the same thing about "rapscallion", which I am here today to tell you would be an EXCELLENT name for a hip-hop performing horse.
You heard it here first.
Signed, Jonathan Gibson, Plebeian of Crossworld