Constructor: Joel Fagliano
Relative Difficulty: Difficult
Word of the Day: COINS
A coin is a piece of hard material used primarily as a medium of exchange or legal tender. They are standardized in weight, and produced in large quantities at a mint in order to facilitate trade. They are most often issued by agovernment.
Coins are usually metal or alloy, or sometimes made of synthetic materials. They are usually disc shaped. Coins made of valuable metal are stored in large quantities asbullion coins. Other coins are used as money in everyday transactions, circulating alongside banknotes. Usually the highest value coin in circulation (i.e. excluding bullion coins) is worth less than the lowest-value note. In the last hundred years, the face value of circulation coins has occasionally been lower than the value of the metal they contain, for example due to inflation. If the difference becomes significant, the issuing authority may decide to withdraw these coins from circulation, or the public may decide to melt the coins down or hoard them (see Gresham's law). (Wikipedia)
This was a nightmare. I think I've finished a few full-sized Monday puzzles in less time than this bastard took me. I think I stared at the completely empty grid for a good four or five minutes, rereading the clues over and over with just nothing of any consequence happening inside my brain. I don't necessarily think this was the puzzle's fault; I just had weird hiccups with almost all of the clues.
Wait a minute. No, some of it was definitely the puzzle's fault. A blind carbon copy (BCC) is not, in any sense, an email attachment (1A: Secret email attachment, for short). It's another copy of the email (or whatever else it is that's being blind carbon copied). That clue is just flat out wrong. Sure, you could try to argue that the *activity* of adding an address to the BCC field could be described as an *attachment* (like in the sense of an addendum) to the overall activity of sending an email, but if that's the intent, it's an enormous stretch masquerading as... what, wordplay? I don't even know if that's the intent. It's just so perplexing. I mean we use words the way we use them for a reason, right?
More than likely it was just raw, unbridled confusion about computer terminology. And since it's the only real flaw I can see in the puzzle, I am going to lay the responsibility for my woes here.
Everything else in the puzzle was fair, if at times a bit obtuse. I was absolutely certain that (4A: Harry Potter's Mount) was referring to a horse, because I read those books juuust long enough ago that I thought, sure, there's a horse in there somewhere. Then I chided myself, thinking, no! It's obviously a dragon! Cause, there's like, totally a dragon that he rides at some point. I think it was on one of the book covers? No wait! It was a hippogriff, right?! Yeah, that IS real! But no, of course the actual answer is the more pedestrian BROOM, and ironically I probably could have reasoned my way there much quicker if I had never read the books at all.
Yeah, I get that there was something about some (6A: Ivy Leaguer in the news for protests) lately; I do remember that. But I couldn't remember where that was, and so the clue wasn't helpful. Plus, I misread the clue and though I was looking for the school itself and not the word for a student at that school (YALIE). Then I couldn't decide between ERS, UHS, or UMS for (8A: Stammering sounds).
And the whole puzzle was like that for me. Could not see COLOR (2D: 1997 addition to the front page of the New York Times) at all; thought I was supposed to come up with a type of content rather than a design element. Not a bad clue, actually, and it's at least slightly interesting as far as trivial knowledge goes. Are we still talking about Mitt Romney? Oh. We are. Huh. Ok, I guess. I probably knew he went to BYU at some point, but the thing is I decided to stop caring about that piece of knowledge about three years ago for some strange reason (4D: Utah sch. that Mitt Romney attended).
Then we got another school abbreviation in UCONN, which is I think we can all agree the most irritating type of school abbreviation (7A: N.C.A.A. women's basketball powerhouse). And while it shouldn't be possible that that clue could make me care EVEN LESS about some dumb school, that's what it does. Because sports.
Ugh, I hope I get paid a lot of COINS for this (3D: Nickel and dime). Yeah, can't wait till that sweet sweet ad revenue starts pouring in.
Signed, Jonathan Gibson, Master of the Royal CrossWorld Mint