Constructor: Joel Fagliano
Relative Difficulty: Medium
Word of the Day: RETRO
The term retro has been in use since the 1970s to describe on the one hand new artifacts that self-consciously refer to particular modes, motifs, techniques, and materials of the past. But on the other hand, some people (incorrectly) use the term to categorise styles that have been created in the past. Retro style refers to new things that display characteristics of the past. It is mostly the recent past that retro seeks to recapitulate, focusing on the products, fashions and artistic styles produced since the Industrial Revolution, of Modernity. The word "retro" derives from the Latin prefix retro, meaning backwards, or in past times. (Wikipedia)
Another day, another stale effort. I guess you could say it's RETRO in that sense that it's full of distasteful, overexposed junk that we've seen a thousand times before [6A: Back in style]. I feel like I've stumbled into some amputated corner of a grid from the Maleska Era. Let's get this over with.
I don't care what a BRUIN is [4A: U.C.L.A. Athlete]. Basketball, I think? Why should I give a shit about the name of a sports team at some school I've never been to? That's not real knowledge. I neither care NOR care to understand why anyone else would ever care [5D: Neither's partner]. Unless you're ON the team, it's useless information with no bearing on life.
Bookcasing this thing on the other side from NOR is the stunningly mundane BRA [4D: Word with sports or training]. Fine, functional item, boring crossword answer. The North and South ends are even worse: We've got CBS up top, just to let you know where the rest of this thing is headed [1A: It has an eye on the TV], while down below we've the stunningly alluring TEN [8A: Highest tile value in Scrabble]. Real banner answer, that one.
I'm struggling to find anything nice to say about CREST [1D: Family emblem], which sucks. Likewise BUTTE [2D: Isolated hill] is just banal trash. I could muster up a little love for SIREN on a good day, I suppose [3D: Mythical creature in the Starbucks logo]. But today is not that day. To be fair, that is a decent clue though. It's just... why does everything else have to suck?
Signed, Jonathan Gibson, minimalist red cup of CrossWorld