Constructor: Joel Fagliano
Relative Difficulty: Easy
Word of the Day: SPEED
Speed is a 1994 American disaster action film directed by Jan de Bont in his feature film directorial debut. The film stars Keanu Reeves, Dennis Hopper, Sandra Bullock, Joe Morton, and Jeff Daniels. A surprise critical and commercial success, it won two Academy Awards, for Best Sound Editing and Best Sound Mixing at the 67th Academy Awards in early 1995. The film tells the story of the LAPD cop who tries to rescue civilians on a city bus rigged with a bomb programmed to explode if the bus slows down or if civilians try to escape. (Wikipedia)
I like this. The clue for SPEED doesn't even reference the seminal 1995 film, and yet it's still good [5D: What people do when they're over 65?]. In contrast to yesterday, here's a "?"-style clue that freaking Makes Sense. Awesome.
A minor quibble: In the surface reading of the clue, it feels very slightly weird to refer to speeding as something one 'does' *when* one is [going] over 65. It's weird because the act of going over 65 mph constitutes the speeding; speeding isn't something that is done on top of driving at 65, which is kind of how that reads to me, semantically.
Now that I'm thinking of it, 65 mph is an arbitrary speed limit to pick. Why, consulting this Wikipedia page, it's not even a particularly common one. It's only in a handful of states and...oh, I see. New York happens to be one of them. Well, as the old saying goes, fuck everywhere that isn't New York. Anyway, this is a minor quibble.
I'm not thrilled about having both UNCAP [6A: Open, as a toothpaste tube] AND UNWED [2D: Not married] in the same puzzle. They're weak entries on their own, and having them paired like this just calls attention to them. It's not catastrophic, but it is worrisome.
This puzzle has a nice smattering of pop culture, language and of course, the age-old standby, fruit trivia. This last occurs in the form of GUAVA [1D: Tropical fruit], which as everyone knows is a great fruit to eat while SPEEDing. Did I say "knows"? I meant "is AWARE of" [7A: Cognizant (of)].
I really like SARGE [4D: Beetle Bailey's boss], not because I find Beetle Bailey particularly amusing, but because I find the *concept* of Beetle Bailey QUITE amusing. Along with the aforementioned SPEED it really lends this puzzle a nice frame of reference.
One worthy of an E-card, even [3D: Hallmark.com offering].
In summation, Speed is a pretty great movie.
Signed, Jonathan Gibson, pop quiz of CrossWorld