Constructor: Joel Fagliano
Relative Difficulty: Medium
Word of the Day: JEDDAH (Tower)
Jeddah Tower (Arabic: برج جدة), previously known as Kingdom Tower (برج المملكة) and Mile-High Tower (برج الميل), is a skyscraper under construction in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, at a preliminary cost of SR4.6 billion (US$1.23 billion). It will be the centrepiece and first phase of a SR75 billion (US$20 billion) proposed development known as Jeddah Economic City that will be located along the Red Sea on the north side of Jeddah. If completed as planned, the Jeddah Tower will reach unprecedented heights, becoming the tallest building in the world, as well as the first structure to reach the one-kilometre-high mark. (Initially planned to be 1.6 kilometres (1 mi) high, the geology of the area proved unsuitable for a tower of that height.) Jeddah Tower seeks to bring great changes in terms of development and tourism to the city of Jeddah, which is considered the most liberal city in Saudi Arabia.
With the exception of TOWER [3D: Jeddah ___ (soon-to-be tallest building in the word)], which, while not exactly scintillating or clever in any way, at least imparted to me a new piece of information, this entire puzzle just passed by without making any sort of impression whatsoever. I'm looking at the completed grid now and I don't even remember filling it in. Did I black out? Did I solve this puzzle in the midst of a fugue state?
Everything is rote regurgitation. Yes, AROMA is another word for [2D: Scent]. So what? Yes, a HYENA is a [4D: "Laughing" animal]. Who cares? Sure, you'll frequently find yourself being given a MENU as a [8A: Restaurant handout]. Why am I expected to give a shit?
Need I go on? There have to be about 47 better clues for MATH than [1A: SAT section]. [9A: Like 20% of Israel] is true enough for ARAB, I suppose, but is that really interesting or enigmatic in the slightest? I submit that it is not.
The only halfway tricksy thing here is DUB [7D: Confer knighthood on], and I'm not certain that clue even works. Don't you need a complement to use DUB in that context? That is, the name/title that the person is being conferred? Look, let's say you're the queen and you're knighting some dude. I don't think you can just say "I DUB thee" and then stop. I think people are going to be genuinely confused in that situation. And not just because you are not the queen! Even if it's not grammatically required for the complement to be there, you basically never hear DUB without the complement.
Monarchs. Can't get enough complements.
Signed, Jonathan Gibson, low-ranking henchman of CrossWorld