NYT Mini for Friday, March 11, 2016

Constructor: Joel Fagliano

Relative Difficulty: Medium

Theme: None

Word of the Day: METH

Methamphetamine[note 1] (contracted from N-methylamphetamine) is a strong central nervous system (CNS) stimulant that is mainly used as a recreational drug. Methamphetamine hydrochloride is approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration (USFDA) under the trade name Desoxyn for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and obesity in adults and children, and is sometimes prescribed off label for narcolepsy and idiopathic hypersomnia. It is rarely prescribed due to concerns involving human neurotoxicity and its high potential for recreational use, among other concerns, as well as the availability of safer substitute drugs with comparable treatment efficacy. Methamphetamine exists as two enantiomers: dextromethamphetamine and levomethamphetamine.[note 2] Methamphetamine properly refers to a specific chemical, the racemic free base, which is an equal mixture of levomethamphetamine and dextromethamphetamine in their pure amine forms. Dextromethamphetamine is a much stronger central stimulant than levomethamphetamine. Both enantiomers are neurotoxic and addictive. (Wikipedia)

Hey!! I'm not really impressed by this crossword puzzle, particularly!! Yeah!!!

Now, WHERE/WAS I [5A/5D: "Anyhoo.."]?? Oh yeah, watching the Republican debate! That's the reason I'm currently filled with abject depression and dread for the future of our species. Yayyyy! Anyhoo, You didn't come here for a comprehensive AUDIT of bleak political spectacles, did you [6A: I.R.S. investigation]? No, you came here for cutting edge crossword analysis. And I will deliver.

Three cheers for METH [4D: Drug in "Breaking Bad"]! It was mildly surprising to encounter that answer in today's puzzle, as it seems like the kind of reference which the NYT would generally prefer to put its head in the sand to avoid. I don't have a problem with it at all, but it's bizarre that METH gets in yet people have a problem with, for instance, SCUMBAG. Makes no sense. Anyhoo, great show.

But why in the name of Ooxteplernon wouldn't you try to tie that answer in with STASH [7A: Store away for later]? That would have made for such a nice cross-reference, not to mention a swell symmetrical counterpart to the WHERE/WAS I crossing. Missed opportunities; c'est la vie.

Whoa, whoa, I haven't talked about SPAM yet [1A: Meat product sold in tins]!! What in the actual fuck?? That really should have been the word of the day, unless.... Oh my god, I just came up with a great marketing idea. I can't tell you about it because it involves combining SPAM and METH. Oh shit, nevermind!

Anybody else have a problem with PEDAL [2D: Propel a swan boat, maybe]? I had P_D__ and could only think of PADDLE even though it obviously wouldn't fit. I guess I didn't realize that those things were called 'swan boats'; I always called them 'pedal boats'. Since that's, you know, what they're called. Ah well.

Signed, Jonathan Gibson, Tuco of CrossWorld