Constructor: Joel Fagliano
Relative Difficulty: Medium
Word of the Day: LYNX
A lynx (/ˈlɪŋks/; plural lynx or lynxes) is any of the four species within the Lynx genus of medium-sized wild cats. The name "lynx" originated in Middle English via Latin from the Greek word λύγξ, derived from the Indo-European root leuk- ("light, brightness") in reference to the luminescence of its reflective eyes.
Neither the caracal, sometimes called the desert lynx, nor the jungle cat, called the jungle lynx, is a member of the Lynx genus. (Wikipedia)
There are crosswords that stand as a shining example to remind you why you started your dumb crossword blog, and then there are all the rest of the crosswords. This is one falls into the latter group.
There's nothing really particularly wrong or offensive about this thing, ICE AX notwithstanding [3D: Tool used in alpine climbing]; it's just not winning any awards for innovation. MAIL made me think for a second [5D: Iron clothes?], but it's not a very satisfying ? clue. While it's legitimate wordplay, the change in part of speech from 'iron' as a verb to 'iron' as an adjective feels awkward. Moreover, 'iron clothes' isn't that tight of a phrase to begin with. It seems to me people normally refer to 'ironing laundry', or even just 'ironing'. Point being that when I see the phrase 'iron clothes" out of context, then "clothes made of iron" is actually the first interpretation my brain goes to, not a "wacky" alternate one.
Did not know off the top of my head that the ILIAD had 24 parts [7A: Epic story divided into 24 books], but it was easy enough to figure out. I actually read most of the Odyssey in high school, but only a tiny bit of that other one. From what I've heard it seems like the prequel is less well-written and over-reliant on special effects. Plus the whole story's pointless because you already know that Achilles eventually joins the dark side of the force. Not a fan.
The only other place that gave me any pause at all was, oddly enough, JAIL [1A: Corner Monopoly square]. Have not played Monopoly in a number of years (thankfully!) so I had trouble remembering what the other corners besides GO were. How freaking lame and unoriginal is it that three of them are "GO", "JAIL", and "GO TO JAIL"?
Everything else in here is just bland, descriptive leftovers. MECCA is a [5A: Muslim holy city], ALTER means [6A: Modify], LARD is [4D: Animal fat]. I am FIGURATIVELY falling asleep while writing this. Even LYNX is way more boring than it should be, given that lynxes are obviously awesome [8A: Wildcat with tufted ears]. At least JELLY [1D: Peanut butter's partner] is suggestively worded, and that's funny. And now you're thinking about peanut butter and jelly having sex with each other.
Signed, Jonathan Gibson, ICE AWL of CrossWorld