Constructor: Joel Fagliano
Relative Difficulty: Medium
Word of the Day: TOLLS
A toll road, also known as a turnpike or tollway, is a public or private roadway for which a fee (or toll) is assessed for passage. It is a form of road pricing typically implemented to help recoup the cost of road construction and maintenance, which (on public roads) amounts to a form of taxation.
Toll roads in some form have existed since antiquity, collecting their fees from passing travelers on foot, wagon or horseback; but their prominence increased with the rise of the automobile, and many modern tollways charge fees for motor vehicles exclusively. The amount of the toll usually varies by vehicle type, weight, or number of axles, with freight trucks often charged higher rates than cars. (Wikipedia)
This is pretty dull. I think we'd better just do some bullets and then move on with our lives.
- MARSH [1A: Habitat for bitterns and egrets] — Never heard of a bittern before, but just so we're clear, bitterns are a classification of birds in the heron family, Ardeidae, a family of wading birds.
- ELATE [6A: Thrill] — After doing this puzzle, even though it is defined right there I am not confident that I know the meaning of the word 'thrill'.
- ELLIS [7A: "American Psycho" author Bret Easton ____] — Not sure this was the best Ellis to go with here. I only know the book exists because of the movie, and I certainly don't know the author by name, nor have I ever heard of any of his other books. But. Did you know that they made American Psycho into a musical? Now you do. Presumably it's 100% composed of Huey Lewis and the News songs.
- TOLLS [8A: E-Z Pass stations] — Nope, this doesn't work. It's called a tollbooth, not just a toll. The toll is the thing you pay at the booth (or gate, or plaza, whatever). You know this. I know this. Why doesn't Fagliano know this? Baffling.
- STYLE [9A: New York Times Section] — Hey, that's also exactly what today's puzzle is lacking! What are the odds?!
- MEETS [1D: TV's Boy ____ World] — This show ran from 1993 to 2000, so it should be right in my wheelhouse, but it feels completely alien to me. Like, I have literally no clue what it's about. At first I thought it was that sitcom with the robot, but that turns out to be Small Wonder, which is not even from the same decade. In any case, we can at least say with some confidence that Boy Meets World probably does not contain as many robots as it ought to.
- STILL [4D: "Yeah, but even so... "] — As in, "could this word fit into a crossword puzzle? Yeah, but even so I wouldn't."
- HESSE [5D: Nobelist author of "Siddhartha"] — Hey, cool, it's more literary trivia I don't understand and won't remember! Wasn't this guy the lyricist for Steppenwolf or something?
Signed, Jonathan Gibson, Paul Allen of CrossWorld