NYT Mini for Friday, April 1, 2016

Constructor: Joel Fagliano

Relative Difficulty: Medium

Theme: APRIL FOOL'S — The word's APRIL FOOL'S appear in this grid, as an answer, and that is apparently the bar for themes now.

  • APRIL FOOLS [6A/7A: Exclamation much heard today]

Word of the Day: GYROS

A gyro or gyros [ˈʝiros][note 1] (Greek: γύρος, gyros, literally 'turn') is a Greek dish made of meat cooked on a vertical rotisserie, normally pork, chicken, beef, veal, lamb or mutton, or other alternatives such as feta or haloumi cheese, and usually served wrapped in a flatbread such as pita or sandwich, with fries, tomato, onion, and tzatziki sauce.

To make gyros, pieces of meat are placed on a tall vertical rotisserie, in the shape of an inverted cone, which turns slowly in front of a source of heat, usually an electric broiler. If the meat is not fatty enough, strips of fat are added so that the roasting meat always remains moist and crisp. The rate of roasting can be adjusted by varying the strength of the heat and the distance between the heat and the meat, allowing the cook to adjust to varying rates of consumption. The outside of the meat is sliced vertically in thin, crisp shavings when done. It is generally served in an oiled, lightly grilled piece of pita, rolled up with various salads and vegetables such as cucumber and lettuce, as well as sauces, such as mustard and ketchup. (Wikipedia)

How low can the goddamn bar go???! Sorry. This is actually not THAT bad; it's just that it's so freaking cloying in its deficiencies. Look at this "theme". It so begs for us to love it, yet it puts forth almost zero effort for that to happen. It's as if the constructor noticed there was a calendar on his desk, then noticed that the words APRIL and FOOL'S were each five letters, and then called it a day. There they sit, like a retarded billboard broadcasting inadequacy in big neon lights. Yes, that is a day on the calendar. Why must its presentation and cluing be so dreadfully straightforward and perfunctory?

As halfhearted as it is, most of the puzzle isn't particularly loathsome, with the exception of the abysmal TDS [8A: N.F.L. scores]. I can see what the clue there is trying to do, using 'scores' as an awkward misdirect to make me think it's talking about the overall score in a game, like how a normal person would use the term, rather than an individual scoring unit. It didn't work. GPA [1A: An A student has a high one, for short] is likewise rubbish in that the 'for short' is completely superfluous. Nobody says "grade point average"; GPA is the already common parlance term, so I don't need your condescending hand-holding, thanks.

I like GYROS, that's ok [1D: Some urban cart offerings]. Ok and delicious, that is. RIYAL is also pretty good [4A: Saudi Arabian currency]. Totally classic currency, though I always seem to have a hard time spelling it. Man, I could totally go for some gyros right now. Ain't had any of them in quite some time. Maybe I'll go visit an urban cart and throw down some riyals for some right now. Yeah, that's the ticket. Fucking gyros, man. They're the future of this blog.

Signed, Jonathan Gibson, Fenton Crackshell of CrossWorld