NYT Mini for Thursday, March 31st, 2016

Constructor: Joel Fagliano

Relative Difficulty: Medium

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Theme: None

Word of the Day: PECKS

Eldred Gregory Peck (April 5, 1916 – June 12, 2003) was an American actor who was one of the most popular film stars from the 1940s to the 1960s. Peck continued to play major film roles until the late 1970s. His performance as Atticus Finch in the 1962 film To Kill a Mockingbird earned him the Academy Award for Best Actor. He had also been nominated for an Oscar for the same category for The Keys of the Kingdom (1944), The Yearling (1946), Gentleman's Agreement (1947) and Twelve O'Clock High(1949). Other notable films he appeared in include Spellbound (1945), The Paradine Case (1947), Roman Holiday (1953), Moby Dick (1956, and its 1998 miniseries), The Guns of Navarone (1961), Cape Fear (1962, and its 1991 remake), How the West Was Won (1962), The Omen (1976) and The Boys from Brazil (1978).


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his sucks. This puzzle tries to do to the English language what Harper Lee did to Atticus Finch's reputation in Go Set A Watchman. I can't even describe how many Gregory PECKS it would take to climb out of the hole dug by this puzzle's almost total charm deficit [5A: Quick kisses]. It's so incredibly UNHIP that nine certainly wouldn't do it [6A: Not cool]; it would require at least a TENTH, if not many more [1D: Like "J" in the alphabet].

I don't even know what's going on with STORY [7A: Snapchat feature]. That's a Snapchat thing? Whatever; don't know and don't care. You've taken a boring word and made it even more boring. Almost as bad as PUSS [5D: ____ in Boots (Shrek character]. Ugh, what a horrible word that is. And if you must employ it, in what universe would you ever think it's a good idea to reference Shrek with it? You are aware, I hope, that that's a fairy tale character that long predates Dreamworks' abominable shit-film, right? This kind of unnecessary commercial placement is utterly abhorrent and pathetic. Would that I could TASE the constructor for thinking this is ok in any way, shape or form [1A: Zap with a stun gun].

I'd almost like SKIRT [3D: Garment that also means "sidestep"], because the clue hints at something clever, but it doesn't deliver. Instead of actually executing some kind of humorous play on the two meanings of the word, it just hangs there, saying, "eh, I don't want to come up with something; can't you do it?" Well I'm not going to do that. If the constructor intends to skirt all of his authorial responsibilities, I'll be damned if I'm going to pick up the slack. For one thing, I am allergic to lazy crossword construction. ACHOO [2D: Sound of a sneeze].

Forget tasing. The constructor ought to be SHOT for this tripe [8A: Whiskey serving].

Signed, Jonathan Gibson, Atticus Tern of CrossWorld