NYT Mini for Monday, April 18, 2016

Constructor: Joel Fagliano

Relative Difficulty: Easy-Medium

Theme: None

Word of the Day: BRAD

William Bradley "Brad" Pitt (born December 18, 1963) is an American actor and producer. He has received a Golden Globe Award, a Screen Actors Guild Award, and three Academy Award nominations in acting categories, and received three further Academy Award nominations, winning one, as producer under his own company Plan B Entertainment.

Pitt first gained recognition as a cowboy hitchhiker in the road movie Thelma & Louise (1991). His first leading roles in big-budget productions came with the dramas A River Runs Through It (1992) and Legends of the Fall (1994), and Interview with the Vampire (1994). He gave critically acclaimed performances in the crime thriller Seven and the science fiction film 12 Monkeys (both 1995), the latter earning him a Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor and an Academy Award nomination. Pitt starred in the cult film Fight Club (1999) and the major international hit Ocean's Eleven (2001) and its sequels, Ocean's Twelve (2004) and Ocean's Thirteen (2007). His greatest commercial successes have been Troy (2004), Mr. & Mrs. Smith (2005), and World War Z (2013). Pitt received his second and third Academy Award nominations for his leading performances in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008) and Moneyball (2011). He produced The Departed (2006) and 12 Years a Slave (2013), both of which won the Academy Award for Best Picture, and also The Tree of Life, Moneyball, and The Big Short (2015), all of which garnered Best Picture nominations. (Wikipedia)

In the time it took to put all the framework of this blog post into place, e.g. the tags, category description, title, theme, difficulty rating, word of the day, etc., I completely forgot what the actual puzzle was like. The whole thing is gone from my memory. I have basically no idea what it was like or if I enjoyed it. Which, I guess, probably suggests that I did not. Let's go back and take a look though, just to make sure.

I have no idea who, what, or why the fuck BRUH is, and I refuse to acknowledge that it is a legitimate thing [1A: "Dude, c'mon...," in modern lingo]. I did google it, however, and I think it's safe to say, without controversy, that to the extant that this is a spelling that people actually employ, that this clue is 180° wrong. The first entry on Urban Dictionary states that BRUH is a term of greeting, not some kind of response to something absurd or outlandish (which is how I'm interpreting that impressively vague clue). Even if I accept this weird alien spelling of 'bro', which is obviously what this is, I can't accept that it conveys a meaning anywhere near as specific as this. It's just... the word 'bro'. It's short for 'brother'. It does not intrinsically imply any sentiment beyond this. I can certainly imagine it conveying the above meaning, in the right context and with the right intonation. But. This is an unsound clue for a total non-word and we all know it.

Personally, I think this puzzle needed to RIPEN a little more in order to be ready for print [5A: Turn yellow, as a banana]. It's not a disaster, I guess, but it's difficult to see anything in it that really justifies its existence, and I certainly wouldn't shed a tear were someone to RIP UP...uh, it [2D: Tear to pieces].

It seems like some of this stuff is trying a little too hard to be contemporary. I realize the whole San Bernadino case and the larger debate about privacy is super hot right now, and I guess it's good for us to be reminded about it as responsible citizens who should have opinions about important gnarly issues like this, but sometimes I just want to veg out and do fucking crosswords, you know? I don't necessarily want to pause my semantic/lexicograpical mental playtime to focus on intractable ethical/political questions to which everyone seems to only ever offer simple answers and to which there can only in reality be only complex ones. Oh, this is in reference to the APPLE clue, by the way [7A: Company that tangled with the F.B.I. over encryption]. So I guess this entry's kind of a mixed bag.

BRAD Pitt is an actor who has appeared in films and stuff [1D: Pitt of "The Big Short]. Perhaps someday he may leverage his notoriety to appear in a crossword puzzle.

Signed, Jonathan Gibson, bruh man bro dude of CrossWorld