Constructor: Joel Fagliano
Relative Difficulty: Easy-Medium
Word of the Day: SMILE
Smile (occasionally typeset as SMiLE) was a projected album by American rock band the Beach Boys, intended to follow their 11th studio album Pet Sounds (1966). After bandleader Brian Wilson abandoned large portions of music recorded over a ten-month period, the band substituted its release with Smiley Smile (1967), an album containing stripped-down remakes of some Smile material. Some of the original Smile tracks eventually found their way onto subsequent Beach Boys studio and compilation albums. As more fans learned of the project's origins, details of its recordings acquired considerable mystique, and it was later acknowledged as the most legendary unreleased album in the history of popular music. (Wikipedia)
The great snoozefest continues. Brian Wilson, whose 60s-era band The Beach Boys is objectively far better than the Beatles, and thus pretty decent, can't even breathe any life into this thing with his delightful stylings. And SMILE is pretty much the last thing this puzzle makes me feel like doing [8A: The parenthesis in :)], because it basically doesn't contain an OUNCE of worthwhile material [7A: Fraction of a pound].
No, it's all just dreadful, dreck-y dross. I detest, for instance, the cloying self-referentiality of MINIS [3D: M&M variety ... or these crosswords]. Can't I just solve a damn crossword without fucking thinking about the fact that I'm solving a crossword? Stop trying this hard to be cute, please. Besides, this phrasing doesn't even make sense. I'm doing *a* puzzle. One. Singular. This clue seems to imply I'm solving a whole bunch of them together or in succession, which is not the case. You could write it as 'this puzzle, e.g., and others", or, convolutedly, 'class of puzzles of which this is one'. Those phrasings suck, but at least they make sense. The version this puzzle went for sounds nice but it doesn't make sense. Your clue should sound nice AND make sense. That's how you do this shit, people.
There's just too much junky fill running amok here, a-mucking things up. ALUM [2D: College reunion attendee] is at least two letters short of actually being a word, and ACLU [5D: Org. that's against restrictive voter I.D. laws] is both dull AND depressing. I don't like being reminded about stupid contemporary political shit while I'm trying to crossword, and 'restrictive' is not a synonym for 'transparently dishonest'. As if we needed even more short pointless crap, we've got SUP down there at the bottom, smiling uselessly up at us [9A: "Yo, how's it goin'"].
It's all way, way way too much. I feel like assuming an ALIAS [4A: Assumed name] and going on the LAM [1A: Fugitive's flight] to escape this trash. But it wouldn't help. Even if I went as far away as, oh, let's say LAOS [1D: Neighbor of Thailand], I can just tell that somehow the memory of this insidious banality will manage to SEEP back into my consciousness [6D: Ooze].
Signed, Jonathan Gibson, non-insidious banality of CrossWorld