NYT Mini for Thursday, April 7, 2016

Constructor: Joel Fagliano

Relative Difficulty: Medium

Theme: None

Word of the Day: TROUT

Trout is the common name for a number of species of freshwater fish belonging to the genera Oncorhynchus, Salmo and Salvelinus, all of the subfamily Salmoninae of the family Salmonidae. The word trout is also used as part of the name of some non-salmonid fish such as Cynoscion nebulosus, the spotted seatrout or speckled trout.

Trout are closely related to salmon and char (or charr): species termed salmon and char occur in the same genera as do trout (Oncorhynchus - Pacific salmon and trout, Salmo - Atlantic salmon and various trout, Salvelinus - char and trout). (Wikipedia)


 

While I don't active hate this puzzle, that's largely due thanks to a burning inner apathy that I've carefully cultivated over the ages through the writing of this blog rather than any actual admirable or meritorious attributes of the puzzle itself.

 

We start out with the commercial advertising right away at one-across with YELP [1A: App with a "Write a Review" function]. Do people actually trust Yelp? I think I've literally used it maybe once. "Write a review" seems like a 'function' that is way too generic to specifically clue this particular app, so that feels odd. Thus, the clue comes across as BOTH vague and obnoxiously commercial [5D: This one and that one]. Not a great combination.

Floyd Whatever and Manny Neverheardofhim are BOXERs [5A: Floyd Mayweather or Manny Pacquiao]? If you say so. I purposefully made this clue one of this post's tags and then built the previous sentence around repeating their names yet again, and yet I'm still 100% positive that I will not remember these people's names. They could be completely made up for all I know. It's a well-established fact that the only boxers that should ever show up in crosswords are Muhammad Ali, Mike Tyson, and the guy who's ear was bitten off by Mike Tyson, whoever that is. Oh, also that guy from the thirties. Joe Louis? Is that whom I'm thinking of? Yeah, that sounds right. Ugh, whatever.

Not really tremendously excited that we have both YELP and HELP in this puzzle [8A: "I could really use a hand here!"], but at least the latter wasn't clued as the damn Beatles record, which seems like a minor miracle. Seriously hoping that constructors LET UP with that shit already [3D: Abate]. Maybe Fagliano thought that would have made this thing too music-heavy, in that he already had the sublimely low-effort OUTTA in there [6A: "Straight _____ Compton"].

The classification of PRAT as a 'prefix' seemed very fishy to me [4D: Prefix with fall], so I looked it up. Turns out PRAT is piece of 16th-century slang meaning 'buttock', though it also has the much more recent meanings of 'hip pocket' and 'contemptible person'. In any case, it's a noun. Although it may in a technical sense be 'prefixed' to the noun 'fall', I don't think you can really justify calling PRAT itself a prefix. If you do, YOU'RE on etymologically thin ice [1D: "_____ one to talk!"].

Well, that's about it. I felt certain there was something positive to EXTOL about this puzzle, but I'll be damned if I can figure out was it was [2D: Shower with praise]. I guess TROUT is ok, though I would have clued it more-interesting-wise [7A: "Rainbow" fish]. This is a clue that has appeared a number of times before, and I always think it's TETRA. But it's never once been TETRA. Maybe I'm just bitter about this.

Signed, Jonathan Gibson, buttock-fall of CrossWorld