NYT Mini for Friday, April 8, 2016

Constructor: Joel Fagliano

Relative Difficulty: Medium

Theme: None

Word of the Day: SPADE

A spade is a tool primarily for digging, comprising a blade - typically narrower and less curved than that of a shovel - and a long handle.[1] Early spades were made of riven wood. After the art of metalworking was discovered, spades were made with sharper tips of metal. Before the introduction of metal spades manual labor was less efficient at moving earth, with picks being required to break up the soil in addition to a spade for moving the dirt. With a metal tip, a spade can both break and move the earth in most situations, increasing efficiency.

ell this is pretty awful. I don't know, precisely, just how much crap it is technically possible to fit into a single 5 x 5 crossword grid, but finding that out seems to be a calling for Joel Fagliano.

Apparently there is a professional sports game team called the SPURS [1A: N.B.A. team that's 39-0 at home this season]. Whatever. I can only assume that nobody else gives a shit about this either, because to do so would clearly make no sense. It can only be a conspiracy. What kind of conspiracy? Why, the kind with LOTSA conspiring going on [7A: "_____ luck!"]. Ugh, I know, it's painful. I didn't ask for this, and neither did you. It's just the life we chose.

But this puzzle just continues to screw the POOCH, doesn't it [2D: Doggie]? Far beyond the point where decent human beings like yourself would have given up. Like, what the fuck is the deal with UP THE [3D: _____ ante (increase stakes)]??? So now it's okay to just stick a random preposition in front of a random article and call that an answer? This is the standard now?? Honestly, is THIS what our founding forefathers fought and died for in Southeast Asia in World War I??? It boggles the mind.

And then there's THESE [9A: "We hold _____ truths to be self-evident"], which is a boring pronoun disguised as an even more boring fill-in-the-blank. Not really sure what the thinking was there. But it's arguably better than the Most Awkward Plural Ever RUSES [4D: Deceptive ploys]. Literally no one has ever employed the plural form of that noun in actual conversation, and I literally will give you $100 if you can prove this isn't correct. See? You can't do it.

Really getting sick of these cutesie single symbol clues for stuff like SPADE [5D: ♠]. It seems like maybe it was cute 20 years ago or whatever when somebody did it for the first time but now it's just cloying and horrible. Do we really have to keep putting up with this shit? Let's all agree not to, ok? I mean, let's not call a spade a spade, ok?

Signed, Jonathan Gibson, David ♥ of CrossWorld