Three issues that have been annoying me like nothing else, I write to help anyone else who encounters them.
Issue 1: When you try to install linux mint do you get the message: /bin/sh: can't access tty
Choose the normal boot but add the option "break=top" to the end of the normal boot string (ro quiet splash -> ro quiet splash break=top).
This will dump you at a terminal prompt where it is possible to manually load the device drivers for your cd / dvd drive. At the prompt type:
Your CD should boot if the modprobe command is successful.
Issue 2: Manual partitioning stalls during reading disk.
Remove any devices connected to the system that might be causing a problem. That probably doens't help much but I thought I'd put it out there; when my usb drive is plugged in the installer crashes religiously, when its not, the installer works fine.
Issue 3: After installing the system does not boot, giving a message like: ata2.00: Exception... failed...
The issue here is possibly related to the new ata driver under which all hard disks are considered to be SCSI devices, even IDE ones. Try changing your boot string from root=/dev/hda1 to root=/dev/sda1.
You will especially encounter this problem if you manually assign partitions, and as a result fstab will have to be updated as well. Edit /boot/menu.1st and /etc/fstab to fix the instances of hdaX to sdaX.
Hope that saves someone the annoyance I've had this evening!