NYT Mini for Thursday, November 19, 2015

Constructor: Joel Fagliano

Relative Difficulty: Medium

Theme: None

Word of the Day: CAM

A cam is a rotating or sliding piece in a mechanical linkage used especially in transforming rotary motion into linear motion or vice versa.[1][2] It is often a part of a rotating wheel (e.g. an eccentric wheel) or shaft (e.g. a cylinder with an irregular shape) that strikes alever at one or more points on its circular path. The cam can be a simple tooth, as is used to deliver pulses of power to a steam hammer, for example, or an eccentric disc or other shape that produces a smooth reciprocating (back and forth) motion in the follower, which is a lever making contact with the cam. (Wikipedia)

Another solid effort. Nothing earth-shattering, but a nice enough diversion from the inevitability of mortality. I've never heard of "Harlem SHAKE", but I'm willing to believe it's a thing (4A: Harlem ___ (dance craze of 2013)). I'll even google it so you don't have to. Here you go:

Ok, well that was...not at all illuminating. If anyone cares to explain this "dance craze" in the comments, please go for it. I do like the guy in the horse mask in #5 though.

Big TED fan (8A: Annual conference with the slogan "Ideas worth spreading"). I love watching TED talks because they help break me out of my stupid millennial cynicism and remind me we're all in this together and that everything is awesome, or can be if we can get our shit together as a species. You should be watching more Ted talks. I should be watching more Ted talks. We all should be watching more Ted talks.

Speaking of uplifting fucking shit, did you guys read the latest Oatmeal comic? Holy fuck, right? I mean, sure, humans kind of make a MESS of things sometimes (3D: Extreme disarray), or maybe even most of the time, but it'll all be okay, right? No matter what some fucking assholes do in PARIS (6A: #PrayFor ___). By the way, does that clue kinda fail the breakfast test? Or are we so desensitized to horrific violence now that we don't care about being reminded of it in our crossword puzzles? It doesn't bother me at all; I'm just curious. I guess the clue only references the attacks indirectly, so maybe that's how it passed. Anyway, did you guys hear what the Dalai Lama said about that hashtag? I thought that was kinda cool of him. My personal feeling is pray, don't pray, whatever; just don't pretend like telling people that you're doing it has any value, or does anything other than separate us.

Well, that's all I HAVE to say about this puzzle (5D: Possess).

Signed, Jonathan Gibson, beekeeper of CrossWorld