NYT Mini for Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Constructor: Joel Fagliano

Relative Difficulty: Medium

Theme: None

Word of the day: AD HOC

Ad hoc is a Latin Phrase meaning "for this". It generally signifies a solution designed for a specific problem or task, non-generalizable, and not intended to be able to be adapted to other purposes. Common examples are organizations, committees, and commissions created at the national or international level for a specific task. In other fields, the term may refer, for example, to a military unit created under special circumstances, a tailor-made suit, a handcrafted network protocol, or a purpose-specific equation. Ad hoc can also mean makeshift solutions, shifting contexts to create new meanings, inadequate planning, or improvised events.

According to The Chicago Manual of Style, familiar Latin phrases that are listed in Merriam-Webster, such as "ad hoc", should not be italicized.[1][2] (Wikipedia)

Well this is pretty bland. Bit of a DRAG, even (5A: Computer partner of drop). Not the worst, not the best. Just what we're stuck with (I do like the term 'computer partner' though. Sounds like something you'd find on Ok Cupid).

I am compelled to announce, however, that I could go for the next 40 years without seeing another Beatles reference in a crossword, and die happy, so I'm less than overcome with joy at the sight of SGT (4D: The Beatles' ____ Pepper). This is not at all a value statement regarding the band and their art; it's rather a statement about the sorry state of modern crossword cluing vis-à-vis variety. I concede that they were an important band, that's fine, but I'm just sick of seeing these guys in what feels like every single puzzle. And this particular one comes hot on the heels of yesterday's (main) puzzle, which was ENTIRELY about the Beatles.

Wait, I just remembered it was even worse than that because the puzzle was ENTIRELY about the Beatles, and even specifically dealt only with ONE OF THEIR LESSER SONGS. How was that even remotely ok as a theme? I know plenty of Beatles songs; I could probably name 10 or 15 off the top of my head, and I've never heard of that one. I can't reprint its title here because I'm....don't want to. Anyway, that puzzle sucked! Let's talk some more about this one.

I'm of the firm belief that no crossword puzzle can't be made better through the addition of more Latin phrases, so AD HOC sits well with me (1D: Kind of committee). I knew what the phrase meant, of course, but I didn't know the literal translation ("for this") until now. Hey, I started doing crosswords, and now I know Latin! That second thing happened after the first thing, so it must be because of the first thing. Post hoc ergo propter hoc!

KOBE was, strangely, a gimme for me (7A: N.B.A. legend who plans to retire after this season), because I just happened to see a headline saying pretty much exactly that earlier today. Isn't he not really a 'legend' if he's still playing the game? It's kind of verifiably the case that he runs around with basketballs or whatever, right? I don't know; seems a bit weird.

Is this long enough? Or is it too  SHORT (6A: Something seen before a Pixar film)? I think it's pretty average. What's that? It needs another West Wing clip? Ok!

Signed, Jonathan Gibson, indentured servant of CrossWorld