NYT Mini for Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Constructor: Joel Fagliano

Relative Difficulty: Medium

Theme: None

Word of the Day: STET

Stet is a form of the Latin verb sto, stare, steti, statum,[1] originally used by proofreaders and editors to instruct the typesetter or writer to disregard a change the editor or proofreader had previously marked. This usage of the verb, known as the "jussive subjunctive",[2] derives from the active-voiced third-person subjunctive singular present and is typically translated as "Let it stand".[3] (Wikipedia)

This is a nice, clean grid. I will do my best to find some flaws in it.

I don't think of an ALIAS as something automatically associated with illegal activity, as the clue seems to do [5A: Criminal's creation]. If you supply your barista with a fake name—even a malicious one—to put on your coffee cup, that's not a criminal act; that's just being a dick. Sure, using an ALIAS and being a criminal certainly can go hand-in-hand, but it's not a one-to-one relationship. Clue needs a ", say" at the end is all.

Nice try pretending I'm going to associate the word SOMME with anything other than the WWI battle [8A: French river that's an anagram of MEMOS], but it isn't going to happen. And though it is kind of neat, I can't think of why that particular anagram should be considered crossworthy. If you're going to clue an answer with an anagram, I'd generally like it to be something apropos in some way, like "Alec Guinness / Genuine Class", or  "Paul E. Tsongas / Gaseous plant". But this... this is just a random anagram. Not a lot of memos being written about the Somme these days, I'd imagine.

STET is a nice juicy (and jussive) Bit o' Latin™ [6D: "Leave in," to a proofreader]. Back when I was grading theory students' homework I used to get really excited whenever I made a mistake marking something wrong that wasn't, because it was an opportunity to use STET. I'm still not sure if I was using it correctly, but since nobody understood what it meant anyway it didn't matter.

Not a huge fan of either HIT ME [3D: Words to a blackjack dealer] or GOT IT [7A: "Now I understand". I'd like them better if they were tied together, I think. Don't people sometimes say "HIT ME" referring to information as the thing with which they are to be hit? Seems like a thing.

Or how about tying HIT ME to MAIMS in some manner [4D: Injures badly]? Seems like that could have been an option. Though with the change in conjugation it might be tricky to work out a clue that makes grammatical sense. I actually misspelled it as MAMMS somehow, which would have made 7A into GOT MT?

Which would make a great license plate motto for Big Sky Country, but is otherwise useless.

Signed, Jonathan Gibson, a loof of CrossWorld