Constructor: Joel Fagliano
Relative Difficulty: Medium
Word of the Day: FANTA
Fanta is a global brand of fruit-flavored carbonated soft drinks created by The Coca-Cola Company. There are over 100 flavors worldwide. The drink originated in Nazi Germany under trade embargo for Coca-Cola ingredients in 1940.
Fanta originated as a result of difficulties importing Coca-Cola syrup into Nazi Germany during World War II due to a trade embargo. To circumvent this, Max Keith, the head of Coca-Cola Deutschland (Coca-Cola GmbH) during the Second World War, decided to create a new product for the German market, using only ingredients available in Germany at the time, including whey and apple pomace – the "leftovers of leftovers", as Keith later recalled. The name was the result of a brief brainstorming session, which started with Keith's exhorting his team to "use their imagination" (Fantasie in German), to which one of his salesmen, Joe Knipp, immediately retorted "Fanta!" (Wikipedia)
Ho and/or hum. This is a pretty tame offering from....let's see...oh, Joel Fagliano wrote this one too? What a surprise. Will Shortz, End This Monopoly! For the love of Ooxteplernon, please free us from this tyranny of mediocrity. I'm not even kidding; there have to be other constructors out there willing to fill a 5x5 grid every now and then.
I had no idea FANTA had such an interesting origin [1D: Classic orange soda]. Too bad that information came from Wikipedia and not this puzzle. I mean seriously, would it have killed you to spend five or ten seconds googling for something better than the supremely low-hanging fruit that is this clue?
BAD AT is basically the worst thing ever [5A: Lacking a knack for]. I'm totally confused by this entry. Why would you think that this is an acceptable thing to put in your grid? It's basically the crossword equivalent of a canker sore, so where are the stacked 15s or the dense theme material that is being tied together by this blight? Oh, that's right, it's a 5x5 grid with no such constraints. Minis should be 100% free of this kind of drivel. That's how they justify their existence.
ID TAG is not as bad, but still not great [2D: Luggage attachment]. I would in fact be willing to overlook its banality if it at least had an acceptable clue, but instead we've more vertically-challenged seed-bearing structures. For shame!
ANTIC I almost like [6A: Bit of hijinks]. In general I don't approve of singular forms of words that only ever get used as plurals in the real world, but this one is worth STASHing [7A: Secret supply] away and RAISE-ing up[3D: Good worker's reward] in a conversation whenever possible. As in "I say, Reginald, that was indeed a most delightful antic you just executed! Wilst thou pump up the BASS?" [5D: Prominent part of dubstep music] Yes, I hear that exactly sentence several times a week.
Signed, Jonathan Gibson, fanta-clause of CrossWorld