NYT Mini for Friday, January 15, 2016

Constructor: Joel Fagliano

Relative Difficulty: Easy-Medium

Theme: None

Word of the Day: LADLE

A ladle (dipper) is a type of serving spoon used for soup, stew, or other foods.[1] Although designs vary, a typical ladle has a long handle terminating in a deep bowl, frequently with the bowl oriented at an angle to the handle to facilitate lifting liquid out of a pot or other vessel and conveying it to a bowl. Some ladles involve a point on the side of the basin to allow for finer stream when pouring the liquid; however, this can create difficulty for left handed users, as it is easier to pour towards one's self. Thus, many of these ladles feature such pinches on both sides.

In modern times ladles are usually made of the same stainless steel alloys as other kitchen utensils; however, they can be made of aluminium, silver, plastics, melamine resin, wood, bamboo or other materials. Ladles are made in a variety of sizes depending upon use; for example, the smaller sizes of less than 5 inches in length are used for sauces or condiments, while extra large sizes of more than 15 inches in length are used for soup or punch.[2]

In ancient times ladles were often made from plants such as calabash (bottle gourd) or even sea-shells.[3] (Wikipedia)


  • FLY [1A: Target of a swatter] — Pretty dumb, for a (white guy's) crossword clue
  • PLAID [4A: Flannel shirt pattern] — Tartan is often called plaid in North America, but in Scotland, a plaid is a tartan cloth slung over the shoulder as a kilt accessory, or a plain ordinary blanket such as one would have on a bed. Thanks Wikipedia!
  • FLOAT [1D: Root beer and ice cream treat] — Sure, or "parade vehicle", or "fractional variable". Big whoop.
  • YIELD [3D: Triangular road sign] — It's a sign. It's triangular. Deal with it.
  • CODER [6A: Python whiz, e.g.] — Wait, you actually have CODER and FLOAT in the same puzzle, and you didn't cross-reference them? What gives?
  • LADLE [2D: Soup scoop] — Whoa, rhyming clues! Gettin' fancy!
  • PCT [4D: %: Abbr.] — That completely superfluous "Abbr." at the end there? Just a friendly reminder of the constructor's utter contempt for the solver.
  • TED [8A: What Theodore may be called] — This is weird. Why is it phrased so awkwardly? "May be called"? Why not just "Nickname for Theodore"? Or even "Theodore's nickname"? It makes no sense.

Signed, Jonathan Gibson, "bridge ices before road" sign of CrossWorld