NYT Mini for Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Constructor: Joel Fagliano

Relative Difficulty: Medium-Challenging

Theme: None

Word of the Day: SKORT

A skort is generally a pair of shorts with a fabric panel resembling a skirt covering the front, although some may be skirts with a pair of integral shorts hidden underneath.[1]

The term "skort" (a portmanteau of skirt and shorts) is used idiomatically in some regions. While some garments sold as culottes resemble short trousers, to be a skort they need to look like skirts. They are distinguished from trousers or shorts by a fuller cut at the bottom (hem) than at the waist.

Skorts were developed to provide more freedom to do activities such as sports, gardening, cleaning, or bike riding, and give the appearance of a skirt.

Montgomery Ward claimed in their 1959 Spring/Summer catalog to have invented the garment they called a skort. It was a short knife or accordian pleated skirt with an attached bloomer. Years later, the term was applied to a pair of shorts with a flap of fabric across the front (and often the back) making the garment appear to be a skirt. In recent years, the term skort has been given to any skirt with an attached pair of shorts. (Wikipedia)

 I do NOT recommend googling "squirt".

I do NOT recommend googling "squirt".

This one gets the "medium-challenging" rating based purely on the spelling of Mar MARON's last name, whom (and whose podcast) are actually known to me even if the former's spelling was somewhat opaque [2D: "WTF with Marc ____" (popular podcast)]. At least we weren't asked to spell the man's first name, which he clearly spells incorrectly.

SKORT [3D: Hybrid garment for women] is pure gold, though it's tarnished somewhat by the presence of SHORT in the same puzzle [7A: Vertically challenged, to put it nicely]. This seems so blatant that it was almost certainly on purpose; the only question is, "Why would you do this?" It's not as if we also get SKIRT as well, which would at least make a certain kind of sense. I don't think it's a good idea either way, but having just ONE of them there...yikes, it's pretty bonkers.

We do get a third garment, however, in the form of APRON [6A: Chef's wear], though it doesn't quite fit with the other two. I got hung up here for no other reason than I thought the clue was looking for TOQUE, which is of course a CRAZY word that I learned from crosswords. Let's see... Ah yes, it was this one. I couldn't *actually* remember it here though so it did nothing but slow me down while I tried to recall it, to no avail.

Too much junk here. AMS sucks pretty hard [1A: Morning times, for short], and FAS sucks at least as hard [4D: Musical note after mis]. That one's not even accurate, if you think about it. How the hell is "after" a specific enough word in that context? It's not. Unless you're talking about some random specific melody, Fa comes after Mi ONLY in the specific context of an upward scale, which is NOT implied just by invoking the concept of a scale. Also, plural solfege? Please. Jeez, why is it crosswords NEVER get music theory stuff right? ANT is pretty tired [8A: Lead bug in "A Bug's Life"], while ALPHA is just another letter pretending to be a word in the hopes we won't lump in in with the abbreviation and solfege [1D: First Greek letter]

I can never stay mad at ENT, because, well, it's ENT [5D: Treelike creature in "The Lord of the Rings"]. Ent, ent, ent. Do you think ENT and ANT are supposed to go together, the way SKORT and SHORT are apparently supposed to go together? Who knows? If there's an idea here, I don't see it.

Signed, Jonathan Gibson, skorpron of CrossWorld