NYT Mini for Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Constructor: Joel Fagliano

Relative Difficulty: Easy-Medium

Theme: None

Word of the Day: NYET

In each opening round of the trick-taking card game Nyet!, players take turns crossing out possible choices for starting player, trump, super trump, the number of cards you discard, and the value of tricks taken on a grid, leaving only one option in each category. Once the starting player is determined, that player chooses a partner, then the teams play out the round based on the conditions they collectively chose. (Wikipedia)

Ehh....I guess this is ok. I'm not a big fan of any of its individual elements, the way they are put together, or the resulting complete package, so I guess it's not off to a strong start. But it's not offensively bad. If nothing else it's indirectly responsible for introducing us all to what looks and sounds like a halfway decent board game.

Wait, a minute, that box art reminds me of something...


Ah, yes that's it. Well, minus the bear, anyway.

Anyway, there is NO WAY I'm going to have much in the way of niceties to say about this thing [7A: "You gotta be kidding me!"]. Especially now that Tetris has been brought into the mix. That game is basically the definition of great art—even if does have a totally weird NAME—so by comparison this monument to banality starts to smell pretty rank [5D: It's found on the back of a jersey].

Honestly, it's fine. I guess. I would much rather be eating a sandwich than solving it, but that would be true even of a good puzzle, especially were au JUS to be involved [1A: Au ___ (how roast beef might be served)]. That's a tough act to compete with.

Let's see, what else?

  • GNOME [8A: Pointy-haired garden statue] - Pleasing initial letter combination. Some monsterism.
  • UPENN [4A: Phillip Ivy League sch.] - Enough with the freaking schools already. There's something extra perfidious about this one I can't quite put my finger UPON. Maybe that it's two abbreviations in one?
  • UPON [2D: Atop] - Nah, I already dropped this word in the last bullet. I ain't saying anything else about it.
  • JUNG [1D: Founder of analytic psychology] - Ah, to be Jung again.
  • SEW ON [ 3D: Attach, as a button] - How low can the goddamn bar go???
  • NYET [6D: Russian refusal] - Da!
  • NET [9A: Ping-pong table divider] - Nyet.

Catch phrase sign-off!