NYT Mini for Thursday, February 11, 2016

Constructor: Joel Fagliano

Relative Difficulty: Medium

Theme: None

Word of the Day: AIN'T

Ain't is a contraction for am not, is not, are not, has not, and have not in the common English language vernacular. In some dialects ain't is also used as a contraction of do not, does not, and did not. The development of ain't for the various forms of to be not, to have not, and to do not occurred independently, at different times. The usage of ain't for the forms of to be not was established by the mid-18th century, and for the forms of to have not by the early 19th century.

The usage of ain't is a perennial subject of controversy in English. Ain't is commonly used by many speakers in oral or informal settings, especially in certain regions and dialects. Its usage is often highly stigmatized, and it may be used as a marker of socio-economic or regional status or education level. Its use is generally considered non-standard by dictionaries and style guides except when used for rhetorical effect, and it is rarely found in formal written works. (Wikipedia)

Gettin' controversial today, if Wikipedia is to be believed. I agree that AIN'T "may be used as a marker of socio-economic or regional status or education level", though I would add that it can also be used as a barometer of prickish hipster irony [2D: "____ Too Proud to Beg"]. It's far more likely to be accurate in the latter arena, at least in my circles.

This thing is mostly EMPTY, as far as interest goes [7A: Gas gauge extreme]. The only thing I can see is that "Gas Gauge Extreme" would make a pretty good band name. Maybe somebody will form that band now and someday open for Lady Gaga, who apparently will be playing her PIANO [6A: Lady Gaga's instrument]. Wait, there's PIANO in her music? Huh. Hadn't noticed that. I guess she must be pretty good at it; that's 'cause she gets so many CLAPS [1D: APPLAUDS]. Or whatever.

What's up with CAB [1A: Vehicle that often has a miniature TV]? I guess some of them have TVs? With like fare info and stuff on them? Who knows. Clue feels a little forced for no good reason. There's like 9,000 other, better ways you could clue CAB.

Here's one that would've made for a nice cross-reference:

Ok, now that I've subjected you to TWO versions of that song, what's next?

When Gas Gauge Extreme is at the APEX of their fame [4D: Tiptop], they will do a cover of that song, and they will ADLIB everything [4A: Wing it], and all the B-BOYs will be super into it [3D: Hip-hop fan, in old slang], even though it won't be hip-hop. It will be, like, smooth jazz or something but the B-Boys won't care because every show will only cost a DIME [5D: It's smaller than a penny].


Signed, Jonathan Gibson, Miniature TV of CrossWorld