NYT Mini for Monday, February 29, 2016

Constructor: Joel Fagliano

Relative Difficulty: Medium

Theme: None

Word of the Day: OLLIE

The ollie is a skateboarding trick where the rider and board leap into the air without the use of the rider's hands.[1] Originated in vertical skateboarding, and later on flat ground, it is not intuitively obvious how the liftoff is achieved, making the trick visually striking.

The ollie is a fundamental trick in street skateboarding, and is used to leap onto, over, or off obstacles, or over gaps of unfriendly terrain such as grass or stairs. As so many other tricks depend on it - for example the kickflip and heelflip - the ollie is often the first trick to be learned by a new skateboarder. The ollie typically takes considerable practice to learn.

This trick is also registered trademark. (Wikipedia)

I didn't mind this. I learned a new skateboarding term, so I'm on my way to being a master at the craft. Expect I'll probably be competing in the world championships (or olympics, or...whatever?) of skateboarding in just a few short decades from now, so look for that. I'm leaping with anticipation. Or, I guess, OLLIE-ing [3D: Basic skateboarding trick]. I like that Wikipedia has to point out that this "fundamental trick" is also a trademark. I presume everyone in the skateboarding world is required to be proficient at it but isn't allowed to talk about it ever (only we can). I believe this, though it is a leap of faith.

Not sure what Fagliano's pulling here with all the "leap" synonyms, but It's not terrible. I like that BOUND [2D: Leap] and VAULT [6A: Leap] are crossing; that's cute enough, but I think he's trying to be a little too clever with too little effort in putting OLLIE in there too. He didn't even bother to put "leap" in the clue for that one, and so it feels either rushed or accidental, like he didn't notice the connection. Obviously OLLIE is way more specific than the other too, but there are still ways you could make the clues parallel. "Leap, with a board", "leap, with a pole", and.... "leap, with [something else]"; I don't know. Something to leave that dangling possibility fulfilled. Otherwise, get rid of it by not cluing OLLIE in a way that is obviously connected semantically.

Lots of politics today. You got your OBAMA [1D: President who appointed Kagan to the Supreme Court] crossing your WADE [8A: Roe vs. ____], right next to the similarly court-flavored VOW [6D: Promise at a wedding]. On top of these we also have EDT clued with a reference to the cesspool in which they all work [4D: Summer hrs. in D.C.]. It's all (nearly) enough to (facetiously) make one (already predisposed for the dramatic) leap for joy (or a lesser parallel emotion thereof).

I think I hear the sound of the world's smallest OBOE [1A: Double-reed woodwind] playing just for this puzzle.

Signed, Jonathan Gibson, hyperbass flute of CrossWorld