NYT Mini for Friday, February 5, 2016

Constructor: Joel Fagliano

Relative Difficulty: Medium

Theme: None

Word of the Day: LATKE

Latkes (לאַטקע) are potato pancakes that Ashkenazi Jews have prepared as part of the Hanukkah festival[11] since the mid-1800s.,[12] but the connection actually goes back to at least the Middle Ages.[13]

Latkes need not necessarily be made from potatoes. Prior to the introduction of the potato to the Old World, latkes were, and in some places still are, made from a variety of other vegetables, cheeses, legumes, or starches, depending on the available local ingredients and foods of the various places where Jews lived.[14] Numerous modern recipes call for the addition of ingredients such as onions and carrots.[15][16]

The word latke itself is derived (via Yiddish) from the Russian/Ukrainian word латка or Polish łatka, meaning "patch." The word leviva (לביבה), the Hebrew name for latke, refers in the Book of Samuel to a dumpling made from kneaded dough, as part of the story of Amnon and Tamar.[17] Some interpreters have noted that the homonym levav (לבב) means "heart," and the verbal form of l-v-v occurs in the Song of Songs as well. In the lexicon of Ashkenazi Jews from Udmurtia and Tatarstan there are recorded versions of the kosher-style appellation of latkes (draniki, dranki, krezliki, kremzliki, kakorki, etc.) during the eight-day Hanukkah holiday.[18] (Wikipedia)

Another day, another BLOG [4D: Jezebel, for one]. I think this puzzle is mostly deserving of "OKAYS", to phrase it awkwardly [7A: Gives approval for], unless you count the answer OKAYS, I suppose. Not the most legitimate of plurals, that. But I'm not going to RAKE this puzzle over anything, coals or otherwise, just for that one bad answer [5D: ____ over the coals]. I mean, those coals have done enough for us; they don't need us constantly raking things over them all the time, you know?

In TOTAL, there really isn't much to say about this one [1D: Final Tally]. It's solid effort, but it feels a little bland and uninspired, much like a LATKE with nothing on it [6A: Potato pancake]. Not bad, just a little off somehow. I appreciate the topical offering of TIE [1A: Result of Sanders/Clinton in Iowa, effectively]. Not sure if there was something wrong with my browser or a typo, but it was printed as "Sanders/Clinto" on my screen. Don't know what that's about, but I for one welcome our new overlord, President Clin-To, anyway.


  • INKY [2D: Black as night] — Nope, I'm pretty sure INKY is cyan. Boy, I sure hope somebody was fired over this one!
  • EXES [3D: Awkward people to run into on the street] — This is particularly true when you are underinsured.
  • BRONX [4A: Northernmost borough of New York City] — I am pretty sure it is actually spelled "D'Bronx."
  • GEL [8A: Do stuff?] — As in, "I gotta wrap up this blog post so I can go gel."

Signed, Jonathan Gibson, Clyde of CrossWorld