Constructor: Joel Fagliano
Relative Difficulty: Medium
Word of the Day: LATKE
Latkes (לאַטקע) are potato pancakes that Ashkenazi Jews have prepared as part of the Hanukkah festival since the mid-1800s., but the connection actually goes back to at least the Middle Ages.
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. Numerous modern recipes call for the addition of ingredients such as onions and carrots.
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. 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. (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