NYT MINI FOR THURSDAY, MARCH 18, 2016

Constructor: Joel Fagliano

Relative Difficulty: Medium-Challenging

Theme: None

Word of the Day: VOILA

1739, French voilà, imperative of voir "to see, to view" (from Latin videre "to see;" see vision) + la "there" (from Latin ille "yonder"). (Etymonline.com)


Uh, not so much. There is just too much junk here. First and foremost are the awful awful fill-in-the-blank clues. If I was Will, I would impose an immediate and irreversible ban on fill-in-the-blank clues in the mini. Think about it this way: We've got two of them in this puzzle, which has ten entries altogether. That's ten percent. For context, a regular monday puzzle typically has around 78 words. Ten percent of that is eight. Now, if you were doing a regular puzzle and you came across EIGHT fill-in-the-blank clues, you would question your entire life up to that point, as well as (quite rightly) the very existence of language. Why are we engaged in this daily drama of dialectical duel-ism, if this sort of tripe be our reward? Baffling.

Of course, I TOUT is by far the worse of the two; I mean who ever actually announces that they are touting something, right? I usually just get on with the actual touting itself. Ugh, okay, fine, it's actually IT OUT [6A: "Cut ____" ("Stop that")]. Fuck, that parenthetical explanation is like the condescending cherry on top of the shit sundae that is this clue, isn't it? It might as well come right out and say "hi there solver; just so you know I think you're totally incompetent and can't figure anything out for yourself, so I'm going to hold your hand for you, ok?"

Then again, VIDA [5D: "Livin' la ____ loca"] is still pretty bad. Ouch, I mean, wow, not just a partial, but a foreign partial. This clue basically assumes the only way you're going to figure out what is, let's face it, a pretty commonly known Spanish word is by referencing a totally dumbass song that everybody hates by the asshole that broke Soul Coughing with another dumb shitty song that sucks. That's nauseating on so many levels, but the level I remember most vividly is the one that Oh My God Ricky Martin is awful.

I'm not going to bother figuring out how to print the clue for 3-Down, but it's definitely a problem that needs addressing, so let's do it. The answer is CLUBS. The clue consists of one (1) club symbol. Yes, it's MULTIPLE CLUBS clued specifically as exactly ONE CLUB. What. The. Actual. Fuck. I'm generally of the opinion that you can keep your cutesy goddamn single-character clues to yourself anyway (though VERY rarely I'll encounter one that's actually clever), but if you can't even do it in a coherent way then... Well God, Jed, I don't even want to know you.

I like AIOLI, but it's mostly because, well, I like aioli [2D: Garlicky sauce]. Definitely in my top 20 or so All-Time Favorite Sauces. I wonder if 'garlicky' isn't a trifle imprecise though since, as aioli purists will tell you, garlic is really the only spice that should in technically be in there. Thus simply "garlic sauce" would be enough. Save the Y's; they're our most precious natural resource!

Signed, Jonathan Gibson, stone thrown from the void of CrossWorld