NYT Mini for Friday, March 4, 2016

Constructor: Joel Fagliano

Relative Difficulty: Medium

Theme: None

Word of the Day: KONA

Kona is the name of a moku or district on the Big Island of Hawaiʻi in the State of Hawaii. In the current system of administration of Hawaii County, the moku of Kona is divided into North Kona District (Kona ‘Akau) and South Kona District (Kona Hema). The term "Kona" is sometimes used to refer to its largest town, Kailua-Kona. Other towns in Kona include Kealakekua, Keauhou, Holualoa, Hōnaunau and Honalo.

In the Hawaiian language, kona means leeward or dry side of the island, as opposed to ko‘olau which means windward or the wet side of the island. In the times of Ancient Hawaiʻi, Kona was the name of the leeward district on each major island. In Hawai‘i, the Pacific anticyclone provides moist prevailing northeasterly winds to the Hawaiian islands, resulting in rain when the winds contact the windward landmass of the islands - the winds subsequently lose their moisture and travel on to the leeward (or kona) side of the island. When this pattern reverses, it can produce a Kona storm from the west. Kona has cognates with the same meaning in other Polynesian languages. In Tongan, the equivalent cognate would be tonga; for windward, the associated cognate would be tokelau. (Wikipedia)

Meh. This is pretty dull. Let's get into it, shall we?

  • JACK [1A: Headphones part] — I always thought the jack was the thing the headphones plug into, but apparently this is not the case. Maybe that part should be called a headphone jill. #smallelectricshumor
  • SIDE A [7A: Most-played half of a 45 record] — I had A SIDE. Having worked in the record industry I think that's the more elegant/in-the-language term, but I'm not complaining. Except on this blog.
  • JULIA [1D: Child's first name?] — Good! Nice wordplay. This is how you make a boring answer interesting.
  • ACIDS [ 2D: Litmus paper reddeners] — You know it's gonna be this or BASES, but unless you remember more from 7th grade chemistry class than I do, it's a toss up as to which one. ACIDS is probably slightly more likely given letter frequencies. Anyway, classic reddener.
  • CHEEK [3D: Pinchable part of the face] — Pretty sure that the ENTIRE human face is, in point of fact, pinchable.
  • MUCHO [5A: A lot, Mexico] — You know what this clue doesn't have a lot of? Effort. Like, probably the least of anything in this puzzle.
  • TASK [8A: Job] — I stand corrected.
  • MAST [5D: Sail supporter on a ship] — Zzzzz....
  • ALIEN [6A: Outer space creature] — No cross-reference with the Mexico clue above? Eh, probably for the best.
  • KONA [4D: Hawaiian region known for its coffee] — Ok, great. Can I have some now?

Signed, Jonathan Gibson, B Side of CrossWorld