NYT Mini for Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Constructor: Joel Fagliano

Relative Difficulty: Medium

Theme: None

Word of the Day: PIXAR

Pixar Animation Studios, or simply Pixar (/ˈpɪksɑːr/), is an American computer animation film studio based in Emeryville, California. The studio is best known for its CGI-animated feature films created with RenderMan, its own implementation of the industry-standard RenderMan image-rendering application programming interface used to generate high-quality images. Pixar began in 1979 as the Graphics Group, part of the computer division of Lucasfilm before its spin-out as a corporation in 1986 with funding by Apple Inc. co-founder Steve Jobs, who became its majority shareholder.[1] The Walt Disney Company bought Pixar in 2006 at a valuation of $7.4 billion, a transaction that resulted in Jobs becoming Disney's largest single shareholder at the time. Luxo Jr., a character from a 1986 Pixar short film of the same name, is the mascot for the studio. (Wikipedia)

Well this isn't all bad. Style points for no black squares. I learned a couple things I'll probably forget ten minutes from now too. Nothing terribly exciting here, but the workmanship is mostly pretty clean, so no harm no foul.

MANSE is one of those words that keeps showing up in crosswords that I never seem to be able to remember  [9A: Minister's home] . I'm sure today will be no different. I think it's because it looks like a lot of other church-related words like 'apse'. The other answer I didn't know was ACCRA [7A: Capital of Ghana], which.... come on, it's Ghana! I really really really hope that there's some weirdo NYT digital subscriber living in ACCRA who does the daily crossword that opened up today's puzzle and was like, "YES, I got this!", but I kind of doubt it.

One dumb place I got hung up today was EARLS, which I thought was supposed to be singular—I misread the clue [4D: Noblemen ranking above viscounts]. I swear, nine times out of ten I get stuck on a mini puzzle for any real length of time, it's because I misread a clue. And the weird thing is I can read that same clue a dozen times and not notice my mistake. It's a tough world, but this is the life I've chosen.

The rest:

  • SPASM [1D: Kind of a jerk]. — Nice clue.
  • SCOLD [8A: Chastise] — Had SCO__ and wrote in SCORN for some reason, which is not totally ridiculous. That cost me some time as well.
  • WICCA [2D: Pagan nature religion] — Very nearly the word of the day, but it was obviously necessary that it be supplanted by
  • PIXAR [6A: "Toy Story" studio] — I would have preferred an Inside Out reference, but this is the world we live in.

Signed, Jonathan Gibson, ignobleman  of CrossWorld