NYT Mini for Friday, April 29, 2016

Constructor: Joel Fagliano

Relative Difficulty: Medium

Theme: None

Word of the Day: FJORD

Geologically, a fjord or fiord (English pronunciation: Listeni/ˈfjɔːrd/ or Listeni/fiˈɔːrd/)[1] is a long, narrow inlet with steep sides or cliffs, created by glacial erosion.[clarification needed] There are many fjords on the coasts of Alaska, British Columbia, Chile, Greenland, Iceland, the Kerguelen Islands, New Zealand, Norway, Labrador, Nunavut, Newfoundland, and Washington state.[2] Norway's coastline is estimated at 29,000 km with fjords, but only 2500 km [≈ diameter of dwarf planet Pluto, formerly the smallest planet category of our solar system] when fjords are excluded.[3] (Wikipedia)


Oh yeah, Bill Nighy was in that.

Oh yeah, Bill Nighy was in that.

A nice, bucolic effort that I can't really say anything terrible about. Some less than ideal fill here and there—looking at you, DAP [7D: Fist bump]—but on the whole I think this is pretty much acceptable.

Wipe it off there, Lorelai!

Wipe it off there, Lorelai!

Not a huge fan of STEP [9A: Armstrong's "small" stride]. I want to like it, but the term 'stride' sort of makes it unsatisfying. I realize the intended meaning in this context is "manner of walking" rather than the more common "large step", but I still think a different word choice ('gait', perhaps?) would have made this cleaner. It's just gratingly inartful like this. I'm also not generally impressed by the ubiquitous URSA [8A: ____ Major], or by the somewhat less ubiquitous LUKE [5A: Lorelai's love on "Gilmore Girls"], but neither of those is doing much harm here.

Frame of reference

Frame of reference

EAST [1A: Right way to go?] is cute, as far as it goes. I know I'm probably supposed to complain that the clue weirdly ascribes an absolute frame of reference to the concept of right/left, but I just don't have the energy. It's fine. EAST is on the right of most maps, which is good enough to make the joke work.

I really like meaty stuff in the middle here: AU JUS is nowhere near as common as it should be [2D: Served in its natural gravy], and it is also fucking delicious. And FJORD is absolutely fantastic [6A: Result of glacial erosion]. Possibly the most satisfying five-letter word there has ever been, frankly. SKORT is, for the moment, still south (not EAST) of having overstayed its welcome in crossword-dom, so that's a net plus [3D: Hybrid piece of women's clothing].

I really ought to make these write-ups more TERSE [4D: To the point], since a lot of this stuff probably goes without

Signed, Jonathan Gibson, served in its natural skort in CrossWorld