NYT Mini for Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Constructor: Joel Fagliano

Relative Difficulty: Medium

Theme: None

Word of the Day: SCANT

adjectivescanter, scantest.

  1. barely sufficient in amount or quantity; not abundant; almost inadequate:
    to do scant justice.
     
  2. limited; meager; not large:
    a scant amount.
     
  3. barely amounting to as much as indicated:
    a scanttwo hours ; a scant cupful.
     
  4. having an inadequate or limited supply (usually followed by of):
    scant of breath

verb (used with object)

  1. to make scant; diminish.
  2. to stint the supply of; withhold.

  3. to treat slightly or inadequately.

adverb

  1. Scot. and North England Dialect. scarcely; barely;hardly.

Definition of milquetoast. So much milk and so much toast today. The toast makes me feel like I'm having a stroke, which would be more enjoyable than this puzzle. If only...

Movable dough

Movable dough

So many boring, tired answers here it's hard to pick a place to start. There SOL, which I'm pretty sick of seeing [6D: Do, re, mi, fa, ___]. Were I emperor of CrossWorld, my first edict would be a moratorium on solfege. I'm not even going to waste your time complaining about the unwarranted scalar teleology assumed by this clue, or go off on a tangential rant about the relative merits of fixed vs. movable do. No, I'm going to assume you can fill all that in yourself. OMNI is a prefix, and I have nothing else to say about it [5A: Prefix with potent or present]. It's clawed its way into so many otherwise good crossword grids I'm starting to think of it as all-powerful and always around. On the other side of things we have OHIO [7A: John Kasich's home state], which is doing its darndest to appear like a topical answer (hint: it's not).

Really SEALED the deal there, people

Really SEALED the deal there, people

I wonder if SOCHI will remain a city Americans know by name a few years from now, after those particular olympic games are forgotten [1D: Russian city that hosted the 2014 Winter Olympics]? I kinda think not. They certainly won't know it for the SEAL sighting, since seals haven't been spotted in the Black Sea since 1997 (according to the source of all human knowledge), because people. Way to screw shit up, people. You're really starting to ANNOY me, unlike this wonderful wonderful puzzle [3D: Irritate].

Lit Chick

Lit Chick

The one answer I do kinda like is LIT [4D: Word after English or chick]. Moderately humorous disparity of contexts there; one is casual but classy, the other disparaging and snarky. Plus 'chick lit' is at least comparatively contemporary for this puzzle (thought to have first been used in the 80s). It's in a weird class of terms I wouldn't feel totally ok using unironically in conversation but still feels fresh and snappy in a crossword.

Signed, Jonathan Gibson, pharisee of CrossWorld