Advertisement
  1. Florida

A ‘New York Times’ crossword clue weighed in on the Cuban sandwich war. Guess what? Tampa won.

A Sunday crossword puzzle asked for the “city famous for its Cuban sandwiches.”
A New York Times Sunday crossword named Tampa as the "city famous for its Cuban sandwiches." Times photos by Allison Graves and Scott Keeler.
A New York Times Sunday crossword named Tampa as the "city famous for its Cuban sandwiches." Times photos by Allison Graves and Scott Keeler.
Published May 13, 2019

Sunday’s New York Times crossword offered a polarizing clue for Florida readers: “City famous for its Cuban sandwiches.”

The answer for Sunday’s 1 Down contained five spaces. Both Tampa and Miami, cities that are, in fact, famous for their Cuban sandwiches, consist of five letters, making it a difficult wager.

Yet the clue for 1 Across was “whole lot," which could be substituted with the word “ton.” So a city famous for Cuban sandwiches that begins with a T? The answer becomes a whole lot (see what I did there?) clearer.

Miami and Tampa are constantly waging a war for the crown of the original and best Cuban sandwich in the state. The Cuban sandwich is considered one of the state’s most iconic foods, so it’s a war with significance. One of the Times’ own reporters, Christopher Spata, actually created National Cuban Sandwich Day in 2016. That’s August 23, for those who don’t know.

In 2012, the Tampa City Council voted the ‘historic Tampa Cuban sandwich’ as the official sandwich of the city of Tampa. That sandwich must include: Cuban bread with a leaf from a palm frond, ham, mojo roast pork, Genoa salami, Swiss cheese, yellow mustard and three dill pickle slices, but no mayonnaise, according to Times’ reporter Richard Danielson’s report.

Cuban bread from La Segunda Bakery and Café is used to make the pressed Cuban sandwiches at Tampa's new Cuban Foodies Family Restaurant. [DANIELLE HAUSER | Special to the Times]

Sen. Marco Rubio served a controversial opinion last month when he said Tampa bakery La Segunda had the best Cuban bread in the state. The Food Network named the Cuban at Tampa’s famed Columbia restaurant as the standard.

The Cuban sandwich’s roots form a large part of the debate. Ybor City native Jack Espinosa told Times columnist Sue Carlton that, when he tried to order a Cuban sandwich in 1950′s Havana, he was laughed away.

In a daily crossword column, the Times notes that it has waded into controversial territory with its crossword answer. The crossword was penned by University of Minnesota biomedical engineering professor Victor Barocas, according to The New York Times.

“I recently learned that the Cuban sandwich is really Floridian, but it turns out that there’s a real turf war for ownership between Miami and Tampa," wrote The New York Times’ Caitlin Lovinger. “We know where Professor Barocas’s allegiances lie, and he’s in the majority if you go by this NPR poll—which includes the decisive information that Tampa sends bread to Miami for its Cubanos. ‘Nuff said."

In 2012, 57 percent of NPR listeners chose Tampa over Miami as the first city for the Cuban sandwich.

And for anyone doubting our logic, the New York Times’ Crossword answers site confirms the correct response is Tampa.

Anyone else hungry? Let us know in the comments.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

  1. One excursion on Magic Kingdom’s Jungle Cruise ended prematurely Thursday when the boat took on water. [Twitter]
  2. Perched above the top floor of Daer nightclub, the 10,000-square-foot space overlooks the lagoon and the Bora Bora cabanas. [Miami Herald]
  3. Florida lawmakers are investigating why the Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence’s board of director paid its former CEO, Tiffany Carr, more than $7.5 million over three years. These photos of Carr are from 2004 (left and right) and 2009 (center.) [Tampa Bay Times]
  4. In this photo made available by the Florida Highway patrol shows confiscated drugs following the arrest of two men Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2020, Santa Rosa County, Fla. Authorities confiscated methamphetamine, cocaine and fentanyl. (Florida Highway Patrol via AP) [AP]
  5. Michael Stevens, 28, left, works to stay warm with friend Cash Holland, 21, right, outside the Boys and Girls Club of Tarpon Springs' cold night shelter on Wednesday, January 22, 2020, where the homeless men were among 28 people who took refuge from cooler weather which dipped to 36 degrees in north Pinellas County overnight. The shelter is funded through Pinellas County's Health and Human Services department and provided shelter and a hot breakfast for those who came. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD  |  TImes]
  6. Visitors take in the sun and sand at Clearwater Beach last year. Tourism officials say visits remain at record-breaking levels and have not been curtailed by coronavirus.
  7. People wearing masks walk in a subway station in Hong Kong early this month as the coronavirus continued to spread. Travel in China is one of the topics health care officials in Florida are bringing up with patients as concern about a pandemic grows. [KIN CHEUNG  |  Associated Press]
  8. A mystery billboard. A Tampa photographer's journey. A cruise to the Bahamas. Here's what leap day means to Floridians. [Clockwise from left: Times archives, Amie Santavicca and screenshot from leapdaycruise.com]
  9. One or more people have been using fake cash to buy Girl Scout cookies, leaving troops in the Bradenton area out hundreds of dollars, according to news reports. [JUAN CARLOS CHAVEZ  |  CENTRO Tampa]
  10. Guests walk down Main Street with Cinderella's Castle in the background at Magic Kingdom in Orlando in this 2019 file photo. Walt Disney World told some cast members to stay home because of their recent trip to Italy and the possibility of coronavirus infection.
  11. Kathy Stearns, owner of Dade City's Wild Things, holds a 2-week-old baby tiger after bottle feeding. [CHRIS URSO  |  Times (2015)]
  12. Taylor Parker-Dipeppe, of Spring Hill, is accused of taking part in a neo-Nazi campaign to harass and intimidate activists and journalists, including one based in Tampa. [Pinellas County Jail]
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement