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.
Published May 13

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.


  1. Former Tarpon Springs police Officer Steven Bergren, seen in this 2012 picture with his K-9 partner Dobies Jr. Bergren resigned before he could be fired by the Tarpon Springs Police Department for threatening a mass shooting. Bergren said he was joking. Tampa Bay Times
    The detective said he was joking. The Tarpon Springs Police Department said it would have fired him had he not resigned.
  2. A student holds a sign while participating in a "Global Climate Strike" at the Experiential School of Greensboro in Greensboro, N.C., on Friday, Sept. 20, 2019. Across the globe, hundreds of thousands of young people took the streets Friday to demand that leaders tackle climate change in the run-up to a U.N. summit. KHADEJEH NIKOUYEH/NEWS & RECORD  |  AP
    With a coastline stretching 1,350 miles, Florida faces some of the gravest risks from rising ocean levels.
  3. Nurse Jeanine Huici carries a sign during a one-day strike outside of Palmetto General Hospital, Friday, Sept. 20, 2019, in Hialeah, Fla. Registered nurses staged a one-day strike against Tenet Health hospitals in Florida, California and Arizona on Friday, demanding higher wages and better working conditions. LYNNE SLADKY  |  AP
    About 30 nurses picketed outside Palmetto General Hospital in Hialeah, Florida, during intermittent rain Friday.
  4. Lifeguards rescue children from a minivan that their mother drove into the Atlantic on Tuesday in Daytona Beach. Ebony Wilkerson, 31, inset, a pregnant South Carolina woman who drove a minivan carrying her three young children into the ocean surf off Florida had talked about demons before leaving the house, according to a sister who worriedly called police, officials said during a news conference Wednesday.
    Volusia County Circuit Judge Raul Zambrano on Thursday allowed 38-year-old Ebony Wilkerson to leave Daytona Beach.
  5. Commander John Christensen of the cutter Seneca says the “downrange counter-drug operations are a vital component to the Coast Guard and Department of Homeland Security’s mission and our national security.” Photo from video/WPLG Local 10
    The crews patrolling in the Eastern Pacific Ocean off the coasts of Mexico and Central and South American made dozens of interdictions.
  6. An American Airlines Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft approaches Miami International Airport for landing in March. Bloomberg
    The 60-year-old veteran airline employee told investigators he was upset that union contract negotiations had stalled.
  7. The view of downtown St. Petersburg from the balcony of 180 Beach Drive, unit 1602. Tony Sica
    It’s the second home on Mandalay Point to sell in two months.
  8. Maria Otilia Rivera faces up to 35 years in prison when she's sentenced Oct. 16. Hendry County Sheriff's Office
    An investigation that began in 2017 found that Rivera sold drugs to two girls, ages 12 and 14.
  9. Police investigators say they believe the man has a history of mental of illness. Photo from video/10News WTSP
    Firefighters initially tried to climb after him, but the man just climbed higher.
  10. Statements made online that threaten physical harm, whether seriously intended or not, can have devastating consequences. The “It’s No Joke” awareness campaign seeks to educate youth and parents that even threats made online. Florida Department of Juvenile Justice/Facebook
    The arrests came after other students told deputies they’d been told they were on a “safe” list.