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In the New York Times,

An adjacent lounge, called Collage, looks like a modern airport bistro. It serves breakfast by day (a continental spread of sweaty pastries), and drinks and bar food by night.

Does sweaty pastries sound correct to you? Could it be a typo for sweet pastries?

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2 Answers

up vote 6 down vote accepted

Pastries get "sweaty" when the grease in them congeals on the outer surface, giving them the appearance of sweat. The pastries are probably sweet, but I don't think this is a typo, I've seen pastries described as "sweaty" before, usually when they get old or if they are very greasy. These are probably not very good pastries.

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Depends on how good they were!

Sweet pastries would be nice, sweaty pastries mean they have been sitting there on the counter in hot humid conditions for a couple of days and are less than pleasant.

But my guess since the rest of review is positive that it was a spellchecker gotcha

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Agreed, it’s not a common usage — I would definitely do a double-take at it, and in a different context, I might well assume it was a typo. But the NYT is usually pretty well-edited, its writers often enjoy being playful with language, and in that paragraph they’re clearly trying to evoke a pretty sketchy atmosphere; so I’d guess it’s deliberate, not a typo. –  PLL Aug 8 '11 at 22:12
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