My time: 7:26, another new record! It's been quite a week.
I don't really understand the theme today. Some clues have numbers in square brackets after them, which I finally realized meant that number of the alphabet, followed by its next letter. So "things in jewel cases " is CDS, and "creator of Hogwarts " is J.K. ROWLING. But why? And why hint just the first letter? Why not [3,4] for CDS? What's the point of it all, really? There's not even a theme-connecting word like *ABCEDARY or something.
Anyhoo. I lucked out on the speed with my familiarity with these particular clues: ANJOU for "pear variety," FENWAY for "Green Monster's ballpark," SWAMIS, Paul KLEE, ENOL for "hydroxyl group compound," STU Sutcliffe, WIM Wenders, etc. It was an embarrassment of riches, if riches were things I have heard of before.
I've never heard of "bay rum," but I know witch hazel is AFTERSHAVE.
For "gloomy" I put *GLUM, but it was the better word DOUR.
SUVA is the capital of FIJI, which I'm not sure I could have answered given just a blank, but I solved it with crossfill. In fact, I'm not sure I even looked at that clue.
I had heard, but has since forgotten, that UGLIs were named for their lumpy appearance. That is an interesting bit of trivia.
I spelled Bausch & LOMB as Bausch & *LAUM at first. (Why is their official web address bausch.com?? Are they trying to freeze poor Lomb out? What will happen to Mrs. Lomb and all the poor little Lomblets??)
Paula ZAHN is another in a recent line of crossword news anchors (Erin Burnett, Ana Cabrera) whose names do not spring readily to mind. Maybe I should watch more TV.
My time: 6:43 . -- Benjamin Kramer serves us up an ace of a puzzle with this VOLLEYBALL-loving grid. The themed answers LIP SERVICE, th...
My time: 11:43 . -- Today we are treated to a themeless by Sam Ezersky. It's nothing jaw-dropping, but it's a solid Saturday. ...
My time: 17:47 , just one minute too slow for the record! -- Ross Trudeau collected a series of cryptids from divers geographical areas ...