Today's time: 9:58.
A medium-difficulty Wednesday by Jacob Stulberg with an extremely clever theme: THREE-RING CIRCUS filled in the middle, with three circles of boxes reading, clockwise, GLASS EATER, FIRE DANCER, and WIRE WALKER. Is "glass eater" a thing? Yes. A weird and dangerous thing.
I was fortunate enough to be familiar with a lot of this fill already:
AFL-CIO, PNIN, ERIS, ANC, Cream as a TRIO, Hermann HESSE, SELAH, etc.
I've even heard of the baseball ALOU family! However, there was also a great deal that I didn't know.
We all know CYPRESS HILL ("insane in the membrane!"), but did you know their best-known album is a triple-platinum seller called Black Sunday? Me neither.
I am the single most clueless-about-sports American male, an ongoing series:
Baseball player and manager
LEO Durocher, I also did not know. Usual Wikipedia nickname trivia: he's known as Leo the Lip!
Hideo NOMO is known as the first Japanese baseball player to make it in the American leagues, pitching for the L.A. Dodgers.
Ba is the abbreviation for BARIUM. BaSO4 is barium sulfate, used mostly as a lightening pigment.
"Very, in music" was totally unknown to me. ASSAI? It just makes me think of Maasai and assegai. "You better play very fast, or I'll poke you with this assegai!"
"Soldier from Seoul" is ROK, which is Republic of Korea Army.
"Traitorous Major ANDRE of the Revolutionary War" is John André, who was hanged in 1780. I've never heard of him! He worked for Benedict Arnold.
Ray NAGIN was the mayor of New Orleans and rose to fame for his handling of Katrina. As a Louisiana Democrat, of course, he was convicted on twenty charges of wire fraud, bribery, and money laundering related to bribes from city contractors before and after Katrina and was sentenced to ten years in federal prison.
Polaris is an F class supergiant, or as this puzzle has it, "F-STAR." I see some pages that list Polaris as "an evolved class F" or the like, but no one seems to say "F-star."
ERTE is Erté, nom d'art (made from his initials, like Hergé) of Romain de Tirtoff, fashion and theater designer. Symphony in Black is probably his most famous image.
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 ...