My time: 5:01.
An easy Monday by Trenton Charlson, with the themed clues being letter groups that mean various things:
"A B C D E F G" is MUSIC NOTES, "G R X" is MOVIE RATINGS, and (the least guessable without knowing the theme) "B C F H I K N O P S U V W Y" is CHEMICAL SYMBOLS.
I'm not a big fan of some of the cluing, because a lot of it just straightforward definitions: "Salmon or sole" for FISH, "French affirmative" for OUI, "stops" for CEASES, "rough on the eyes or ears" for HARSH. I enjoy more oblique, fun clues such as (for the latter) "what an uptight square might do to a hippie's mellow" or "like a crow's song."
Paul ANKA sang "Eso Beso," which has got a good beat and you can dance to it.
Hey! It's my pal ALONSO, the King of Naples in "The Tempest," again! Good ol' crossword regular Alonso.
"Gas company famous for its toy trucks" was utterly unknown to me, and I got HESS entirely from crossfill. You will happy to know that they "explore material deepwater plays in proven and emerging areas" and "maximize value through production and development excellence." I'd like to shake that writer's hand. It takes skill to say so little with so many words.
"Prefix with conscious or freak" is ECO? Eco-freak? Sounds like something a Hess corporation executive would say.
AUDI. "Truth in Engineering."
BALI is an island and province of Indonesia. Nickname: The Island of Gods.
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 ...