Saturday, November 25, 2017

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Today's time:  33:53.

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This is my 100th post!

Kevin G. Der constructed this themeless, which had a lot of new material for me.  I think this was tough even for a Thursday, but I quite enjoyed it anyway.  Somehow it was a difficult yet satisfying challenge rather than a cursed slog.  Who can say why?  Anyway, as I say, lots of new concepts to me today, plus the usual vague cluing that makes you try two or three answers before stumbling upon the right one, like a drunk finally making his way to his own door. 

For "places for drivers to get around," I tried to out-clever the constructor and wanted the drivers to be golf clubs, so tried to make "golf bags" fit.  Then I saw it was literal, but I put *FAST LANES.  It's LEFT LANES, because that's where you "get around" slow drivers.

Likewise, "baseball cards, campaign buttons and such" seemed to be collectibles, but it's AMERICANA.

"Triangular body parts" is SACRA, plural of sacrum, the triangular bone at the base of the spine flanked by the hips.

For "animal known to chase its tail" I wanted to put *TIGER, apparently thinking of the story of Sambo or the expression "catch a tiger by the tail" (??) but it's OTTER.

It's CALDER CUP, again!  We last saw it way, waaayyy back last Thursday.  Today we learn that it's named for the first president of the NHL, the iron dictator Frank Calder.

That classist hypocrite Henry Thoreau apparently wrote a series of travel essays published in 1964 as "The Maine Woods."  In those days they were still a "wild and grim" land.

William Hatfield, called Devil ANSE Hatfield, was patriarch of the Hatfield clan of Hatfield/McCoy feud fame.  Kevin Costener portrayed him in the History Channel miniseries Hatfields & McCoys, and won both a Golden Globe and an Emmy.

Cavalleria Rusticana is an 1890 opera in one act by Pietro Mascagni.  It's about a village lad, Turiddu, who finds that the carter ALFIO has married his fiancée while he was away.  And to ask for the name of the baritone role of this obscure opera is pretty abstruse even for a Saturday.

"Portraitist with a Baltimore museum named after him" is Charles Willson Peale, a painter of figures of the American Revolution, as well as the typical soldier, scientist, inventor, and naturalist of the Renaissance men of the time.  The Peale Museum is actually officially known as The Municipal Museum of the City of Baltimore, so this clue is wrong, ha!

I couldn't remember the Nissan SENTRA.  I mixed it up with the Hyndai Elantra.

"Ready to attack, say" vexed me.  I put *STEP AT, then *SNAP AT, but it's SORE AT.  I'm not sure being sore at someone means you're ready to attack them.

Did you know that William of Ockham (aka OCCAM) was known for scholastic philosophy?  Me neither. Wiki says: "Scholasticism is not so much a philosophy or a theology as a method of learning, as it places a strong emphasis on dialectical reasoning to extend knowledge by inference and to resolve contradictions."

"Super, slangily" is SOCKO?!  Uh, sure thing, Daddy-o.  That's the cat's pyjamas, like, the latest, man.

TREN is Spanish for train.  If only I knew Spanish.

I knew "Producer of loose leaf notes" was a tea joke right off, but I didn't know what kind.  I tried *TEA READER, as in a fortune teller, and then *TEA TESTER, but it's TEA TASTER.

LA SCALA is an opera house in Milan, Italy.  Apparently, it faces the Piazza della Scala, at the center of which is a statue of Leonardo Da Vinci, by Pietro Magni.

"Picks for a case" made me think of guitar picks in a guitar case, but it's literal, again, and it's EMPANELS.

The NAACP apparently publishes a magazine called The Crisis.  It was founded by W.E.B. DuBois.

The world's largest jalapeno festival is apparently held in LAREDO, Texas.

I have never heard of the drink SOMBRERO, a simple mix of Kahlua and cream (or milk) over ice, but it sounds... okay?  Maybe a little redundant.

"Contemporary of Saint-Saëns," as in Camille Saint-Saëns, the French composer of Danse macabre and the Carnival of Animals, is Édouard LALO, French composer of Symphonie espagnole.

Never heard of a PAMPAS CAT, found in South America and named for the pampas, of course. They're related to the colocolo.

Al HIRT had a 1963 album called Honey in the Horn.  Its single "Java" hit #4 on the Billboard charts.

"HASTA Siempre" is a 1965 song about Che Guevara.

Another South American animal new to me: PACA, a small herbivorous rodent.  He's so cute!

Clever clues: "Chow line?" is LEASH.  "Entertainers for whom lines quickly form" is SLAM POETS, nice.  "Check on the passing of bills?" is CASH AUDIT, and that took a great deal of time.  "Opportunity for people to act badly?" is B MOVIE.

Whew!  Is this the longest MNYTPT post ever?  It SHORE seems like it.

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