My time: 26:01.
Today, Jeff Chen serves us up a pleasant-enough puzzle that features a theme without a reason to exist. The clued entries have circled words-within-words and the results are clued literally, as some cryptic crossword clues are. For example, "lists about a port in the Black Sea" is ROYAL TASTERS. See the YALTA part? And the rosters? That's the gimmick, even though the embedded words have nothing to do with the whole words they make up, or each other. Another one: "flourishes around monsoon events." That's BRAIN SURGEONS, or burgeons around RAINS. Last example: "fear among underground workers" is MIND READERS. DREAD in miners! Um, why, though?
I'm a cryptic crossword fan from years and years back, but this theme has no purpose. It's clever, but not fun. At least the clues in a real cryptic include the final answer hint in a fun way. This, of course, doesn't.
"Jazzy Anita" is Anita O'DAY, last seen October 14 as "the Jezebel of Jazz."
Laura INNES is an actor best known for her role as the boss doctor in "ER."
I was slowed by a misreading of "Style of Radio City Music Hall, informally." I thought it referred to the style of music played there, but it's [Art] DECO, for the architecture.
I've heard of Sonja HENIE, figure skater prominent in the 1920s and '30s, but wasn't sure how to spell her name. That's one to memorize because I'm sure it's common fill. Apparently she was a film star as well.
SAL ammoniac is something I know nothing about. It's used as a soldering compound in stained-glass windows, apparently. I guessed it from my knowledge of language, because it certainly wasn't my non-existent grasp on chemistry.
Carne ASADA simply means "grilled meat." Those are good tacos.
I got SAN Dimas because of course it's San, but is this a well-known town?
For "ranger's wear" I kept thinking of Texas Rangers but it's like the Army Rangers who wear BERETS.
John CHO of the Harold & Kumar films also does a damn fine job as Sulu in the Star Trek reboot.
Have I heard of SETH Curry? Maybe, because he plays for Dallas. Does his name come trippingly unbidden to my tongue? No.
I'm not sure about YOYO for "kook."
Hey, it's BRITCOM again! I knew that immediately because of its November 23 appearance.
I remember when MYST came out! It befuddled me utterly. I never played its successor Riven.
"Song with verses by four or more rappers." POSSE CUT. Is this a thing?? Yes. yes, it is.
Sure is a lot of yoga in the puzzle lately. HATHA YOGA is a branch of yoga that emphasizes physical exercises to master the body along with mind. The word hatha means "force" in Sanskrit.
VETCH is a towering plant that climbs. It is in the legume family. It is largely considered a weed.
Did you know Benghazi is in Libya, and a native of Beghazi is LIBYAN? You should. And also her emails!
Phylicia RASHAD was in Creed and "Empire" as well as "The Cosby Show," and also that's how she spells her name.
Looks, it's the Fighting ILLINI yet again! They sure appear a lot.
Totally new to me department: "Another name for Dido" is ELISSA. Apparently this is her Phoenician name. Yet another blow to my much-vaunted mythology prowess.
"Award won by 'The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time'" is BEST PLAY. That's because it was made into a play, based on the novel, by Simon Stephens in 2012. Now that's devious cluing. Anyway, it won a Tony.
Costa Ricans are apparently known colloquially as TICOS.
Clever and fun clues: "the dark side" is YIN. "Heaters" is GATS. "Lush" is DIPSO. "Does his name ring a bell?" is IVAN PAVLOV.
That was tough. HEW agrees? I HEAR YA.
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 ...