My time: 8:02.
Today's puzzle, by Herre Schouwerwou (!!! --- gotta love those crossword creator names), gives us ANIMAL CRACKERS. That is, circus animal names are broken up, or "cracked," between two clues, with a black space between. So we have MCGREGOR / I'LL ASK, PERSIMMON / KEYED, IN A DAZE / BRANAGH, etc. What a tasty theme!
More nutritious, however, is SAVOY cabbage, a brassica named after the Savoy region of France.
I didn't know Japan's national fruit was the PERSIMMON. The name comes from a Powhatan word meaning "a dry fruit." What a dry etymology.
Let's not forget that the English horn, like the Saxophone, is a woodwind instrument requiring a REED.
Another actress I don't know is STACEY Dash of Clueless. She played Dionne "Dee" Davenport.
SMAZE (portmanteau of smog and haze)? OH, COME ON.
Did you know KRAFT merged with Heinz in 2015? Me neither.
For "Canadian $2 coin, informally" I confidently put *LOONIE. It turns out I was misremembering; that's the one-dollar coin. The real answer is TOONIE.
POI ("Polynesian finger food") makes its appearance again.
So does LARA Logan, CBS news anchor, last seen October 11.
The D-Day vessels called LSTS stand for Landing Ship, comma, Tank. They had flat keels and could deposit troops and tanks right onto the beach without having to dock.
Clever clue: "Southern side" is PONE. "Connection between banks?" is BOAT.
And that's all; not too bad for a Wednesday. Time to STELE myself for Thursday's toughie.
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