Saturday, December 23, 2017

Saturday's puzzle solved: December 23, 2017

My time: 26:55.


Today's themeless puzzle comes by way of Matthew Sewell, and it's a doozy.  With four long, unusual fills (SEXIEST MAN ALIVE, ITALIAN-AMERICAN, CHANCE THE RAPPER, and STUDIO EXECUTIVE) at the across belts, and lots of obscure terms throughout, this puzzle kept me guessing for a good long time.  It was one of those that stays nearly blank for about the first third of the solve time, until at last one or two more pennies drop, and then it's a steady slog.

Right off, I was stymied by "bygone can opener."  I had *WING TAB (because of this kind, with "wings") for a long time, but it's RING TAB.  Ugh.

SATRAPS is a word I know, but it didn't occur to me for "provincial despots."

"In wilderness is the preservation of the world."  I figured this for a THOREAU quote, and it's from his 1862 essay "Walking."

AZT, or Zidovudine, is the antiretroviral medication used to prevent and treat AIDS.

Here's something that only a person with a Doctorate in Marmoset Diets (Ph.MarDi) knows: much of their diet is TREE SAP.

"Daring deed" is GEST, which is pretty archaic, but then it's Saturday.

I've heard of CHANCE THE RAPPER, but I don't exactly follow his career.  He won the Grammy for Best New Artist in 2016.

"Some football linemen" is RTS, which is Right Tackles.  Since I'm the American male who is the single most clueless about sports in the country, I didn't know this, which is part of the reason for the ring-wing confusion about the can opener.

Apparently NOXZEMA was once known as "The Miracle Cream of Baltimore."  Here is a great article about the rise and fall of George Bunting's miracle product.

I disagree that "Shh, something's coming!" is equivalent to I HEAR IT.  "It" implies that you know what the thing is, not an undefined "something."

"A light brownish-gray" is BUTTERNUT.  Okay then.

Köln and Nürnberg are both STADTs.  This does not mean the states that make up the country of Germany.  STADT is the German word for city; thus the umlauts and non-English spelling of Nuremberg.

I have never heard of a PAVLOVA, the berry meringue dessert.  It was created in New Zealand, according the the OED, and named after Anna Pavlova, a Russian ballerina.

I have also never heard of SPELMAN, the historically black women's college in Atlanta.

MT. EVEREST is known as Chomolungma in Tibetan.

The AINU are indigenous Japanese people.  Here is a good photo essay on them vis-a-vis the more homogeneous Japanese culture.

George Tenet is of course the ex-director of the CIA, and wrote the book At the Center of the Storm: My Years at the CIA.  He was the second-longest serving director.

ARNO was an answer on August 11, for pretty much the same clue: "It flows near the Piazzale Michelangelo."  See, here it is.

Clever clues: "Name often said before this clue's number" [45] is COLT.  "Certain aisle terminus" is ALTAR.  "Flat figures" is TENANTS.  "'She's Like the Wind' and others" is SIMILES, ha ha, gotcha, it's not *BALLADS. "Come to a boil" is SEE RED.  "Discuss thickness with a doctor?" is LISP, ugh.

Very challenging puzzle!  My slow time doesn't CUT IT!

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