My time: 16:16, a new record! I haven't beaten a record in a long while.
This puzzle is by Damon Gulczynski. No theme, but a great deal of delicious esoteric and novel fill: MC ESCHER, [Leon] CZOLGOSZ, CAN I GET A WITNESS, NOT VALID, SOCIAL DARWINISM, BAD APPLE, ZYDECO, RUN D.M.C., SO IT IS.... great stuff.
The answer that probably gave me the most trouble is DASHIKIS for "colorful pullovers." It's an African garment, often with a V-neck. It seems to be a trendy style choice for African Americans.
Dashikis is crossed with DAMASK, a "patterned fabric." This was an answer on October 13, clued as a reversible fabric.
Mark O'MEARA was a big PGA tour winner in the 1980s and '90s. He's in the World Gold Hall of Fame.
I did not know that the phrase "Nice guys finish last" was said about Mel OTT. I also didn't know that Leo Durocher said it. Also, I've never heard of Durocher.
Double meanings can be tricky. "Cracks" is QUIPS and not *QUITS, which I had initially. Inclines is TENDS and not *RAMPS.
HAMID Karzai was once president of Afghanistan. He started, of course, as chairman of the transitional commission after Operation Enduring Freedom. Did you know that he survived a US friendly fire missile attack? The current president is Ashraf Ghani.
"The Chosen One" of the NBA is KING JAMES, which is another nickname for the 6'8" small forard for the Cavaliers, LeBron James. Apparently he has a tattoo of "The Chosen One."
Never heard of any of it department: INI Kamoze, singer of "Here Comes the Hotstepper." What?
EMU oil is an ingredient in health care products? More like snake oil.
The Conseil d'ETAT is the French supreme court and legal adviser for the executive.
ANN is a woman's name that means "grace," from the Hebrew, apparently. Related are Anna and Hannah.
Point SUR is a state park in California where the historic 1889 Point Sur Lighthouse is located.
Clever clues: "Loss prevention association?" is MNEMONIC. "Option for people who can't handle he truth?" is DARE. "Keystone figure" is KOP. "Pole vault unit?" is ZLOTYS --- that's an extra-clever one. "Composition of some beds" is LAVA. "Miss's counterpart" is HIT (and not *SIR). "They often precede hikes" is HUTS.
Wow! I can't believe I finished that fast. That was WAC!
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 ...