Today's time: 11:44.
It's an early Christmas courtesy of Andrew Kingsley! This puzzle features not one CANDY CANE but four: candy cane-shaped arcs of circled squares that spell out the names of candy brands: POP ROCKS, AIR HEADS (running backwards and south in the NE corner), BIT-O-HONEY, and STARBURST (running backwards and south in the SE corner). To make this kind of puzzle where extra words are formed within the usual crossfill is, to me, just jaw-droppingly clever. Hats off! Kudos! And so on.
Clever, and deuced difficult for a Tuesday.
ALDO Gucci is not the company's founder; he's the son of the repetitively-named Guccio Gucci.
Apparently ERNIE / ELS won the British open in 2015. I had the idea that he was an old-timer who was possibly dead, but no, he was born in 1969. His nickname is "The Big Easy."
According to the puzzle, the words banjo and gumbo came from the BANTU language group (of which Swahili is the most widely spoken), which surprised me, as I was guessing it would be some Amerind language. According to the etymology dictionary, banjo is a maybe, and gumbo is a probably.
I did not know UGGS came from Australia. That is, the item and the word come from Australia, but the brand does not. Uggs the brand of uggs comes from California.
The non-standard spelling of "Lorelei" in LORELAI Gilmore slowed me down.
Baden-baden is a SPA as well as a concentration camp?
"Vermeer and Rembrandt contemporary" is Jan STEEN, a Dutch realist whose work has a lot of energy and humor.
"Archeological handle" is super tricky for a Tuesday! What is ANSA? It's Latin for handle! Come on. Who knows that besides Latin scholars? And then to clue it in that punny way. Tough!
The Disney film TANGLED was the most expensive animated film ever made. But why? Deleted scenes, rewrites, and that hair!
Another thing you have to know if you're going to be a crossword maven is various currencies. LEU, the Romanian currency. It's subdivided into 100 bani.
For "potful for Winnie-the-Pooh" I put *HUNNY since that's the way it's spelled in the books, but it's HONEY, probably so it can fit in BIT-O-HONEY.
The tuber OCA is a South American plant also known as uqa and New Zealand yam for some reason.
Clever clues: "I'm not buying it!" is RENTAL. "Put an end to something?" is SIT. "Number for a surgeon?" is GAS. "Succumb to pressure?" is BURST.
Whew! Clever puzzle, fun clues, unusually hard! Some of DEM clues made me say SOS!
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