Saturday, January 20, 2018

Saturday's New York Times puzzle solved: January 20, 2018

My time: 26:40, which is less than average but hardly great.

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I couldn't finish Friday's puzzle.  I got about 80% through but hit a wall.

Alex Vratsanos created today's round puzzle with an almost-X in the center (it kind of looks like a sand dollar), which I thought might have some kind of X in the middle theme but no, it's themeless.

This puzzle has a lot of very long and seldom-seen fill: BOOPADOOP, SEND A LETTER, BIG TICKET ITEM ("one taking a lot of credit, maybe?"), MAJORITY RULES, HOME THEATER, BOSTON CREAM, RELEASE WAIVER, YES MASTER, MARIONETTES, and TEXAS-SIZE.  It's not flashy, but making that fill work is admirably clever by itself.

For "spot for Spot" I put *RUG but it's LAP.

"Pomeriggio follower" is SERAPomeriggio is afternoon in Italian, and sera is evening.  That befuddled me, because I don't parliano the Italio.

Tony ANSELMO has been the voice of Donald Duck since 1985.  He followed Clarence Nash, who personally trained him in the nuances of the voice.

Continuing the Italian theme, Pasquale AMATO was an Italian baritone who sang at the Metropolitan Opera from 1908 to 1921. 

"Untouched" is an oblique clue for in SITU.  In medicine, in situ means in its normal place, or confined to a place, but there is a consequent meaning of being without invasion from other tissues.

"Its player may have a yen for gambling" indicates we're looking for a Japanese gambling game.  I got the answer, PACHINKO, by crossfill; I haven't heard of it.  It's a machine somewhat like vertical pinball, with steel balls falling down among pins to land into a hoped-for cup at the bottom.

Being of college age in the '90s, I have heard of SISTER SOULJAH, but I wouldn't have a clue that her real name is Lisa Williamson.

PELLA is a company that makes high-end windows and patio doors.  Never heard of it.

BMI is one of the three giant song royalty-collecting agencies, along with ASCAP and its European cousin SESAC.

For "turn on the ice," I had *AXEL but it's LUTZ.

Clever clues: "Sly remarks" is YOS, ha!  "Things that cover all the bases" is ALKALIS.  "Maker of thousands of cars annually" is OTIS.  "Files away?' is DELETES.  "Changers of locks" is HAIR DYES.  "Gray head?" is LEE.

This puzzle didn't have a lot of new stuff to me, as this short entry shows, but figuring out those long, unusual answers took a while!  Challenging but not an annoying slog.  I liked it!

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Sunday's New York Times crossword puzzle solved: August 9, 2020

                              My time: 19:28 , not too shabby for a Sunday! Theme: SHIPSHAPE, as shown when you connect the "dots"...