Sunday, January 7, 2018

Sunday's New York Times puzzle solved: January 7, 2018

Today's time: 37:38, but I'm not sweating it because this was a complicated rebus and it had technical flaws to boot


So David Steinberg made this monstrosity, which plays with vowel pairs.  On certain answers, two clues are given.  These answers have special circled squares in which two vowels go, rebus-style, so that each answer can be read two different ways.

For example.  "Preceder of free throws / Juice container?' reads as F[O/U][U/E]LC[A/E]LL, which if read with the first vowels is FOUL CALL and if with the second vowel set is FUEL CELL.  Second and last example.  "Cookies filled with green creme / Flatfish sea creatures" reads as M[I/A]NT[O/A]R[E/A][O/Y]S which can be read as MINT OREOS or MANTA RAYS. 

So there you have it.  If I had done this puzzle on paper, I am sure my time would have been much more truncated.  First, on paper the rebus squares are divided in two, rather than just circles, so it's immediately obvious that you need to put two letters in each special square.  Second, and much more worthy of note, the damned NYT app has two answers written wrong!!  On that FOUL CALL answer, the crossfill they demand for "best at a hotdog contest" is UOTEAT.  Obviously that's supposed to be OUTEAT.  On another answer, where SPICY FOOD / SPECIFIED runs across, a down answer is supposed to be OPIOID but the app thinks it's OPIIOD.  Now that's bad editing.

And for the rest...

I can never remember Mr. Dithers' wife in "Blondie" --- *DORA, *NORA?  Nope, CORA.  Maybe because she has to be CORAgeous to deal with that apoplectic curmudgeon?

"Ristorante dessert" is TORTA.  I put *TORTE as first.  "Torta" is just Italian for cake.

I have not heard of the Richard Simmons plan DEAL-A-MEAL.  People still use it.  In this plan, you have cards allotting you an amount of food in each day and as you eat, you move the cards to the already eaten section.

For "so-called cradle of civilization" I put *INDUS, but it's SUMER.

I knew the name ELIAS Howe, but wasn't sure what he's famous for.  He is a sewing machine pioneer.  He also had an idea for a zipper but never followed through with it.  He is famous for using a shillelagh cane.

SAULT Ste. Marie is a town in Michigan.  There is also one in Canada.  I often have trouble remembering how to spell it.

We knew the Warriors were probably in the NBA, but did we know they were the Golden State Warriors?  Not if we were me we didn't.  They are affectionately called the "Dubs," ha ha.

Totally new to me department: SUBGUM, which didn't look right even after the puzzle was finished.  I've eaten a lot of Chinese food and I've never heard of it.  It's a dish of meat, or seafood, mixed with vegetables and noodles, or rice, or soup.  So, the most specific you can get about it is that it's "Asian food."

Also new to me and didn't look right: PREAMP, or preamplifier.  Its purpose is basically to clear up a noisy signal before it gets to the amplifier or speaker.

I took a class on pre-Socratic philosophers and majored in philosophy, but still couldn't remember Zeno of ELEA, proving once again that what I think I know well, I don't.  I knew he was famed for his paradoxes.  He was possibly tortured and killed by a tyrant, suggesting that philosophers shouldn't mix with politics.

IRWIN Shaw isn't a writer I'm familiar with; his star has dimmed in modern times.  He's best known for his novels The Young Lions (1948) and Rich Man, Poor Man (1970). 

Did you know Harry Potter had a girlfriend named CHO CHANG?  Me neither.  She ended up marrying a muggle.  He married Ginny Weasley.  No way!  Harrmione 4eva!!!

I remembered ETHEL Kennedy from December 16.

And got Cape ANN from its appearance on September 13, 2017.

DEV Patel sure shows up in crosswords a lot.

I'm far from a prude but am still mildly surprised to see WHAT A TOOL in a New York Times puzzle.

I'm more familiar with the meaning "large imposing house" for MANSE rather than "minister's home."

The PINEAL gland produces melatonin, which regulates sleep patterns.  It is also known as the conarium or epiphysis cerebri, but let's stick with pineal gland because those others look really hard to say. 

I was tricked with comp SCI (computer science) because my mind went to comp *LIT (comparative literature).

Wines from the Rhein country are called RHENISH, not *RHINISH.

Who doesn't love actress SAOIRSE Ronan?  Probably most crossword puzzle constructors.  I heard of her when she hosted SNL and offended her fellow Irishpeople with Aer Lingus mockery.

Read "Daddy Warbucks' bodyguard" and immediately Punjab spring to mind, but this one is THE ASP, a slight Asian man who is master of various martial arts.  He was also in the movie.

Interesting sports fact: a clue had to be changed because after print, it was no longer true that the LIONS were the only NFL team ever to go 0-16 in a season; they suddenly became only the first team to do so.  The Cleveland BROWNS recently matched them.  Additional fact: last year, the Browns were 1-15.  I bet they thought they could only go up from there, but they were wrong.
Clever clues: "Babies grow into them" is KIDS. "Sin subject?" is TRIG.  "Flare-ups in the hood?" is CAR FIRES.  "Part of a wedding that drags" is TRAIN.  "Grp. with wands" is TSA.

Ugh, good puzzle, but I wanted to STOP and go back to BED once I saw the app error.  I'm RARIN' for Monday!

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

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