Sunday, January 14, 2018

Sunday's New York Times puzzle solved: January 14, 2018

My time: 32:16.

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Joe Fagliano brings us a Sunday puzzle that is so intricate that I can't imagine how he managed to put it all together.  Playing off the phrase OBSTRUCTION OF JUSTICE, he creates six rows that hide the name of a Supreme Court justice but "obstruct" (break up) the names with black squares.  The themed answers are: DANTONI / NSC / ALIASES, WANNABE / FORT / ASIATIC, THE PEARL / WAR / RENTS TO, "TO HELEN" / AKA / GANYMEDE, ANSONIA / SOTO / MAYORAL, and HOP-STEP / HEN / BREYER'S.

I wonder which Justice's name came to him as a series of other words first?  I'm guessing Sonia Sotomayor.

Okay, let's get started glossing this monstrosity.

Mike D'ANTONI is a two-time NBA Coach of the Year.  Sure, he's great and all, but he's no Coach K.

I didn't know THE PEARL was set in La Paz, but the story of a pearl diver is inspired by a Mexican folk tale.

I've heard thin pancakes referred to as blinis, but never the singular BLIN.  But since it's from the Russian, that makes sense.

I was not familiar with ROC Nation, the record label founded by Jay-Z.  I wanted to put *DEF Nation at first.

It still doesn't look right department: IBANEZ is a Japanese brand of guitars that pioneered the seven-string and eight-string models.  It is named after Salvador Ibáñez, a 19th-century Spanish luthier.

"Where a big bowl is found" is PASADENA, California, home to the Rose Bowl, called "the granddaddy of them all" because it's the oldest football bowl game.

"Planet Money" is an economic podcast from NPR.

Edgar Allan Poe wrote "TO HELEN" in 1831 apparently in honor of a family friend.  Poe uses the Helen of Troy myth as a basis and riffs on Sappho and Samuel Taylor Coleridge to extol the comforting allure of women.

The historic Moana Hotel is on the island of OAHU.  It was the scene of a famous murder mystery:  Jane Stanford, co-founder of Sanford University, was killed there by strychnine poisoning and her killer was never discovered.

It also still doesn't look right department: ANSONIA is a city in Connecticut near New Haven.  It is known as "The Copper City" because of its history of heavy machine industry.  It is also home to a famous clock manufacturing business that went defunct and was sold to a Soviet company.

The HOP-STEP is a cute little name for a basketball move.  Land on two feet, or you'll be called for traveling!

I see we're using the spelling UEYS, and not *UIES, again.

ORIENTE is a no longer extant province of Cuba, having been broken up into five provinces after the revolution.  Its claim to fame?  The Castro brothers were born there.  And now you know... the rest of the story.

Mark Twain National Forest is 1.5 million camping and hiking acres located in the OZARKS, Missouri.  It is Missouri's only national forest.

I've never heard of OTRANTO, a coastal town in Italy in Lecce province (on the heel of the boot), famous for its castle, the Castello Aragonese, and its cathedral.  But then, why would I have heard of it?

Did you know Nancy Drew's boyfriend was named NED Nickerson?  Me neither, but that's hilarious!

"Last monarch of the House of Stuart" is ANNE, which came up December 31, 2017.

Men's fashion designer Perry ELLIS appeared September 12, 2017.

Appliance brand AMANA was last seen December 6, 2017.

Clever clues: "Worked from home?" is UMPED.  "Big-studying org." is NSA.  "What a conductor might conduct" is HEAT.  "Bit of advice before taking off?" is DIET TIP.  "Closest to base?' is EVILEST.  "Grate stuff" is ASH.

Construction-wise, this puzzle was elegant, a real BUTTE.  But it was possibly unnecessarily hard.  POOH on you, Joe Fagliano!

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