Thursday, February 1, 2018

Thursday's New York Times puzzle solved: February 1, 2018

My time: 12:05, pretty close to my record!

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Damon Gulczynski plays with initials in this challenging Thursday.  "At the start" is the pun clue; it's INITIALLY, which is also how you have to read the first two letters of the themed clues (with the rest read normally).

So "Roman of Hollywood" is actually to be read as "R.O. man of Hollywood," and it's RYAN O'NEAL.  "Legal acting in a 1980's prime-time soap opera" is actually "L.E. gal acting," and it's LINDA EVANS, who played Krystle Carrington in "Dynasty."  "Malady of French history" is to be read as M.A. lady," and that's MARIE ANTOINETTE.  Finally, "regent of film criticism" is meant to be read as "R.E. of film criticism," and who could that be but ROGER EBERT?

I'm not sure I've heard ICES to mean "clinches," as in "makes certain."  But here it is, from dictionary.com: "Slang. to settle or seal; make sure of, as by signing a contract: We'll ice the deal tomorrow."

Similarly, I had a hard time thinking of "pretend" as LET ON.  I nearly always use that phrase to mean "reveal, divulge."  But Oxford dictionaries points out the mostly British use: "they all let on they didn't hear me."

Yet another expression I am not too familiar with: LACE into, for castigate.

I've heard of Roger "Rocket" CLEMENS, but I didn't know he was a seven-time Cy Young award winner.  He pitched the third-most strikeouts of all time.

I also know of the operating system UNIX, but I didn't know it was developed at Bell Laboratories.  It was created around 1970, as a sort of rogue project since AT&T decided they didn't want anything to do with operating systems after their 1969 attempt, Multics, didn't go anywhere.  It was created by Ken Thompson and Dennis Ritchie, among other Bell colleagues.  "The name Unix stems from a joke one of Thompson’s colleagues made: Because the new operating system supported only one user (Thompson), he saw it as an emasculated version of Multics and dubbed it “Un-multiplexed Information and Computing Service,” or Unics. The name later morphed into Unix."

I enjoyed the AUTO/OTTO cross.

Did you know an the home of an OTTER is called a holt?  Me neither.  It means a wooded hill or corpse, but it also means an animal home, especially for an otter.  This meaning is chiefly British.

On November 13, 2017, I mentioned James AGEE, who won a Pulitzer for his autobiographical novel A Death in the Family, but I failed to note that the award was posthumous.

John ROLFE "of colonial Jamestown," who married Pocahontas, appeared September 9, 2017.

Clever clues: "One joining a union?" is BRIDE. "Digital communication, for short?" is ASL.

Not very much new to me, for a Thursday, but the theme eluded me for quite some time, so no record for me today.

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Saturday's New York Times crossword puzzle solved: August 8, 2020

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