Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Wednesday's New York Times puzzle solved: March 7, 2018

My time: 8:51, which is pretty good for me.

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In this puzzle, a whole team of contributors -- Natan Last, Andy Kravis, and the Jewish Association Serving the Aging Crossword Class -- focus on PARALLEL PARKING ("driving test challenge") by hiding two types of cars in the Across fill, one directly over the other.  In CLAUDIUS, an Audi lines up neatly with the Ford hidden in UP FOR DISCUSSION.  Next there's DOMINI, as in anno domini, hiding a Mini, which lines up with a foreign-made Opel hiding directly below in IT'S HOPELESS.   And CHRIS MARTIN, appropriately enough, drives a Smart car, parked parallel to the Honda in TV creator SHONDA Rhimes underneath.

Shinzō ABE is the 57th Prime Minister of Japan, serving in that capacity since 2012.

"Controversial food preservative" BHT is a derivative of phenol which is also used to prevent oxidization in fuel oil.  Wikipedia says, "The FDA classifies BHT as generally recognized as safe as a food preservative... There is, however, some debate surrounding a possible link between BHT and cancer risk, asthma, and behavioral issues in children."

The New Orleans Baby Cakes are an AAA (that is, the highest level of play in the minor league) baseball team and affiliate of the Miami Marlins.  Also, they have the silliest name and mascot ever.

Actress Melissa LEO won an Emmy for her role on "Louie" and an Oscar for her role in The Fighter.  She is also known for roles in "All My Children" and "Homicide."

A TENPENNY nail is one that is three inches in length.  I like that "nail" is also used as a clue in this puzzle for ACE and NAB.

I have never heard of, or don't remember, LUCRETIA Mott.  She was an abolitionist, feminist, Quaker, and social reformer who lived 1793-1880.

I had a lot of trouble with "refrain syllables" SHA LA LA.  I wanted, of course, to put *TRA LA LA, and that ate up a bit of time.  Similarly, I had *DUADS for "couples" when it's DYADS.

The COSINE is the measure of the angle on the adjacent side of a right angle.  Its reciprocal is the secant.  That is, one over the cosine is the secant.

"Trident-shaped letters" also puzzled me.  I was like, Ws?  It's PSIS, which is written as Ψ or ψ. 

The Carolina WREN is the state bird of South Carolina.

OTOE has appeared several times in puzzles I've done.  Here they're "early tribe met by Lewis and Clark."

Did you know George Gershwin's "Summertime" is an ARIA? According to Wikipedia, the term aria is "used almost exclusively to describe a self-contained piece for one voice, with or without instrumental or orchestral accompaniment, normally part of a larger work."  So... a song?

Clever clues: "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid" is ALIASES.  "Cozy places?" is TEAROOMS.  "Hit 100, say" is SPED (I thought it might be some sports stat). 

And that's it.  I'm on TRAC for doing better NEXT time.

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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"...