My time: 12:27, not too shabby.
A quite nice themeless by David Steinberg this Friday. There's some good fill here, like ETHEREAL, LOSE SLEEP OVER, BIKE STAND, ETHICAL DILEMMAS, CABLE TELEVISION, and I CAN TAKE A HINT ("possible reply to someone's tactful remark"). I was very tickled by some winking word play in the corners: SEETHING ("ready to explode") is joined with SEE THINGS ("hallucinate"); and in the southeast, BEER MONEY is joined with the somewhat similar EYE CANDY.
I'm not quite as enamored of PATNESS ("smooth talker's quality"), or the singular RAMONE ("any of four punk rock bandmates").
"Wild grp." stymied me for a bit until I realized it must be a sports team, an NHL team to be exact. I even remembered it was the Minnesota Wild.
I had no idea that a PERSIAN cat was known as a Shirazi in the Mideast, but it seemed like the obvious answer.
The answer to "dance music subgenre" was too short for techno, so I needed crossfill to put ELECTRO, which I've never heard of, being the cranky old fuddy-duddy that I am.
I wanted to put *HOC after "ad," but it's ad REM. That means "relevant to the discussion at hand," or "in a straightforward manner." Also in Latin phrases I don't have at my fingertips, ESTO perpetuum means "let it be everlasting," like a caramel.
HALFTONE is a photo technique in which an apparently solid image is printed with an arrangement of dots. Like in comic books or newspapers. It's essentially a form of optical illusion, because our brain doesn't register the white space between the dots.
For "showy ballet leap" I put *PAS DE DEUX at first, because I'm a lowbrow, uncultured buffoon. That isn't a leap at all. The right answer is ENTRECHAT, which is when a dancer jumps into the air and beats their legs by changing the position of their legs and feet to the front or back of each other. Thus the "intertwining" of the French name --- the legs look braided.
I know TREPAN as in drilling a hole in the skull to get to the delicious goo inside, but apparently it's also a tool to bore a mine shaft.
Do you know what I don't know much about, besides classical music, ballet, and sports? Cars. The Studebaker AVANTI is a luxury coupe that was produced from 1962-63. Fewer than 6000 were made in total.
University town AMES, Iowa has long been in my mental microfiche, but I didn't know it was in Story County.
ODE appears near weekly, but I had forgotten that this poem form is divided into sections, the first of which is called a strophe. This followed by the antistrophe and epode.
Because of its earlier appearance on March 15, I was not baffled by T-TOP as the answer to "Pontiac Trans Am option!"
The cassis cocktail KIR appeared on January 5.
Clever clues: "Do high-level banking?" is AVIATE. "Set off" is deliciously vague --- it's TRIP, as in an alarm. "Book of legends" is ATLAS. "Ratings org." is EPA --- that's not so much clever as nearly unfairly tricky. "One getting hit after hit?" is STONER.
That's the end of my observations and explanations. I really enjoyed this puzzle's long fill and vague cluing. And now, time to LEAVE.
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