My time: 24:34.
Extra E's and missing E's are the subject of today's theme, brainchild of Ross Trudeau. In the themed phrases, one E is taken away and moved elsewhere. The resulting answer is clued as read, with ostensibly humorous results. So we have STARES AND STRIPS ("makes eye contact before undressing?") from stars and stripes, FATHER IN ONE'S CAPE ("parent wearing your Superman costume?") from feather in one's cap, JETE PROPELLED PLAN ("ballet choreography?") from jet-propelled plane, HAD LESS HORSE MANE (ha!), and so on.
The theme ends with a real clunker, as LEAST BUT NOT LAST ("like the digit 0 in 2018?") does not differ a great deal from last but not least, like the other clues do; it just transposes the words rather than creating a whole new absurd scenario. I think Trudeau should have put this one on the back burner until he could find a better fit for the final themed answer.
As for the rest of the fill:
TACH ("RPM indicator" is short for tachymeter. This is a scale found around the rim of a watch that can be used to compute a speed based on travel time or measure distance based on speed.
"Party Up (Up in Here)" is a rap song by DMX. Not my cup of tea.
The Z in SEA OOZE for "ocean buildup" slowed me down, as I couldn't think what might fit in there. Who says SEA OOZE?
I know the Richard Gere movie DR. T and the Women, but want to note that this same fill appeared just yesterday.
For the three-square answer of "early Chinese dynasty" I considered Qin, Han, and Sui, but it's WEI, 4th- through 6th-century period marked by warring clans and the establishment of Buddhism. Later broken into the Eastern and Western WEI dynasties.
For "FEMA offering I wanted to put *COT but it's AID.
I've heard of one of the two actress SALLYS: Sally Field, but not Sally Hawkins. I don't believe I've ever seen her in anything.
"Iowa senator elected in 2014" is republican Joni ERNST. She is the first woman to represent Iowa in the United States Congress and the first female combat veteran elected to the United States Senate.
We've all heard of ETTA James, but we can be forgiven for not immediately associating her with her Grammy-nominated 1967 album Tell Mama.
"Kegler's org" confused the hell out of me. Who or what is Kegler? It turns out that a kegler is an old-fashioned, German-derived word for bowler, so the org. in question is the PBA.
The brightest star in Cygnus is DENEB, the tail of the swan. It's also the head of the Northern Cross. It's also part of the Summer Triangle. DENEB is a popular star! Everyone wants him to come to their party.
Italian journalist ORIANA Fallaci was a remarkable figure. She interviewed many famous people. She also warned of the Islamic invasion of Europe and wrote books critical of Islam. She had to wear a chador to interview the Ayatollah Khomeini, but during the interview took it off and then called him a "tyrant" and the chador "a stupid medieval rag." She was also shot three times by Mexican soldiers during the 1968 Tlatelolco massacre. Fascinating!
I had trouble with the rather abstruse word ALOP for "cockeyed."
Selma director AVA DuVernay last appeared January 17, and at least once before that. I don't seem to be able to remember her.
Auto repair chain MAACO came into view on September 4, 2017.
I was at a loss for "Wall St. worker." I put *CPA, but it's ARB, short for arbitrageur, which last appeared October 11, 2017.
Clever clue: "Widening of the mouth?" is DELTA. "Rarity in a Polish name?" is VOWEL. "Hives, e.g." is NESTS --- I wanted to put *RASH. "Tip of the tongue?" is -ESE.
Whew! That was a lot of work. Every day I try to learn new things, and sometimes some of it STYX. And now, I REST.
Sunday, April 22, 2018
My time: 6:43 . -- Benjamin Kramer serves us up an ace of a puzzle with this VOLLEYBALL-loving grid. The themed answers LIP SERVICE, th...
My time: 11:43 . -- Today we are treated to a themeless by Sam Ezersky. It's nothing jaw-dropping, but it's a solid Saturday. ...
My time: 17:47 , just one minute too slow for the record! -- Ross Trudeau collected a series of cryptids from divers geographical areas ...