Sunday, April 15, 2018

Sunday's New York Times puzzle solved: April 15, 2018

My time: 30:01, just a little faster than average.

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Alex Bajcz, whose name wins at Scrabble, has fun with prepositions and hyphens.  The themed answers are phrases with verbs and prepositions which are turned into adjectives (thus the unwritten hyphen).  These are answers are clued as if they are adjective / noun, not the verb / object that the phrases usually are.

For example, pull up stakes becomes PULL-UP STAKES ("wagers for a gym exercise").  To stand in line is STAND-IN LINE, an "understudy's delivery."  "Scam alert" is PUT-ON NOTICE.  The one I found the most amusing is "fight clubs:" RUN-IN CIRCLES.  "Bad thing to see under a truck's hood?" is PICK-UP STEAM. I also really like DEAD-ON ARRIVAL for "timely entrance."

One I couldn't fill in without a lot of crossfill was "unrecruited athlete's bottleful."  That's WALK-ON WATER, or water belonging to a walk-on, which refers to an athlete who joins a team without being recruited.  It is contrasted with a "scholarship" player.  That's new to me!

Anyway, what a clever theme!  I quite enjoyed it, even if it took some time for the penny to drop.

I like PFFT for "sound of a dud."

Another sports thing: "pitcher's feat, slangily" is NO-NO.  It's short for a no-hitter.  Where does the extra no come from?  Why isn't it called a no-hi?  These are questions philosophers have been contemplating for centuries, with no hope of a concrete solution.

For "rear seating compartment in old vehicles," I was convinced it should be rumble seat (I had a metal toy car when I was kid with a flip-up rumble seat), but that doesn't fit, and it's TONNEAU, which to me doesn't seem defined right --- it's not a "compartment," is it?

"Replaced someone on a base" took me ages.  I couldn't stop thinking about military bases.  It's, you guessed it, another sports term, and refers to baseball, obviously.  PINCH-RAN means "got on base for someone else," which strikes me as possibly against the rules, or at least against the spirit of the game?

Here's a good story on the subject, though:
Oakland owner Charlie Finley, known as an unconventional thinker, came to believe that it would be useful to have a "designated runner" --- a fast player on the roster whose only job was to periodically enter a game and run the bases for slower players. He signed Herb Washington, a track star with no baseball experience. Washington appeared in 105 games for the Athletics in 1974 and 1975, scoring 33 runs and stealing 31 bases, without once playing the field or coming up to bat.  His 1975 Topps baseball card is the only baseball card in history to use the "Pinch Runner" position label.
Queen NOOR al-Hussein of Jordan is the queen dowager, the fourth wife and widow of King Hussein.

Totally baffling to me: "'Fight, fight, fight for Maryland!' singer, familiarly" is TERP.  Might as well be Greek to me.  A quick Googling shows that it refers to the University of Maryland fight song.  The school's mascot is the Terrapin, abbreviated TERP

"Lunchtime errands" is NOONERS!  Ha ha!

APEAK is seaman-speak for vertical, especially in reference to an anchor cable.

A reluctant hat tip for "10/" meaning OCT.  You got me this time, sir.

I could not process GOOK for "proceed well enough."  I was convinced it was an error.  Why on earth would they print such a hateful racial slur?  But it's GO OK, of course.  Whoops!

I only knew Peter O'TOOLE played Mr. Chips (in a 1969 musical remake) because of a recent Geeks who Drink question.  Before that, I only knew of Robert Donat, who played him in the 1939 original.

Hockey fans might find it the most basic of facts that the Edmonton OILERs won the Stanley Cup four times in the 1980s. Not me, however!

Too-quick-on-the-draw department: For "hoppy brew" I put *ALE but it's IPA.  For "what an AP class likely isn't" I put *BASIC but it's EASY A.  For "end of the block?" I put *KAY but it's -ADE.  For "story featuring divine intervention" I put *FLOOD but it's ILIAD --- well played!  For "to repeat..." I put *AGAIN but it's I SAID.

I remembered that Paul ANKA sang "Eso Beso" from the same clue way back on October 2, 2017.

I am so tired of these damn SLRS.

Clever clues: "Opposite of stiff" is TIP, ha!  "Small breather?" is NOSTRIL.  "It's not in the bag" is LOOSE TEA.

 I enjoyed this theme a lot, but I didn't do TSO well this tile.  ISLE try to do better.

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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"...