Thursday, April 19, 2018

Thursday's New York Times puzzle solved: April 19, 2018

My time: 11:19, very close to my record!

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Todd Gross plays with numbers in this puzzle.  To fully understand the theme clues, you must COUNT THE SQUARES.  Thus, "he wrote this many symphonies" is BEETHOVEN because the answer has nine squares, and he wrote nine symphonies.  "It borders this many other states" is MISSOURI, which borders eight, as many as the letters in its name.  And so on with MARK SPITZ, who won nine Olympic gold medals, and there are nine letters in his name; and an ARACHNID has eight letters and "this many legs" when you count the letters.

Clever theme, recursive, good aha moment, very pleasing unusual fill.  Great job.  10/10, A+ cruciverbalism, would solve again.

I'm only vaguely familiar the phrase TO A TURN, meaning "exactly right."  It's used mainly in cooking.  I thought it might be the original, full version of the phrase to a T, but apparently the origins of that one are not fully known. It is perhaps short for "to a tittle."

I've heard of choreographer Alvin AILEY, though I mistakenly put his name in as *AILEN at first.

Most of New York State's flag is BLUE, which is a pretty obvious fill even if you don't know what it looks like.  An interesting fact is that until 1901 it was buff yellow.

RINSO is a brand of soap that was founded in 1908 in the UK. It was one of the first mass-marketed soap powders.  It was advertised on the radio with the taglines "Rinso white, Rinso bright" and "contains Solium, the sunlight ingredient!" It is still sold today by Unilever in Asian markets.  It was mentioned ("I'm Rinso white" in the song "I'm Black/Ain't Got No" from the musical Hair.

"Chocolaty breakfast cereal" is OREO-OS, which is good crossword fill.  So is ULULATES ("grieves loudly").

I don't know the name of actor KEENAN Wynn, but I certainly know of him; he played Colonel "Bat" Guano in one of the best films ever made, Dr. Strangelove.

Did you know NOV. is National Adoption Month?  Me neither.

I know the work of Roz CHAST very well, but I couldn't have told you that she wrote a book called What I Hate: From A to Z.  Though I'm sure I took note of it when it was first published.

I also know Ogden NASH, of course, and his work.  "In the Vanities / No one wears panities" is a charming couplet called "Theatrical Reflection."

"Ca++ or Fe++++" is over my head, but it's IONS, which are of course non-zero atoms or molecules.  In these cases, I guess, electron positive.

Yet another FROZEN question.  The name of the fictional kingdom where it takes place is Arendelle.

I figured "Arabic leader" was the first letter of the Arabic alphabet, but I put *ALEF instead of ALIF.

Actor ESAI Morales last came up pretty recently, March 12, and I got his name right this time!

"Narrow waterway" RIA last trickled by on October 24, 2017.

Clever clues: "It's only half due" is UNO.  "Two in the news" is ITEM.  "One hailed on Broadway?" is CAB.

That's a pretty big handful of new material, yet my time was pretty speedy!  I'm just a STEP away from a new record.  OIL try to go faster 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"...