Friday, May 4, 2018

Friday's New York Times puzzle solved: May the Fourth Be With You, 2018

My time: 14:39, not so bad.

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Michael Hawkins crafted this tough-but-fair Friday themeless.  There's some fun fill in this one: HACKTIVISM, IMPRESARIO ("one who gets the show on the road"), AT LONG LAST, LET'S DO THIS, ONE-STOP SHOP, XYLEM, STAYCATION ("what's not going anywhere?"), MONEY TALKS, and CARAMEL CORN for example.

Oddly, one of the most troublesome spots for me was "sharp."  I even had AC__ and still it didn't occur to me that the answer was the simple adjective ACID.  In the same vein, there was some block in my head not letting me see that "dim" was a verb (and not an adjective meaning "stupid"), and the answer was FADE.

Former Prime Minister Clement ATTLEE spells his name with two T's which is sometimes hard to remember.

"Some hand waves" is HIS, as in the plural of hi.  Ugh.  That clue and its answer are the picture of INELEGANCE.

"One signatory to the Treaty of Fort Laramie" is SIOUX.  This 1968 treaty, also called the SIOUX Treaty of 1968, ended Red Cloud's war by ceding the Great Sioux Reservation to the Native Americans and pledging for the U.S. to abandon some forts.  However, as anyone who studies Native American-European relations knows, it didn't last long.  Open war again broke out in 1876, and the U.S. government unilaterally annexed native land protected under the treaty in 1877.  To this day, ownership of the Black Hills remains the subject of a legal dispute between the U.S. government and the Sioux.  (SIOUX is crossed with SUE in the puzzle, which is funny.)

In other war news, The Treaty of TROYES, signed in 1420, established that King Henry V would inherit the French crown after the death of King Charles VI of France.  This was part of the back and forth military and political maneuvering of the Hundred Years' War.  The treaty was undermined by the deaths of both Charles VI and Henry V within two months of each other in 1422.  TROYES is a Roman-era city in the north of France.  It is what the troy ounce is named after.

Hey, I guessed that the Kansas City Chiefs were in AFC WEST!  There are only four teams in this group.  I thought they were larger.

Is a LATTE machine really a "restaurant fixture?"  Any restaurant?

I couldn't put together the letters for "freshwater minnow."  I even had the absurd *RESFIN for a while.  It's REDFIN, as in REDFIN Shiner.

For "comparatively twisted" I had nothing until it was filled in: WRIER.  I had forgotten about the definition of wry as "twisted," as in a wry grin.

I put *YENTA for "gossipmonger" but they want the variant YENTE.  I also sometimes confuse it with the story/movie character *YENTL.

For "pool surface" is put *TILE but it's FELT, surprise!

I assumed correctly that LOS was the first word in LOS Olvidados, a 1950 Luis Buñuel film, but what is the film?  Known as The Young and the Damned in English, it's a very bleak tale of poverty-stricken, dangerous juveniles who rob and assault people in the slums of Mexico City.  Buñuel is a great director and visionary, but I can't say I've "enjoyed" the films of his that I've seen.

"Arrivals in Arrival, for short" is ETS.  One of the few films that says, "It's the linguists' time to shine!"

Clever clues: "Gave secondhand?" is REDEALT.  "Stunners" is TASERS.  "DC area?" is KRYPTON (note it doesn't say "D.C." but DC).  "Crown holders" is TEETH.  "Gray area?" is ANATOMY.

I SAY, I really enjoyed this puzzle.  It was challenging and between the new stuff and the vague clues, I had my hands full!

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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"...