Friday, May 18, 2018

Friday's New York Times puzzle solved: May 18, 2018

My time: 19:01, just shy of average.

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I was really walloped by this rather difficult themeless by Ryan McCarty.  It's a very nice grid with fun fill (NOT ONE IOTA, SOUND MIXERS, WAR STORIES, RARE JEWELS, INTERWEAVE, WATER TAXIS) and some devious clues, but I just couldn't get my head around large chunks of it.  Still, no resentment here; the puzzle was tough but fair.  Some days the bear gets you.

I started off poorly with *BOOK 'EM for "declaration of Sgt. Joe Friday" (even though as I wrote it I knew that this was not a declaration but an imperative, and assumed it was a mistake on the constructor's part, rather than mine --- oh, how we pay for our arrogance!).  It's the much more prosaic I'M A COP.

Right next to that is "it's not damaged by being broken," which is LAW.  This joke has truth to it, of course, but it's not true if the LAW in question is the bedrock of a nation's principles, and the nation's own leaders are flouting their illegality openly and contemptuously.

The ancient Sasanian Empire, or Sasanid, was the last Persian Empire (224-651) before the rise of Islam; it covered modern-day IRAN, Iraq, the Levant, Eastern Arabia, the Caucasus, parts of Turkey, and even Central Asia.  A huge swath of Earth, and an even wider cultural reach.

I don't use the term STARTER SET ("collection of four plates, four saucers," etc) very often.

"Senators' grp." is NHL.  I was tricked again by sports lore.

"Queen ANNE style" refers to late Baroque architecture or furniture of the early 18th century.  It describes an elegant, simple style rather than the ornate, not necessarily comfortable, styles of previously.

I've never heard of OWLET MOTHS.  Insects of the family Noctuidae, their larvae are also known as cutworms or army worms.  Geez, I prefer the cute name.

We all know Edison's MENLO Park, but I had no idea that the original one is in California, and this one is the home of Facebook.  Their street address is 1 Hacker Way.

Hey, do you like perfume?  Do you like smelling like TABU, by Dana?  Smell like a big no-no!

I was also slowed by putting *GRAD for "____ school" and sticking with it for too long.  Then I lamely put *PRE-K until finally I realized it must be PREP.

"Canyon producer" perplexed me.  I wondered if it might be *EON, but realized that wasn't good crosswordese.  It's GMC, of course.

HYSONS is a terrible faux plural referring to green teas from the Anhui province, also called Lucky Dragon teas.  The name Hyson tea may be a corruption of a Cantonese phrase, or it may come from an English tea merchant, Phillip Hyson.  Did he found the tea company of the same name?  Probably.

Ron INSANA is an economic commentator who was on the air on CNBC mostly in the early 2000s and then started his own failed hedge fund.  He seems relatively unknown for inclusion in a New York Times puzzle.

"I call the question," for example: a MOTION.  This baffled me also.  It is a proposition that members stop debate on an issue and immediately vote on it.

CORPSE POSE is lying flat on one's back, in yoga.  It's also called savasana.

"Like a ballerina performing bourrée" is ON TOE.  Me, an intellectual: you mean en pointe??

I filled in the LOS part of LOS Padres National Forest pretty quickly, though I've never heard of it.  It's in California.  The only US states the NYT puzzle recognizes are New York and California.

The ORIONIDS are an annual meteor shower that lasts about a week in October.  So named because they appear to come from the constellation Orion, they are produced by Halley's Comet!

The ABC sitcom "The Real O'NEALS" ran for two seasons.  It was about an Irish Catholic family harboring a few embarrassing secrets (gay, anorexic, wanting divorce, atheist).

ASPISH: "venomously biting."  Oh, come on.

It took my brain a bit to see the first word in "ready for inurnment" as a verb and not an adjective, so CREMATE fit (while cremated doesn't).

"Inflection point" is CUSP.  Here it's a math term.  In mathematics a CUSP, sometimes called spinode in old texts, is a point on a curve where a moving point on the curve must start to move backward.  An inflection point is a point on a plane curve at which the curve crosses its tangent; that is, the curve changes from being concave (concave downward) to convex (concave upward), or vice versa.

"University of New Mexico symbol" LOBO appeared on November 14, 2017. but I didn't remember.

Clever clues: "Hog's squeal?" is MINE.  "Outmarch?" is PRIDE PARADE.  "In the cloud, say" is STORED.  "Industry filled with press releases" is WINE MAKING, ha ha.  "Like this puzzle, we hope" is SOLVABLE.  "Match" is SEE.

Well, it took quite a while, but I managed to RUSTLE this puzzle to the ground.  And I did it MY WAY.

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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"...