My time: 5:19.
Andrea Carla Michaels celebrates the seminal 1999 Brad Pitt mindbender FIGHT CLUB with four themed clues that bring to mind dirty fighting, including KICK-START, SCRATCH AND SNIFF, and PUNCH BOWL. The one I didn't suss out at first is "end of a drinking hose" BITE VALVE. I've never heard that term before. Do you physically bite it to open the flow of water?
I was also slowed by POULT, "fowl raised for food." I knew there wasn't a rebus in just one corner, but I've never encountered that word without the -ry added.
And just under that new word is Port St. LUCIE, a town in southeastern Florida, which I didn't know and originally rendered as *LUCIA. So that didn't help.
I've heard of LIL' KIM, but not her 1996 double-platinum debut album Hard Core. I really hate the spelling of her name --- it should be Li'l Kim.
Is a "handyman's inits" really DIY? Wouldn't it be in a handyman's interests not to tell you to DIY?
"Certain red dye" is EOSIN, which I have never heard of. I'll let the chemist editors at Wikipedia attempt to lay it out: "Eosin is the name of several fluorescent acidic compounds which bind to and form salts with basic, or eosinophilic, compounds like proteins containing amino acid residues such as arginine and lysine, and stains them dark red or pink as a result of the actions of bromine on fluorescein." Ah. That clears things up, then.
I was briefly slowed, too, by the word PLASM for "blood fluid," since, as with POULT above, I don't think I've seen this word isolated without the -a at the end.
UCLA has come up a few times in the puzzle, but I don't believe we've ever learned that their team is the Bruins.
It's time for one of my rare disagreements with a clue. I deny that "TEST" is a word repeated while tapping a microphone. I would have accepted "testing," "check," or "is this thing on?" But I don't believe people generally say "test... test..." while tapping a mike to see if it's broadcasting.
"Banned pollutant" is PCB, which stands for polychlorinated biphenyl, a carcinogenic coolant outlawed in the US in 1978.
In my opinion, this was decidedly hard for a Monday. Mondays OUGHT to be a SNAP and this one had some pretty abstruse material in it. Well, on to the next.
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 ...