Sunday, May 27, 2018

Sunday's New York Times puzzle solved: May 27, 2018

My time: 22:24.

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Andrew Chaikin celebrates the number "21" in this puzzle and all it stands for.  Six clues read only "21" and their answers are AGE FOR DRINKING LEGALLY, NUMBER ONE ALBUM BY ADELE, GUNS IN A MILITARY SALUTE, SPOTS ON ALL SIDES OF A DIE, and WINNING BLACKJACK TOTAL.  If some of those answers seem stilted in wording, that's because the last "21" reveals that there are 21 LETTERS IN THESE ANSWERS.

Well done!  That's some very devious cruciverbiage!  Not only that but there's lot of other nods to 21 throughout the puzzle.  Why didn't this puzzle run on a Sunday of the 21st?

New Hampshire has the tiniest COAST!  Only 21 kilometers.  Ha ha!  Look at its tiny COASTline!

Never heard of actress CHITA Rivera.  She's mostly known for musical theater.  She did have a film role in the film version of Chicago.

Democratic politician J. James EXON was governor of Nebraska 1971 to 1979, and senator from 1979 to 1997.  He never lost an election.  He is the only Nebraskan besides George W. Norris, the architect of Nebraska's unicameral legislature, to win five consecutive statewide elections.

Remember the Maine!  It sunk in HAVANA harbor in 1898, precipitating the Spanish-American War, and that's why we allow Puerto Ricans to have practically all the rights of fourth-class citizens today.  Also it's probable that we sunk our own ship.  'Merica!

I had forgotten the name of David Ogden STIERS, who played Major Winchester on "MASH."  He was the second-best character on that show (after Potter).

Fascinating fact: I had no idea that every Baha'i temple is a NONAGON.  They also have nine entrances.  Nine is a sacred number in this faith, which emphasizes acceptance of all people and a peaceful global unity.  Their nine-sided houses of worship are open to all, and they do not deliver sermons.

"Take the 'A' TRAIN" is a is a jazz standard by Billy Strayhorn that was the signature tune of the Duke Ellington orchestra.  Ella Fitzgerald did it too.  It begins, "You must take the "A" train / To go to Sugar Hill way up in Harlem."

An ENGRAM, in neuropsychology, is a theoretical means by which memories are stored.  Richard Semon, the German evolutionary biologist, coined the term and believed that engrams allowed cellular changes that could be passed on genetically.

I knew that SYDNEY was the Summer Olympics (2000) host after Atlanta (1996), but I didn't know it was the capital of NSW.

More towns: TERNI, Italy, is where St. Valentine is said to have been born and become a bishop (enbishoped?).  It's also known as "The Steel City" and "The Italian Manchester."

Having lived in the Big Apple during the '80s, I know the Guardian Angels, bless 'em, but I didn't know Curtis SLIWA.  He's a fascinating figure. he embellished many Angels exploits as well as his own role in them and fabricated stories about being kidnapped, but also survived a real assassination attempt against him by John Gotti.

CLEA duVall is an actress who was in 21 Grams and "Veep" and I even saw her in "Better Call Saul," but I don't remember her in it.

We all know Pol Pot, but we don't know his palindromic countryman, LON NOL.  He was the Prime Minister of Cambodia twice and president of the Khmer Republic.  He fled the Khmer Rouge and died in exile in California.  He appeared on November 9, 2017, but I had forgotten all about him.

ETHANE appeared (as C2H6) on November 23, 2017.  Here it is clued as "component of natural gas."

AT. NO. (atomic number) was used on October 10, 2017.  Here it's the answer to "Scandium's is 21."

Clever clues: "One might be cast in a Harry Potter film" is SPELL (I kept thinking, owl?).  "Raiders' org." is ATF, I guess because they raid houses?  "It starts with E, in two different ways" is EYE TEST.

ALL TOLD, this was puzzle was A BLAST, and I was quite impressed by the complex construction required to make the theme work.  That took BRAINS!

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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"...