My time: 8:35, a new record, beating the old by two full minutes!
Caitlin Reid hits the bull's eye with this puzzle. The center black square is the DEAD CENTER of the puzzle, which also serves to replace the word "dead" in four themed phrases. Going across into the black square is "break a leg," which is KNOCK 'EM [dead]. Going down into the center is LEFT FOR [dead]. Running to the east out of the center is [dead] OR ALIVE, and going down out of that center square is [dead]BEAT DAD.
A very clever theme, with an additional linked answer; in the place symmetrical to the capper, DEAD CENTER, is "well-aimed" or ON THE MONEY.
For "Monday feeling, with the" I put *BLUES but it's the BLAHS.
For "sordid" I put *SEEDY at first, but it's SEAMY, which still doesn't look right to me.
Tolkien creature. *ORC? *ELF? No, it's ENT.
I needed a little crossfill help to come up with SAG's partner AFTRA. That's the union formed of Screen Actors' Guild and American Federation of Television and Radio Artists.
We know it's in golf, but I wasn't sure that a football kickoff is also off of a TEE.
Baseball is so full of old characters. Lefty O'DOUL was a left fielder who played in the 1920s and '30s. O'Doul was instrumental in spreading baseball's popularity in Japan, serving as the sport's goodwill ambassador before and after World War II. The Tokyo Giants, "Japan's Baseball Team," were named by him in 1935 in honor of his longtime association with the New York Giants.
Continuing baseball, the concept of AAA teams came up on March 7 (featuring the New Orleans Baby Cakes!). Today it's the second highest level of minor league play, the AA TEAM, such as the Jackson Generals and the Portland Sea Dogs.
ERIKA Christensen is an actress on "Parenthood," which I've never seen.
Marines used to be required to learn the Rifleman's CREED (the recitation that begins "This is my rifle. There are many like it, but this one is mine"). It was written around 1942 by Major General William H. Rupertus, which is great old Civil War general-sounding name.
I guessed the missing word pretty easily in "The Strife is O'ER, the Battle Done." It's an opening hymn, translated from the Latin by Francis Pott.
I've heard of RIESEN Chocolate, but needed a little crossfill to nudge me. They make caramel chocolates, introduced in the US in 1991.
Clever clues: "Something found near a temple" is EAR. "Honey bunches" is BEES. "Half of none?" is ENS.
So, yesterday I had one new concept, and didn't do very well. Today, a handful of uncertain and new fill, and I FOUND IT easy, even shaving two minutes off my best time. I can't figure it out.
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 ...