Thursday, May 31, 2018

Thursday's New York Times puzzle solved: May 31, 2018

My time: 14:45.

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Dominick Talvacchio speaks for us all when he says, IT'S ALL GREEK TO ME.  What's "Greek" about the themed answers are the hidden letters in the convoluted, absurdist phrases he's invented.

How convoluted?  "Wager one's sculpture of the Virgin Mary cradling the body of Jesus?" is BET A PIETA, and it hides beta.  Or try "Hired vehicle that's only as big as a potato crisp?"  That's CHIP-SIZE TAXI, which holds zeta.  Then there's "One-millionth of a meter along a spiritual path?" which is THE TAO MICRON.  Last, but certainly not least wordy, is "Inst. of higher learning dedicated to the statistical analysis of young sheep?"  And that's LAMB DATA U.  Whew!

Tough to figure out, but I did it!  Go me! Gadzooks!  On to the rest...

I didn't know that one of GHANA's claims to fame is being the first sub-Saharan country to become independent.  This happened on March 6, 1957.  It had been under formal British control as the Gold Coast since 1844.

Hank AARON is the MLB career leader in total bases gained.  He has 6,856.  Stan Musial lags at second with 6,134.

ESCAROLE is a bitter green with wide, wavy leaves.  It's related to endives and radicchio.

"Locale of Rome and Syracuse" is NYS which I suppose is an abbr. of New York State, but I don't think people use that abbr.  At one point Rome, NY produced 10% of all copper made in the United States.

One answer that may as well be Greek to me is ALEPH-null ("the number of natural numbers").  It's a measurement of the size of the set of natural numbers.

Actress and singer PATTI Lupone is mostly known for her work on stage, though she has had minor and guest roles in Witness, "Oz," "30 Rock," and "BoJack Horseman."

"It has dots for spots" is MAP.  This clue tries too hard.

"Cher, e.g." is AMI.  I don't get this.  The French word cher doesn't mean AMI, though you can call your friend "dear" if you want. The words go together, but cher isn't an example of AMI.

I didn't know that SEIKO is a Japanese company.  They don't just make watches, but other electronic equipment, jewelry, and even semiconductors.

Did you know ATARI has an online-only museum?  Me neither.

"Inti worshiper" is INCA.  Inti is the all-powerful, benevolent sun god in Incan mythology.  He is married to the moon Quilla.  As the Inca empire expanded in size and power in the 1400s, sun worship was incorporated into the religions of the conquered peoples and used as an imperial propaganda that the Inca were the people with a divine right to rule.  The rulers claimed direct lineage from Inti.

I sort of remembered Boston Symphony conductor Seiji OZAWA had appeared twice in the puzzle, last time on January 3, but couldn't come up with his name without crossfill.

The Florentine river ARNO last appeared December 23, 2017, as flowing through the Piazzale Michelangelo.

Clever clues: "Kitchen drawer?" is TAP, which I guess "draws" water?  "Stacked quarters?" is APTS.  "It takes a toll" is E-Z PASS.  "What might help you beat the heat?" is FIRE EXIT --- I first approached it thinking heat might refer to police.  "Mouthful?" is SASSY.  "Lauder making some blush" is a very winking clue, since reading it "wrong" is based on the word lauder meaning "one who praises," but since the name is much more well known than the word, it doesn't come off nearly as clever as it is.  "One whose office has an opening to fill?" is DDS.

Well, that's the whole shebang, A TO Z.  It really should have been alpha to omega.  Anyway, BYE NOW.

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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"...