My time: 5:56.
Jacob Stulberg erects a ROADBLOCK --- indeed, four of them --- in this puzzle. Some of the black squares act as interrupters to synonyms of road hidden across two answers.
The first roadblock is found in the row SLAVE [x] NUEVO LEON. These two words together contain the word avenue, with the block in the middle. The row SHANGRI-LA [x] NETS has lane with a black square "roadblock." PAID [x] RIVERBANK hides the word drive, with a block after the D. And AIMLESS [x] TREETOP ("'Rock-a-bye Baby' setting") puts a block on street.
I didn't take the time to see what the theme was until the ROADBLOCK answer appeared at the bottom, but it would have helped had I been stuck on any of those answers. It's a very clever idea, well-executed and shored up with some nice unusual fill: FLASH LAMP ("early means of providing light for a photograph"), STRING TIE ("bit of wear for Colonel Sanders"), BLINI, and CEVICHE.
I can name perhaps three hockey players. ILYA Kovalchuk is not one of them. He played for the New Jersey Devils and the Atlanta Thrashers (never heard of them), as well as Russian teams.
The DINAR is the currency for several Middle Eastern countries (and Serbia and Macedonia!). Tunisia is indeed one of them. The subunit of the Tunisian DINAR is the millime, or 1/1000 piece.
Stanley ELKIN is an author whom I am utterly unfamiliar with. Here he is clued as writer of The Magic Kingdom, but his novels George Mills and Mrs. Ted Bliss seem to be better known.
PHI came up as the symbol for the Golden Ratio on September 13, 2017. I couldn't remember it.
Fashionista Perry ELLIS last caught our eye on January 14, but as a repeat. Maybe I know him now?
Skier's aid T-BAR was used on November 27, 2017.
That was a fun puzzle. Not TOO hard, with a fun theme. However, AISLE KNEED to go take a break now.
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