Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Tuesday's New York Times puzzle solved: May 22, 2018

My time: 7:57, not that good.

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Jeff Stillman created this puzzle, where a part of URSA MAJOR, a.k.a. the GREAT BEAR, is created within the puzzle.  Seven letters, A-G, are circled and the represent the stars that make up the BIG DIPPER, the asterism within the constellation.  The first themed answer is clued as "constellation next to Draco" --- this being a never-setting constellation first described by Ptolemy.

Finally, the solver is asked to draw a line from circle F through circle G and imagine the NORTH STAR, which of course the BIG DIPPER points to ("follow the drinking gourd").   All in all, pretty clever!

For "part of a gig" I wanted to put *TYRE as in a carriage, but it's BYTE, as in gigabyte.

"2008 Benicio del Toro role" is CHE.

I needed some crossfill to come up with U-Haul competitor RYDER.

I'm not quite sure why "took the cake" is WON.  They're... not quite equivalent, are they?

Somehow out of the recesses of my mind I dredged up the name of Dame Myra HESS, a British pianist who was prominent in the 1930s and '40s.

Crossword constructors love the prefix TETRA-.  Here, Jeff Stillman cites TETRAhydrozoline, an ingredient in eye drops and nose sprays.  This is a word that every man and women on the street is familiar with, surely.

More fun with chemistry! "Compound in synthetic rubber" is BUTENE, also known as butylene.  I was told there would be no chemistry on this exam.

I'm not a flower type guy, so I didn't know that a pansy is also called a heart's-EASE.  Flowers and fish must be the things with the greatest divergence of names, I think.  This one is viola tricolor, also known as Johnny-jump-up, heart's delight, tickle-my-fancy, Jack-jump-up-and-kiss-me, come-and-cuddle-me, three faces in a hood, or love-in-idleness.  Those would make good names for fairies in a child's fantasy book.

The 1962 Paul Anka hit "ESO BESO" last appeared on April 15.

The poem form RONDEL came back to me from its appearance on April 6.

Clever clues: "Start of a decision-making process" is EENY.  "Lab warning?' is ARF.  "Caesar's world?" is ORBIS.

That's a LOT of new stuff for a Tuesday.  I wish I'd done this one with a little more SPEEDO.

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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"...