My time: 5:20.
Zhouqin Burnikel showcases the Hilton hotel brand DOUBLE TREE with three phrases in this puzzle.
BALDERDASH has two trees: alder and ash. STEALTH FIGHTER contains teal and fig.
The last clued phrase is new-ish to me. A "boneless cut named for a New York restaurant" is DELMONICO STEAK, a strip cut or short loin. It was the house cut at Delmonico's Restaurant in the 1840s and '50s. However, no one remembers what the exact cut was originally. Records were poor, the meaning of "sirloin" has changed, and so on. This website claims that "the historical fact is that the original, authentic Delmonico Steak is, in modern terms, the first boneless top loin steak cut from the front of (anterior to) the short loin." Anyway, as regards the theme to today's puzzle this phrase contains elm and teak.
I don't know "Meet the Press" host Chuck TODD.
"Some showy blossoms, informally" is GLADS. Gladiolas grow in a huge array of colors.
Deborah KERR played Anna in The King and I. She also had a leading role in the far better film From Here to Eternity.
Gotta memorize those state flowers! The IRIS is the state flower of Tennessee. Point of order, actually: the passion flower is the state wildflower, while the IRIS is the designated state cultivated flower.
Iraqi port city BASRA appeared on May 30. Today it's clued as an anagram of arabs.
I had very little trouble with the fill, so it must have been the theme, with its long and obscure phrases (STEALTH FIGHTER, while totally kosher, isn't exactly in common coinage) that made me go so slow. I gotta do faster! DON'T BLOW IT, is what I should say to myself, or ELS I won't break any records. AMEN TO THAT.
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