Saturday, June 16, 2018

Saturday's New York Times crossword puzzle solved: June 16, 2018

My time: 17:26.

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Sam Trabucco wrote this modern themeless.  Lots of cutting-edge fill in this one, like NETFLIX ORIGINAL, EXCUSE YOU, ON FLEEK ("flawlessly styled, in modern slang"), BOSS ("cool, colloquially"), ZERO TO HERO, LEO MESSI, BENTO BOX, and GEL-IN SOLES ("comfy shoe features").  The funniest answer ever might be FAT ELVIS ("the King, late in his career").  Also, "embiggen" as a clue is always amusing.

I approve!  And now to the stuff that troubled me.

"Letters before Q" tricked me.  I put *MNOP like a jackass.  It's the more modern LGBT.

We all know Anderson Cooper, that rakishly handsome daredevil reporter and anchorman, but do we know that he took a break from the news to host two seasons of reality TV series "THE MOLE"?  No.  Did we know there was a TV series of that name?  Vaguely.

The VIA VENETO, properly Via Vittorio Veneto, is one of the most famous, elegant, and expensive streets of Rome, Italy.  It's named after a WWI battle.  The film La Dolce Vita took place there.

I got stuck for a while because I inexplicably had *OVATE for "tub-thump" rather than, of course, ORATE.

The ABC ISLANDS, off the north coast of Venezuela, refers to three of the Lesser Antilles: Aruba, Curaçao, and Bonaire.  They are autonomous, but part of the Netherlands.  Bonaire is known for being a "diving paradise", with ecotourism playing a large part in its economy. The islands have a huge variety of wildlife, including flamingoes and four species of sea turtle.

"Red Spanish wine" is RIOJA, a well-known blend named after its region.  I don't know anything about it; I would have written rojo if it had fit.

IDAHO STATE is a school in the Big Sky Conference, which is something something football.  ISU's mascot is the Bengals, which makes no sense.

I'm proud that knew the Frankish king CLOVIS and that NINE is the highest score in baccarat.  I know some high culture!

Luxury Hyundai model AZERA appeared on January 6.

Greek colonnade STOA appeared, clued as "site of Zeno's teaching," on January 17.

Clever clues: "Good time to build a castle?" is LOW TIDE.  "Hero of New Orleans" is PO' BOY.  "Doctor's orders?" is AHS.  "Sticky patch" is DECAL.  The very vague "some rolls" is SUSHI.  "Fair game" is RING TOSS.

This was an exceptionally funny, very well executed puzzle, the best in a long time.  It definitely WON OVER me!  I think it should WIN AN OSCAR.

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Sunday's New York Times crossword puzzle solved: August 2, 2020

My time: 23:35 , not great but still faster than average. Theme: dropping the final "g" of well-known phrases, moving the "g&...