Saturday, June 23, 2018

Saturday's New York Times crossword puzzle solved: June 23, 2018

My time: 19:00.

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Byron Walden is the creator of this themeless that had some bright spots and some questionable ones.  I liked LANGUAGE BARRIER ("problem in the Tower of Babel story"), TOUCHPAD ("Microsoft Surface surface"), and RADICAL FEMINIST.

I don't think ECONOMIC BOYCOTT is as good; although the clue "commercial break?" is clever, the answer is not really a widely used phrase.  A boycott is almost always economic.  I'm also not a fan of LOAN CAP ("limitation for borrowers").  No one says that, and I put *DUE DATE, which fits and also has the benefit of being real.

For "female koala" I panicked and put *COW.  It's DOE.  D'oh!  The male is called a buck.

An ARÊTE is a sharp-crested ridge of a mountain.  The word comes from the French for "fish bone."

I like the modern slang of CRIBS ("copies illegally"), but the definition is a bit off.  You can crib someone's notes and it isn't illegal, just ethically wrong.

The 1991 album ALANIS by Alanis Morissette was a cheesy, teen pop effort that was deemed similar to Debbie Gibson.  Later, she'd have the second-best-selling album by a female artist of all time.  Isn't that ironic?  No.

FOLIC acid is a kind of B vitamin present in leafy greens.  It is used to treat anemia.

I've written previously that "if you want to be a crossword champ, study your Anas."  Here's a new ANA, All Nippon Airways, the largest airline in Japan.

The clergyman in E.M. Forster's A Room With a View is Rev. Arthur BEEBE, a friend of the family that tries to stop Lucy Honeychurch from marrying George.

Montreal's Bell Centre, or Centre Bell as it's known there, is one of the many ICE HOCKEY ARENAS in Canada.  It also hosts lots of musical concerts.

Speaking of our neighbors to the north, "O CANADA" is a song we all know of, but did we know it "debuted on Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day in 1880"?  No, it never occurred to us.  Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day is June 24 (tomorrow!), and it's the national holiday of Quebec.  The song was written by the amazingly-named Calixa Lavallée, a Union Army band musician during the US Civil War.  It didn't become the national anthem until exactly a century later, in 1980.

Richard ENGEL is the foreign news correspondent for NBC.  He is fluent in Arabic and has survived bombings, kidnappings, and firefights.

One who spends naira is a NIGERIAN.  One naira is divided into 100 kobo.  Currently 360 naira will get you one dollar, American.

We're just hopping all around the globe today.  Lake EYRE is Australia's lowest point, at 49 feet below sea level.  The indigenous name is Kati Thanda.

I'm not sure how anyone beyond a specialist is expected to know or guess this, but NCR is a major manufacturer of ATMs.

I wish DO I DARE had been clued with "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock."

The Arab Spring is largely considered to have begun with 2010 protests in TUNIS.

Speaking of Arabs, did you know AL QAEDA means "the base" or "the foundation"?

SEE NO Evil is a 1971 horror film starring Mia Farrow as a blind girl staying at a country manor who is hunted by a maniac.

And finally, DC's historical Metropolitan AME Church?  What is that?  It's the African Methodist Episcopal Church.  This came up on September 10, 2017.

Clever clues: "They're covered by boards" is AGENDAS.  "Depart unceremoniously?" is ELOPE.  "They're answered once and for all" is FAQS --- very clever.  "Ones hoping for prior approval?" is ABBOTS --- although I'm not sure this works, since a prior is lower in rank than an abbot.  "Childlike personality?" is CELEBRITY CHEF --- it took me a few beats to get that one.  "Card makeup" is BOUTS --- that took me a bit, too, even though I'm a boxing fan from childhood.

This was an okay puzzle.  Some fun, some eye-rolling.  Welp, back to my COUCH.

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