Saturday, July 7, 2018

Saturday's New York Times crossword puzzle solved: July 7, 2018

My time: 13:47.

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Ryan McCarty constructed this ultra-modern Saturday themeless.  Some of the new fresh fill includes BUSTA Rhymes, the questionably spelled WACKY TOBACKY ("Mary Jane"), THAT'S SO NOT OK, Zayn MALIK of One Direction, and most surprisingly DANK MEME, which I'm proud to say I knew, having gotten into Reddit in the last year. 

Even some of the highbrow fill is clued in a modern way.  The Marquis de LAFAYETTE is defined as "close friend of Hamilton, in 'Hamilton'."  TALK TO ME is clued as "I wanna hear everything."

I had a little trouble with similarities and wannabes.  For "loud, as a radio" I put *ABLAST but it's ABLARE, which, duh, that's much more reasonable!  For "repeatedly hit" I put *BATTER but it's BEAT ON.  "Sorrowful cries" could have been *OYS but it's AYS.

Did you know the MAYAS used a base-20 numerical system?  Me neither.  The numerals consisted of only three symbols: zero, represented as a shell shape; one, a dot; and five, a bar. Thus, addition and subtraction was a relatively simple matter of adding up dots and bars.

American Olympic gold-winning gymnast ALY Raisman's first name gave me trouble.  I considered *OLE and *OLY.  She was a member and captain of both the 2012 "Fierce Five" and 2016 "Final Five" U.S. women's Olympic gymnastics which won their respective team competitions.   She won an individual gold medals in the 2012 games.  More recently she was in the news for bravely confronting former Olympic team physician, Larry Nassar, for his sexual assault.

Anaias NIN has featured in this blog before, for her works Winter of Artifice and Little Birds.  Today it's for her book Children of the Albatross.

Never heard of ABU-Bakr, longtime adviser to Muhammad (dbuh).  LITTLE KNOWN FACT: his full name is bū Bakr aṣ-Ṣiddīq ‘Abdallāh bin Abī Quḥāfah.  His nickname was The Truthful One and he ruled over the Rashidun Caliphate 632-634, following Muhammad's death.

In the Bible, the BENJAMITE tribe included the clan that gave rise to King Saul.

The alliterative animated Ferocious Flea is new to me, but I recognized immediately that he must be a foe of ATOM ANT, which I used to watch when I was a kid.  I'm old.

We just had a WNBA star in the puzzle and here's another --- the fabulously named ELENA Delle Donne, a 6'5" small forward on the Washington Mystics.

APHERESIS is a function of language wherein the start of a word is lost over time through use.  For example, the snake "adder" used to be called a nadder.  Ha ha!  Nadder.  It also means the removal of blood plasma from the blood.

PHENOLS are chemical compounds, acids similar to alcohols but forming stronger hydrogen bonds.  "Phenol" is also a name for carbolic acid, a simple phenol.  Why are they found in "hospital smell?"  Phenol may have been the first surgical antiseptic. In 1865 the British surgeon Joseph Lister used phenol as an antiseptic to sterilize his operating field.

Did you know Alicia Keys had a 2007 #1 album called AS I AM?  Me neither.  I'm not a Keyhole, as her most devoted fans call themselves.

"Alley-oop starter" is LOB.  This is a basketball term, not a tennis one, as I assumed, in which one player throws near the basket and a second player catches and dunks it.

Here is the text for the Tennyson poem "You Ask me, Why, THO' Ill At Ease."

Goya's repeated subject is MAJA, a woman from the lower classes of Spain who dressed in elaborate outfits, as explained on November 13, 2017.

Clever clues: "Complete coverage?" is SKIN.  "What closes on Sundays?" is AMEN.  "One waiting for the captain?" is MESS BOY.  "Performs some light surgery?" is LASES, as in does laser surgery. "Moves at a crawl?" is SWIMS.

This was a great Saturday.  Challenging and fun.  I enjoyed ITT.  PHO sure!  Groan.

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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"...