Saturday, July 14, 2018

Saturday's New York Times crossword puzzle solved: July 14, 2018

My time: 24:23.

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Kameron Austin Collins thought up this pinwheel themeless that I found to be a real challenge.  Several obscure items and some very vague cluing combined to get me one of my slowest times in a while.

Some of the vague clues include "very busy" for ORNATE and "greasers' loves" for HOT RODS.  Also, "picks" here is a noun and refers to BETS, while "pick" is GO FOR.  One of the most devious examples of vaguery is "minds" for TENDS, as in minds the bar.  "Decline" in this puzzle doesn't mean to go down but to SEND REGRETS.  "Material" here is not stuff but an adjective, as in GERMANE.  And "wrap up" doesn't mean end but ENCASE, like Christo does.

If you only know Ebert with *SISKEL, you forgot his immediate successor, ROEPER.

Here's something I didn't know and don't care about: Banana Republic is owned by THE GAP.

"Either of two extremes in an orbit" is APSIS.  It can refer to the nearest or most distant point of an orbit.  I did not know this word.

I also didn't know that DELTA is used as a "symbol of change in math."  For example, if the variable "x" stands for the movement of an object, then "Δx" means "the change in movement."

Pope LEO I, Saint, and called the Great, was a fifth-century pope.  He is perhaps best known for having met Attila the Hun in 452 and persuading him to turn back from his invasion of Italy.  He is also well-known for his eponymous Tome, a letter to Constantinople asserting that Christ has two natures.

Another new concept to me is the New York City CABARET CARD, a fascist permit required to work as an entertainer in nightclubs serving alcohol. The demeaning and arbitrary system was rescinded in 1967, due in large part to a scandal over Lord Buckley's card being seized and Frank Sinatra refusing to apply for a card or perform in New York.

Mrs. 'ARRIS Goes to Paris is a novel by Paul Gallico.  It's about the adventures of a London charwoman; it was made into a movie and followed by three sequels.  He also wrote The Poseidon Adventure.  And yet, Wikipedia notes that The Snow Goose is Gallico's "only real success."

What may follow Indiana or Illinois is DOT / EDU.

The Zapotec civilization flourished in the valley of OAXACA.  The Zapotec left archaeological evidence at the ancient city of Monte Albán in the form of buildings, ball courts, magnificent tombs and grave goods including finely worked gold jewelry.

OTC referring to stocks appeared on June 15.

Clever clues: "Ban from argument" is DISBAR.  "Its business is booming" is TNT.  "Piano trio?" is PEDALS.  "Like the best streams?" is IN HD.  "Bad things to blow" is BIG LEADS.  "Things drawn by eccentric people" is STARES, ha!

OH BABY, this was a tough puzzle, but overall I'm happy with my time, which is still lower than my all-time average.   I liked the long answers like KEMO SABE, CANDYCOAT, GAMETES, MORAL CENTER, AMATORY, and STROBE LIGHT.  A very well executed and admirably challenging Saturday!

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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"...