Thursday, July 12, 2018

Thursday's New York Times crossword puzzle solved: July 12, 2018

My time: 17:43.

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Let's all give Joe DiPietro a hand for this puzzle that doesn't leave us hanging.  I don't know if there's a word for puzzles that play with the grid, where instead of a rebus, which is lots of letters in one square, the answers are found outside of their place in the grid.  Maybe let's call puzzles like this outies.   Anyhoo, this one is an outie.

Playing off of the phrase HANDS DOWN ("easily"), four other phrases in the Across section have part of their answer, a part that can be combined with the word hand, hanging Down.

Par exemple.  "Clear of trees" reads as DEFOST, but crossed at the F is FORENSICS, making the answer actually DEF/ORE/ST, with forehand being the theme connection.  Then there's "Desperate Housewives" co-star EVA LORIA, actually meant to be read as EVA L/ONG/ORIA, with longhand as the theme connection.

DiPietro shows a sure hand with TREAS/URE/MAP, but I didn't much care for ENVI/RON/S ("surrounding area"), because iron hand doesn't sound very common to me.  Ruled with an iron fist, yes.  Ruled with an iron hand, not so much?

And now the fill!  There's some HELLA modern fill here, like GO ALONG, KEY IN ("record, as data"), AFRO-ASIAN ("like a sizable proportion of Caribbeans, ethnically"), TEENY, EPIC ("awesome, dude"), and my favorite, EL CHEAPOS.

"Smack dab" is SPANG, as in SPANG in the middle of something.

I have not heard a Hawaiian shirt called an ALOHA shirt before.

One of Jim Croce's lesser-known hits is "I GOT A NAME," from 1973, from the album of the same name.

Brian ENO appears in crosswords a lot, of course.  Today he's clued as composer of his 2012 album Lux, of which the tracks are "Lux 1," "Lux 2," "Lux 3," and "Lux 4."

Poet Conrad AIKEN, whose name I recalled to my own surprise, led a tragic and interesting life.  Here's a cheery number he did called "Ballad."

"Bump, in poker-speak" is RAISE.

For a flask in a lab, I put *MEYER flask, but that was a false memory on my part; I was incompletely recalling an Erlenmeyer flask.  It turns out to be DEWAR flask.  This is an insulating container invented by Sir James Dewar in 1892, consisting of two flasks, placed one within the other and joined at the neck.

Apparently in baseball a WIN  is credited to a pitcher.  Not the whole game, surely?

The Sea of AZOV is an arm of the Black Sea.  To the south it is linked by the narrow (about 4 km or 2.5 mi) Strait of Kerch to the Black Sea, and it is sometimes regarded as a northern extension of the Black Sea rather than an arm.

Salmon variety NOVA last appeared on February 20.

Clever clues: "Rack sites" is OVENS, whereas "sight on a rack" is HAT.  "Self starter?" is ESS.  "Capital of Colombia" is PESO.

NOT much new here, but that outie theme slowed me down.  I'd SAY that this was a fun puzzle.  I love the discovery of wordplay like this that's literally outside the box.

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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"...