Thursday, July 19, 2018

Thursday's New York Times crossword puzzle solved: July 19, 2018

My time: 12:48.

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Well, this puzzle by Mike Knobler is something a bit different.  It's very clever bit of trickery.  Several themed answers, denoted by stars, are in SECRET CODE.  A hint to how to use the code is in "cry from behind a counter" --- NEXT, PLEASE.  This means you are to enter the next letter for each letter in the themed answers.  So any a in the answer is entered as a B, all bs becomes Cs, and so on. 

So we end up with, for example, "Crafts site" really being Etsy but entered as FUTZ.  "Firework that doesn't work" is dud, entered as EVE.  "Resistance units" is ohms, which becomes PINT.  "Military vehicles" are tanks, which appears in the puzzle as U-BOLT. The answer that finally made the penny drop for me is IBM, code for Shakespearean prince Hal.

I enjoyed figuring this all out, but I do think that the clue to SECRET CODE is misleading.  It reads as "what the answers to the six starred clues follow..."  I don't think it's useful or common to say they follow a code.  I would have liked to see the clue say something like "how the six starred clues are entered."

So, onto the fill.  Sauce for falafels is TAHINI, a dip made from toasted ground hulled sesame.

I needed a little help to remember "Chunnel train" EUROSTAR, which links London with Amsterdam, Avignon, Brussels, Lille, Lyon, Marseille, Paris and Rotterdam.

We've all heard of the band STYX, but they've never been a fixture on my turntable, so I didn't recognize them from the songs "Lady" and "Babe."  Is this "Adult Oriented Rock"?  It's very... smooth.  And inoffensive.  And cheesy.

The first NFL player to be featured on the cover of "Sports Illustrated" was...  Y.A. TITTLE!  Never heard of him.  He was a quarterback for the 49ers, Giants, and Colts in the 1950s and '60s.  He appeared on the cover in 1954.  A pioneer in sports, Tittle was part of the 49ers' famed Million Dollar Backfield and is credited with having coined "alley-oop" as a sports term. He is also famous for a photograph in which he is bloodied and kneeling down in the end zone after a tackle by a defender left him helmetless.  Fun bonus fact: The Y.A. stands for Yelberton Abraham.

ICE-T was the rapper with the 1999 album The Seventh Deadly Sin.  It is 74 minutes long.  Good lord!

"First, second, or third person" is UMP.  What the hell does that mean??

Clever clues: "Vessel that's 1% full?" is YACHT.  "Something said to smell sweet" is SUCCESS.  "Short, for one" is MARTIN.  "Prepare to drive" is TEE UP.

This was a fun puzzle!  It's nice when not everything is laid out at first and you know something's wrong but have to figure out what and where.  I did ABOUT as well as I could considered, but ISLE try to go even faster!

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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"...