My time: 13:54, not a winner!
Today's puzzle, by Star Wars villain Xan Vongsathorn, is truly a masterpiece of language manipulation. Each themed answer contains one or or more circled letters, which are either H or T. The answers are clued in such a way that the H could be read as a T, or the T could be read as an H, without changing the definition! In other words, if the T is tails and the H is heads, then any number of COIN / FLIPS would not change the clues!
For example: "____ value" is SHOCK. Or, possibly, STOCK. They both fit! Crossed with this is "slight coloring," which could be HINT (if you chose SHOCK) or TINT (if you chose STOCK).
Here's some more examples. "Cry aboard a frigate" could be HEAVE HO or HEAVE TO. "An investor might want to get a fair one" is STAKE or SHAKE, while its cross, "evidence of a little spasm" is either TIC or HIC. "Interjection heard when breaking up" is TA-TA or, if you're mean, HA HA. And "breaking records, maybe" is TIP / TOP or (if you don't mind puns) HIP / HOP. Here's a clever one: "it can take root in wet places" can be RUSH or RUST.
Sometimes the spacing matters! "Many people might be eliminated by one" is HIT LIST, or TITLIST (not *TIT LIST). "Carrier of something that might burn" is HEAT RAY or TEA TRAY (not *TEAT RAY).
Anyhoo, I bow to the unparalleled cleverness at work here. And now on with the show.
I had a rough start from the beginning, because I have never heard of 11-time All-Star Carlton FISK, a catcher for the Red Sox and White Sox from the 1970s to '90s. His oddly differing nicknames were "The Pudge" and "The Commander."
A STABILE is a stationary abstract sculpture, especially in reference to Alexander Calder's works. The term was coined by Jean Arp.
"Long Island airport town" is ISLIP, home to Long Island MacArthur Airport, named after the general.
Did you know OMAHA is the headquarters for TD Ameritrade? Who cares?
"A giant among Giants" is OTT, in reference to Mel Ott, who showed up on the Christmas 2017 puzzle. He was a right fielder for the NY Giants from 1926 to 1947.
1961 space chimp ENOS was last seen on October 19, 2017.
Clever clues: "Bikini, etc." is ISLE. "Gathering of spies?" is INTEL. "They go up to the knees" is SHINS. "Falling down in a pillow fight?" is EIDER. "Something at the end of the hook?" is FISH or FIST, ha ha! "Pot grower?" is ANTE. "Wet bar locale?" is BATH.
My time took a hit on this puzzle, but I don't mind because it was a fun adventure trying to figure out the theme. At first I couldn't make heads or tails of it! And then the penny dropped. And now I gotta SPLIT.
Thursday, August 2, 2018
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