Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Tuesday's New York Times crossword puzzle solved: August 28, 2018

My time: 6:32, not too shabby!

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Brian "The Brain" Thomas constructed this one, which I really enjoyed.  The theme is one of those that's clever, but doesn't really help you get the themed answers even once you know it.  Playing off the phrase BACK CHANNEL ("covert means of communication"), Thomas includes five themed answers that contain the names of TV channels, but backwards.  For example, GLENN CLOSE contains CNN backward.

But what made this puzzle stand out for me was the great fill.  The themed answers in particular were rarely-seen phrases: WAX ON, WAX OFF from The Karate Kid; ZIPLOC BAG; USB CHARGER; and JOB HUNTER.  Then there's POTSIE from "Happy Days," GRU from Despicable Me, I DUNNO ("couldn't tell ya!"), and RED AS A BEET, among others.  So modern and fresh!

"Tribe at Council Bluff" is OTOE, which has come up before, but not in this context.  Council Bluff is an area on the west bank of the Missouri River, across from Council Bluffs, Iowa.

The novel Wide Sargasso Sea was written in 1966 by Dominican-born author Jean RHYS.  It is a feminist and anti-colonial response to Charlotte Brontë's novel Jane Eyre and the background to Mr Rochester's marriage from the point-of-view of his mad wife Antoinette Cosway, a Creole heiress.  It is on the Modern Library's list of 100 Greatest Novels.

"Spot for a yacht" is both a SLIP and a MARINA.

"B+, e.g." has nothing to do with grades.  It's ION, as in an atom or molecule that has a non-zero net electrical charge.  I guess B+ is a boron ion?

I'll stick with Chemistry I Don't Understand At All for $1000, Alex.  An AZO dye is a chemical compound containing nitrogen that is used to color materials, usually in reds and yellows.  One of the first produces AZO dyes was called Congo red.

I thought "ball in the sky" was *SUN, and that slowed me up.  It's ORB.  Ugh.

I would have sworn that NOKIA is a Japanese company, but apparently it's Finnish!  It was founded in Nokia, Finland.  But it currently does not have operations there; it's headquartered in Espoo now.

Australia's national gemstone OPAL was discovered on July 16.

DEKES as in hockey feints last came up on June 13.

Clever clues: "She reads the signs" is SEERESS.  "Makes the cut?" is SAWS.

All around, a very admirable puzzle, although I think some of its devious clues were somewhat challenging for a Tuesday. Well, I won't FRET over it.  I'm out.  MWAH!

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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"...