Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Wednesday's New York Times crossword puzzle solved: August 22, 2018

My time: 8:00 even.

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John Lampkin (possibly changed from the original Lambkin) through up this puzzle, in which words with the sound cluster umb have it changed to ump.  Why?  I'm not sure.  I guess he just thought it was better that way.  It's a neat bit of wordplay, but not exceedingly interesting, in my opinion.

So, "you think the blanket needs messing up?" is READY TO RUMPLE, "guideline for testing watermelon ripeness?" is RULE OF THUMP, the laconic "whence slouches?" is SLUMPERLAND, and "title of a trash collector's memoir?" is DUMP AND DUMPER.

Ha ha?  Well.... stay humple, Lumpkin.

As for the fill, TANIA Mallet is a British model (of Russian heritage) who played Tilly Masterson in Goldfinger and not much else except herself in a handful of TV appearances.

"Neuter" is a tough, even misleading, clue for ALTER.

STK is an abbreviation for stock, which is the material of a brokerage sale.  It's a little hard to Google because STK is also an abbreviation for a special technologies growth fund traded on the NYSE.

The ad campaign "Say PEPSI, Please" was used in the late '50s onward.  Any Warhol did a lithograph of a matchbox cover with the slogan.

The fruit a├žai comes up a lot as an answer, but this time, it's a clue, as an example of a PALM.

"Pharaoh honored near Aswan" refers to the massive Abu Simbel temples, southwest of Aswan on the border of Sudan.  The twin temples were originally carved out of the mountainside in the 13th century BC, during the reign of the Pharaoh Ramesses II (or, as the newspaper puzzle styles his name, RAMSES). They serve as a lasting monument to the king and his queen Nefertari, and commemorate his victory at the Battle of Kadesh, the largest chariot battle ever fought.

Speaking of the Aswan Dam, it's in UPPER Egypt, which is, counterintuitively, the southern half of the country.

Lots of old friends this time around:

That UCLA is the home of the Bruins came up on May 14.

Baseball legend "Country" ENOS Slaughter came up to bat on May 5.

We last spied Iraq port city BASRA on June 4.

Basketball strategy the ZONE defense was outlined on September 9, 2017.

Big name in windows PELLA was last seen on January 20.

DYES, needed in batik, came up on October 25, 2017.  I keep forgetting what batik is.

Clever clues: calling ALAR an "apple application" is pretty devious. "One in a black suit" is SPADE.

Well, it isn't a record, but I did this one fairly quickly.  It was A SNAP.  I have NADA thing to complain about, except maybe that somewhat pointless (if amusingly silly) theme.

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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"...