Saturday, September 8, 2018

Saturday's New York Times crossword puzzle solved: September 8, 2018

My time: 25:41, twenty seconds slower than my Saturday average.


Andrew J. Ries came up with this themeless Saturday, which gave me MAJOR trouble.  Lots of weird words and stuff I don't know much about, including sports.

I put together that UNITY is a central principle of the Baha'i faith from my investigation of their tenets and nonagon-shaped temples on May 27.

Balm of Gilead is a RESIN used in perfumery, and mentioned several times in the Bible.

"Practice roster for an NFL team" is TAXI SQUAD.  I've never heard this term.  Why is it even called a taxi squad?  Warning: potentially dubious etymology, smacking of back-formation.

More sports: the GEORGIA DOME, in Atlanta, is the only facility in the world to have hosted the Olympics (the basketball, in 1996), Super Bowl (1994 and 2000), and Final Four (several times).  It was demolished in 2017.  Now all the we have left are the memories.

If something is Florentine, it's also TUSCAN, because Florence (Firenze) is in Tuscany.  It's the capital and the most populous city.

There were so many vague clues and traps I fell into in today's puzzle!  For "follower of Kennedy or Clinton" I put *DEM but it's ERA.  For "baker's unit" I put *DOZEN but it's BATCH.  For "Smoked delicacy" I put *LOX but it's EEL.  I considered several answers for "____ score" --- *NIL, *PAR --- but it's SAT.  I don't like clues that are so open ended.  I have to admire "Excalibur's place;" I thought of *ANVIL and *STONE but it's the casino, in VEGAS.  For "changes color, say" I put *REDYES but it's about color in your face: REACTS.  "Accessory for a bride" is not *TRAIN but TIARA.

Celine Dion is, by birth, a QUEBECER (not how I would imagine the demonym, but there it is).  Unfortunately, *CANADIAN also fit.

I'm proud of myself for knowing BARRE ("dancer's support"), HADJI, and TANGRAM right off.

I've never heard reference to "the Hoboken Four," but it's a musical quartet formed in 1935 after the The 3 Flashes found themselves a kind of talented skinny lad named Frank SINATRA.  They competed in a televised song contest under many names, including the Seacaucus Cockamamies, the Bayonne Bacalas, the Jive Four, and the Jolly Jersey Gypsies of Song.  They broke up after about a year.

DUBOSE Heyward was an author best known for his novel Porgy, which he later adapted with George Gershwin into "Porgy and Bess."

I wasn't sure about the IRS form 1099-INT.  It asks you to catalogue your interest income.

1994 US Open Champ Ernie ELS appeared on December 19, 2017.

A big bagful of clever clues this time around as well: "High note?" is C-SPOT.  "Scratch on the table?" is TIP.  "Cons" is HAS, as in if you were conned you were had --- although I don't think anyone uses it in the present tense.  "People at a theater who don't pay for their tickets" is misleading, because you naturally think of people who sneak in, but it's SEAT FILLERS.  "Name for a big wheel" is FERRIS.  "Small square" is ONE --- I was told there would be no math.  "It provides only partial coverage" is AREA RUG.  This is a devious one: "III, in Ithica" is not asking us for the Greek word for three, as I mistakenly parsed it, but what the letter I is in Greek, so it's IOTAS.  "Jerks' creations" is FLOATS.  "Head, for short" is LAV.

Well, this long solving time just won't CUT IT.  I don't want to come off as NEEDY, but I gotta do better!  No COASTING.

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Sunday's New York Times crossword puzzle solved: August 2, 2020

My time: 23:35 , not great but still faster than average. Theme: dropping the final "g" of well-known phrases, moving the "g&...