My time: 23:58, not that good.
Tom McCoy designed this one, with the title "Going Head to Head." It showcases eight classical rivalries, but with a twist. The title gives us a clue: the first name is printed in the puzzle backwards, so the two characters in the rivalry are going, in fact, head to head. So we have DIVAD [vs.] GOLIATH, NAMTAB JOKER, SUESEHT MINOTAUR, and so on. My favorite is ETOXIUQ WINDMILL.
The David-Goliath one was the first I filled in, but wrongly (i.e., I put David left to right). After I saw the title, I suspected the first name had to be changed in some way, because Mario wasn't fitting in OIRAM BOWSER.
It's tricky to fill in, but is it wit? I got through most of this puzzle fairly quickly, but a couple of rough patches made the time drag.
The Durham Bulls are an AAA baseball team out of North Carolina.
"One of the o's in o/o" confused me. It's OWNER, as in OWNER-operator, mostly used in the trucking industry.
ENO is a near-weekly answer in crosswords, but this time it's playwright Will ENO, who was nominated for the Pulitzer for "Thom Pain (based on nothing)" and won an Obie for "The Open House."
DRAKE University is in Des Moines, Iowa. The fighting Bulldogs!
The protein shell of a virus is called a CASPID. Caspid the friendly virus coat.
"TD Garden athlete" is BRUIN. TD Garden is an arena in Boston, named for TD Bank, a Canadian financial concern. The Boston Bruins are the ice hockey team.
ELISE Stefanik is a New York Representative to Congress. First elected at the age of 30, she was the youngest woman ever elected to Congress at the time. She is a member of the Republican Party.
I'm a geography know-nothing. "Body of water connected by canal to the Baltic" is the WHITE SEA.
The NSA is based in Ft. Meade, Maryland. Or so they'd like you to think! According to their website, "One reason the site was selected was because it was deemed far enough away from the capital in case of a nuclear strike." That's reassuring.
Wapitis are actually ELKS. And apparently the more accurate name.
The TV show "GLEE" is set in William McKinley High School for the Arts, a fictional school in Lima, Ohio.
"One out four" in a grand slam" is RBI, which I learned on July 9, but promptly forgot, and was surprised anew.
Clever clues: "Potential queens" is PAWNS. "Strong suit?" is ARMOR. "Tours can be seen on it" is a legitimate pun for the LOIRE. "Brightly colored blazer" is SUN. "They're found under a bridge" is NOSTRILS. "Under half of 45?" is B-SIDE.
This was a tough one. AH, ME.
Sunday, September 2, 2018
My time: 6:43 . -- Benjamin Kramer serves us up an ace of a puzzle with this VOLLEYBALL-loving grid. The themed answers LIP SERVICE, th...
My time: 11:43 . -- Today we are treated to a themeless by Sam Ezersky. It's nothing jaw-dropping, but it's a solid Saturday. ...
My time: 17:47 , just one minute too slow for the record! -- Ross Trudeau collected a series of cryptids from divers geographical areas ...