Sunday, September 16, 2018

Sunday's New York Times crossword puzzle solved: September 16, 2018

My time: 23:38, kinda slow but not too shabby either.

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Joel Fagliano says "Uh, What?" in this puzzle by adding an extra schwa sound to several themed answers, and cluing them as written.

"One who's just moved to Portland?" is OREGON TRANSPLANT (from organ transplant --- the "uh" is added to the first word).  "LeBron basketball sneaker, e.g.?" is KING JAMES BUYABLE (from Bible).

Now we get political: "intense blowback against a signature Trump proposal?" is RIOTING ON THE WALL (from writing).  I also love SENATOR OF GRAVITY.

I didn't solve easily, and dislike, "bad person to get paired with for a class assignment?" and PROJECT RUNAWAY.  It doesn't parse well.  No one would say someone is a runaway for taking on all the work.  Boo, bad clue.

Anyway, as with all Sundays, there were a few things aside from the theme that I needed help with.

It's only a footnote in history that surveyors who followed Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon used the OHIO River to extend the original Mason-Dixon line.

Andrew AGASSI apparently wrote a tell-all book called Open in 2009.  Never heard of it.

"One of the Leewards" left me baffled.  I didn't know if that was a family name or what.  Finally I remembered that it's a designation for some eastern Caribbean islands.  ST. MARTIN is one of them.   This tiny island is cut in half, French to the north and Dutch to the south.

I also didn't know "flower said to cover the plains of Hades."  It's ASPHODEL, a hardy plant with spiky flowers.  The ASPHODEL Meadows are described in The Odyssey: in the translation by W. H. D. Rouse,"the ghost of clean-heeled Achilles marched away with long steps over the meadow of Asphodel," and the souls of the dead "came to the Meadow of Asphodel where abide the souls and phantoms of those whose work is done."  However, the idea of the flowered plains may predate Homer.

The New York Times crossword puzzle loves a portmanteau.  After all, MURSE appears in this very puzzle.  But PHABLETS?  "Large mobile devices," phone + tablets?  Come on.

In older word news, a SNOOD isn't Dr. Seuss character but a traditional hair net.

TSARS were the rulers during the Time of Troubles, a name which in my mind mostly evokes bloody Irish history.  However, this is a period of Russian history, specifically an interregnum in the 17th century.  After the death of Feodor Ivanovich, the last tsar of the Rurik Dynasty, in 1598, Russia suffered a famine that killed one-third of the population, about two million. Then, during the Polish–Russian War (1605–18), Russia was occupied by the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, and suffered from many civil uprisings, usurpers and impostors.   The period ended with the establishment of the Romanov Dynasty in 1613.

I do not usually see Jewish mystic practice CABALA spelled with a C like that.  It's usually Kaballah, no?

"Ontario city across the river from Buffalo" is FT. ERIE, an Ontario town on the Niagara River.  It is named after the old fort, the last fort to be built due to the Seven Years War.

For "follower of 'ah-ah-ah'" I was thinking of it like a warning and put *NO NO but it's CHOO.

The ABA is a defunct sports organization, the American Basketball Association (there is a current organization of the same name that is unrelated to the old organization), and one of its teams was the Kentucky Colonels.  I thought this might be a team sponsored by fried chicken, but no; the commission of Kentucky Colonel is the highest title of honor bestowed by the Governor of Kentucky. It is recognition of an individual’s noteworthy accomplishments and outstanding service to our community, state and nation.

I really enjoyed the clue "what '...' may represent" for TYPING.  I was delighted when the penny finally dropped on that one.  It's so prevalent nowadays, yet I don't associate those dots with texting nearly as much I do with the printed word.

Also, # means MATE in chess notation.  But ++ is also used.

"Popular Belgian brews" are STELLAS, as in Stella Artois, which I did not know was Belgian.  I'm a Lambic man, myself, back when I was a drinkin' feller.  Stella Artois is now owned by Anheuser-Busch, which is headquartered in Leuven, Belgium,

The colored layer of the eye, the UVEA, came up on March 12.

Clever clues: "Tube tops" is CAPS, like those on toothpaste tubes.  "Case load?" is BEER.  "Harmonized" is used here as an adjective, not a verb --- IN UNISON.  "What's better when it's fine?" is ART.   "Workers who are always retiring?" is PIT CREW.  "Root word?" is RAH.  "Provider of green juice?" is SOLAR PANEL.  "Blue man group?" is SMURFS.  "Something made to be destroyed" is PINATA.

I have COME TO realize that these Sunday puzzles are hard.  They really TAX my brain.  See you Monday!  I BET that goes faster.

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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"...