Sunday, September 30, 2018

Sunday's New York Times crossword puzzle solved: September 30, 2018

My time: 24:03.

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Constructor Natan Last suffered a sleepless night, the delicate soul, thinking up this puzzle, titled "Sleep on it," with its elegant, delightful Sunday theme.  Riffing off the fable of the PRINCESS who felt a PEA ("item that disturbs sleep") through a lot of bedding, he has made a rebus puzzle wherein four princesses "lie" (run across) atop various sizes of MATTRESS, and underneath, we see a [PEA] squished into one square.

For example, Disney heroine BELLE runs across QUEEN OF MEAN ("epithet for Leona Helmsley" --- luckily I was New Yorker during her fifteen minutes of fame), and under that, S[PEA]R("fishing tool").  Then we have sexy warrior princess XENA atop a TWIN SISTER, over S[PEA]K.  Beloved space princess LEIA is on a FULL BODIED ("like Merlot and zinfandel, typically") mattress, over AP[PEA]LS ("kind of court").  And finally, British princess ANNE, lying on a roomy KING SOLOMON ("builder of Israel's first temple"), on a [PEA]HEN.

Did you know the 2011 NBA champs were the MAVS?  Probably you did.  I didn't.

For "Nissan Leaf, e.g." I put *HYBRID but it's the much worse ECOCAR.  What a terrible word.  Who says this?  In a similar vein, "Persians, e.g." is not *CATS but RUGS.  Tricky!

I did not know ENT was Old English for "giant."

We all know ABBA's greatest hits, but I can't recognize them from their lyrics!  "S.O.S." is the song that begins "Where are those happy days?"

Despite the fact that I've been living in Texas for hundreds of years now, all new to me is the Texas-based oil and gas concern TESORO, now rebranded as Andeavor.

ZETA is the Greek letter that's sixth of 24.  It comes after alpha, beta, delta, gamma, and epsilon.

"So long" was recently *ADIOS, but today it's ADIEU.

I've never heard of RIC Burns, a documentarian like his massively more famous brother.

Chaac is the Mayan RAIN GOD.  With his lightning axe, Chaac strikes the clouds and produces thunder and rain.  That's so metal!  |m|

LES McCann is a jazz pianist and vocalist.  His big splash was the 1969 live album Swiss Movement, which contained the hit Vietnam critique "Compared to What."

I love that NEIL [PEA]RT and his 360-degree drum kit made it into the puzzle!

I don't know much about probability.  A FAT TAIL is when there is a higher chance than normal for extreme events.  That's a new term to me!

"Future plan for many an econ major" is B SCHOOL.  I guess that's how hip people say business school.  I bet people who go to B school know what a fat tail is.

The Temple of Artemis was in EPHESUS, in present-day Turkey.

ANISE is the flavoring in the drink arak, a distilled spirit popular in Ira and Turkey.

Apparently, Karl Benz debuted the world's first automobile in MANNHEIM, where he founded Benz & Co. in 1883.  His first combustion-engine car had three wheels!

I don't like clues that are too vague and can take more than one accurate answer.  "Wild _____" is a lame clue.  I put *ONES but it's OATS.  They're both good answers.  A better clue for this answer would be "something you might sow" or such ilk.

New Left organizations SDS, or Students for a Democratic Society, was investigated way back on October 15, 2017.

J'adore, a perfume by DIOR, was identified on March 29.

"Concerning a pelvic bone" is ILIAC, last seen on April 30.

EGEST last appeared on April 21, but we've never had EGESTA, the noun form, discharged matter.

Clever clues: "Jesus, for one" is ALOU.  "Ear piece?" is COB.  "Back cover?" is CAPE.  "Debunk?" is ROUST --- I put *ROUSE, which seems correct enough (as mentioned, I hate it when clues are so vague they allow more than one perfectly accurate answer).  "He might provide assistance after a crash" is I.T. GUY --- it could have been AA or even some kind of financial advisor.  "Collapsed red giant?" is USSR.  "Grp. with a saving plan?" is EMTS.

Wow.  Although I got stuck in a RUT or two, and I HAD A FEW errors that I stuck with too long, I still enjoyed the heck out of this puzzle.  Such a clever and charming theme!

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