Thursday, September 20, 2018

Thursday's New York Times crossword puzzle solved: September 20, 2018

My time: 21:59, a full four minutes than the Thursday average.

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I don't know how it appeared in the paper, but in the app, Sam Ezersky's tangled web of a puzzle was presented in what I think is an unfair way.  Aside from that, it was just really hard.  But I don't mind difficulty; I dislike it when clues aren't written correctly.

So, the trick of this puzzle is that some portions of some answers appear in a zigzag fashion across the white squares that alternate, in a sort of zipper fashion.  The parts of answers that do this are words that mean filaments, which of course are things that could be crisscrossed in this fashion in real life.

For example, "series of exchanges in a chat window" appears in the puzzle as MESSAGE T, but continuing on through the zippered white squares after that answer, up and down, it reads MESSAGE T/H/R/E/A/D.

"Group that bows onstage" is a pun, which is kind of rough being on top of an especially tricky theme.  It's G SECTION.  With the zigzag part, which precedes this answer, you get S/T/R/I/N/G SECTION.  They use bows!  Ha ha!  Get it??

What really bothered me was the answer for "woven into."  It's INTERL, but if you grasp the gist of this theme by now, you know it continues INTERL/A/C/ED WITH.  The problem is that the clue for the answer reading ED WITH is just "-".  So I wasted a lot of time putting in variants of *EM DASH and so on.  That clue should have been "see 35 Across" or "continuing to be woven into" or something.  Not the meaningless "-".  Boo!  Bad cluing!

And now the fill.

I tripped myself up too; I can't only blame the cluing.  For "African menace," I really wanted it to be *RHINO but it's MAMBA.  For "run out, as a well," I couldn't understand why *DRY UP didn't fit!  Duh, it's GO DRY.  There's more than one way to say something.  I also gave up on "part of a Disneyland postal address," fixating on some street I'd never be able to guess.  It's ANAHEIM CA, double duh!  For "tour division" I put *LEG, as in the Tour de France, but it's GIG, as in a concert tour.

Did you know "Jay Leno's Garage" is aired on CNBC?  Me neither.

SAL soda is sodium carbonate, used to make glass and soap powder.

"I GET IDEAS" is a 1951 song written by Dorcas Cochran, based on a 1927 Spanish song.  It was recorded by Tony Martin, Peggy Lee, Bing Crosby, and Louis Armstrong.  Here are the lyrics.

"One from the Land of Cakes" baffled me.  I only put SCOT because it seemed to fit.  Although half a Brit, I have never in my life heard that Scotland is the Land of Cakes due to its famous oatmeal cakes.

I don't like the spelling AMUCK.  I prefer amok.

I'm not much of a comics reader these days, but I have been reading them for around 35 years or so.  And I had no idea what to put for "alter ego for Lex Luthor."  ATOM MAN?  Turns out it's a name from the old film serials.

"In the cellar" is, surprise surprise, a sports term.  It means in LAST place in baseball.

A BEGONIA is a brightly colored perennial with sepals but no petals.

Drake University is located in Des Moines, so its attendees, if in-state, are IOWANS.

The sun god Inti (worshiped by an INCA) was revealed on May 31.

"Six-time MLB All-Star Rusty" STAUB appeared as an ex-Expo on April 6.

EMI, that old crossword standby, appeared as a parent of Parlophone on January 21.

The abbreviation NSEC appeared on November 27, 2017.

Clever clues: "Outing at which participants go hog-wild?" is BOAR HUNT.  "They're connected to arteries" is SIDE ROADS.  "You'll never get to the bottom of this" is ABYSS.  "Corresponding need?" is EMAIL ACCOUNT.  "Blue-green?" is SEASICK.

Woo, this was tough all around.  ALAS, I had a TUN of trouble.  The funny clues MADE IT BETTER, a bit at least.  Well, must DASH.

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Sunday's New York Times crossword puzzle solved: August 9, 2020

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