Thursday, October 18, 2018

Thursday's New York Times crossword puzzle solved: October 18, 2018

My time: 18:41, one minute slower than average.

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I totally whiffed this one by Erik Agard.  Just a lot of second-guessing and hesitation on my part.  And some iffy cluing, in my opinion.  Also, I have strep throat.  So my mind is a bit fuzzy.

The puzzle's theme is not presented in a way to grab your attention.  It centers on the "so-called black national anthem," which is "LIFT EVERY VOICE [and sing]," written as a poem by James Weldon Johnson in 1900 and set to music by his brother John Rosamond Johnson in 1905.

Before the solver gets to that answer, however, he or she finds three somewhat difficult themed clues.  These are "said something in response almost immediately" (DIDN'T MISS A BEAT); "noble domain" (BARONETCY); "volcano's spew" (HOT LAVA --- I don't think of that as spew), and German composer ENGELBERT Humperdinck.  These themed answers show four "lifted" voice types: BASS, TENOR, ALTO, and TREBLE, respectively.

Okay then.

Things started off wrong when I put *NAE-NAE for "American dance move that, for whatever reason, is illegal in Saudi Arabia."  It's THE DAB.

For "twenty under 30" I put *SET, as in like the set of twenty most powerful under 30, etc.  This answer might have made sense if there were an "e.g." at the end of the clue.  But of course, it's actually referring to math.  TEN.

I also got stuck on "Umbrella" singer Rihanna's nickname, RIRI.  I'm not on a nickname basis with Ms. Fenty.

I'm no opera maven.  The soprano in Don Giovanni by Mozart is Donna ELVIRA, a Spanish lady abandoned by the title character.

"Middle of time?" was the clue I got very last.  It's COLON.  That's not clever or wordplay.  It's just kind of dumb.  In the same vein, "8. Abbr." is... AUG??  Sort of.

Further, I stupidly misread a question as "Caribbean region" and not "Caribbean religion with roots in Africa," which is of course SANTERIA, but that's not a region, so I couldn't figure it out!

The RICE Owls have not some up in the crossword before, but I did mention them as being the University of Houston Cougars' archenemies on September 19.

And here's fauxlebrity BECCA Kufrin, who was on "The Bachelorette" once!  Couldn't Asgard have picked someone with a shred of importance or relevance for the name Becca?

RECODE.net is a tech and economic news website that seems like it might be interesting.

I had no idea we had our very own monster, "South Bay" BESSIE, swimming around Lake Erie! (Spoiler: it's not real.)

Now that we know ADELE was born in Tottenham, what do we do?  What a boring clue.

Never heard of the Grey Cup, which is apparently a trophy and the final game for the CFL, or Canadian Football League.  The Toronto Argonauts have the most Grey Cup wins (17) since its introduction in 1909, while the Edmonton Eskimos have the most Grey Cup wins (11) since the creation of the professional CFL in 1958.  These Canucks have awesome team names.  I particularly like the Ottawa Redblacks and the Hamilton Tiger-cats, which also sounds like a turn of the century dance or cocktail.

"Let, maybe" is a very tough clue for NET BALL.

The California MENLO Park came up on May 18

Chuck Todd, newsman and our old crossword buddy!

Whew!  That's a lot of recapping.  This took a A TON of time.  I'd count this one as a near-LOSS.

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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"...