Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Tuesday's New York Times crossword puzzle solved: October 2, 2018

My time: 8:52, thirty seconds slower than Tuesday average.

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Paul Coulter made this Tuesday terror, a puzzle I believe to be one of the trickiest Tuesdays in recent memory.

The theme uses musicals --- specifically, the titles of two musicals placed together in one line, and then clued as if they formed one phrase.  Since this is not hinted at anywhere in the puzzle, nor are there any other winks to the musical genre in the grid, it kind of falls flat.

"Megacorporation? (1996, 1970)" is BIG COMPANY.  "BIG" is a 1996 adaptation of the Tom Hanks movie.  "COMPANY" is a 1970 musical by Stephen Sondheim, about a single man unable to commit to a relationship.

"Pomade? (1968, 1972)" is HAIR GREASE.  That's my favorite one.  "Supreme Court that's corrupt? (2003, 1982)" is WICKED NINE.  "NINE" is based on the film 81/2 and focuses on a middle-aged film director who is facing a creative block.  Finally, there's "Melted? (2018, 2012)", which is FROZEN, ONCE.  "ONCE" is based on an earlier film of the same name and centers around two struggling musicians in Ireland who fall in love.

Musicals!  Not something I know a lot about.  But it's the total lack of a capper or punchline or twist on this theme that leaves me cold.

"N's in Athens" are NUS, nu being the 13th letter of the Greek alphabet and written ν.  

A new word to me is BASTE, not the cooking term, but meaning "to sew with long loose stitches in order to hold something in place temporarily."

Apparently, the language TAGALOG gave us the word "boondocks."  It is from the word bundok, meaning mountain.

I spent way, way too much time with *USMA at "Annapolis org."  It's USNA, U.S. Naval Academy, not Military Academy!  That was just stupid.

I've heard of STERE, a cubic meter, but I needed help getting there in the puzzle.

If I ever heard of DOBBS FERRY, a village in Westchester, New York, the county where I was born, it was decades ago and long forgotten.

The SEGO lily is Utah's state flower.  Fun fact: The soft, bulbous root of the sego lily was collected and eaten in the mid 1800's during a crop-devouring plague of crickets in Utah.

Did you know A-ROD was a third baseman?  Well, I didn't!  He was also a shortstop.

We all know what an AÇAÍ berry is, but I didn't know there was a Brazilian dish called ACAI na tigela.  Meaning "aćaí in the bowl," it is served frozen as a smoothie in a bowl or glass, and is commonly topped with granola and banana, and then mixed with other fruits and guaraná syrup.

The part of the War of 1812 that was fought on LAKE ERIE took place in 1813.  It was the first unqualified defeat of a British naval squadron in history.  In it, Oliver Hazard Perry led a fleet of nine American ships to victory over a squadron of six British warships.

For "lady of Spain," I put *DAMA but it's DONA.  This crossed my error with *USMA, which was unfortunate.

The Teatro alla SCALA, the opera house in Milan, last appeared on August 3.

Actress SELA Ward of The Fugitive last appeared on April 24.

Clever clues: "Deer sir?" is STAG.  "Carte that comes before the course" is MENU.  "Fall setting" is EDEN --- I had *EDGE at first.

Man, this one was A BIT difficult!  I did not care a FIG for the theme. 

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