Sunday, November 18, 2018

Sunday's New York Times crossword puzzle solved: November 18, 2018

My time: 21:19.

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Byron Walden and Joel Fagliano blended their discrete talents together (into a new man, Byroel Waldiano) to make this crossword, which takes certain portmanteau words and gives them a new, totally fake meaning.  In other words, they become... "Portmanfaux."  Ha!  Bilingual humor.

Anyhoo, in this puzzle the themed answers run (somewhat confusingly, to me, at first) like this: two words that go together, followed immediately by the portmanteau word that fits, but isn't really derived from, that phrase.  "Late morning meal for a TV family?" is BRADY BUNCH BRUNCH.  "Satchel for a homicide detective?" is MURDER CASE MURSE.  "Utensil for eating some cured meat?" is SALTED PORK SPORK.  Perhaps the most ludicrous, and thus my favorite, is "one way to buy mustard cheaply?" which is GREY POUPON GROUPON.

And now the fill!

"Houston squad, casually" is 'STROS!  "Hey, you catch that 'Stros game last night?" That can't be real.

MUDCAT is the colloquial name given to the bottom-feeding catfish of the Mississippi.

Did you know RBIS are sometimes called RIBEYES?

In this crossword, URI usually means University of Rhode Island (go Rhodies!) but today URI is the Swiss canton where William Tell made his famous shot.

A variety of poker known as HI-LO is when the winning high hand splits the pot with the hand that is the lowest, disregarding straights and flushes.  If you have a straight and the lowest run of cards, you can take both!  This is called a scoop.

I never knew that ERASMUS is credited with the phrase "in the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king."

I also didn't know that UTICA is on the Erie Canal.  However, much more interesting is that its nicknames include "Sin City" and "The City That God Forgot."

Never heard of EVAN Spiegel, founder of Snapchat.

"Peter's chief of staff on 'The Good Wife.'"  We're really going down the useless shaft of the trivia mine here, aren't we?  It's ELI Gold, played by Alan Cumming.

"Hit the hide off a baseball" is RIP IT.  Is it, though?

IMRE Nagy was the 44th Prime Minister of Hungary, a communist (though not Soviet-backed) politician who was executed after his government was brought down by Soviet invasion.

I read Walden centuries ago and didn't care for it at all, but maybe I was too young and stupid for it.  Anyway, the LOON is one of the animals that seems to symbolize something else: being at home in both water and the air, it represents Thoreau's quest to be integrated into the natural world.  But he can't catch it, because that quest is impossible.

The Prisoner of Zenda is an 1894 adventure novel by Anthony Hope.  In it, the King of RURITANIA is prevented from attending the coronation that must take place for him to stay on the throne.  So an Englishman who resembles the king is brought on as a decoy.

Anatomy lesson: the rotator cuff, actually not a single thing but a group of muscles and tendons, rotates the HUMERUS.

The president of Costa Rica from 1986 to 1990 and from 2006 to 2010, OSCAR ARIAS Sánchez won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1987 for his work to end the civil wars in Central America, efforts which led to an accord signed in Guatemala.

Delmonico steak was extensively researched back on June 4, but was defined as a strip steak or short loin.  Now they say these cuts are RIBEYES.  That's one of the possibilities.  The current iteration of the Delmonico served at Delmonico's in New York is a ribeye.  But some differ.

I've heard of a white paper, but a BLUE PAPER is a newer term.  It refers to a detailed list of the technical specifications of a technology.

CHU Hsi, spelled in Pinyin Zhu Xi, was a Song Dynasty Confucian philosopher.  He was the leading figure in rationalist Confucianism of his era. His contributions to Chinese philosophy include his assigning special significance to the Analects, the Mencius, the Great Learning, and the Doctrine of the Mean (the Four Books), his emphasis on the investigation of things (gewu), and the synthesis of all fundamental Confucian concepts.

Christoph Willibald Gluck was an 18th century Bohemian composer.  One of his most famous works is Orfeo ed EuridiceAnyway, the character of Orfeo is an ALTO, at least sometimes.

"Crescent-shaped Italian pastries" are CORNETTI, or "little horns."  Cornetti are the croissant's richer, sweeter cousin. The dough is enriched with egg and sugar, and flavored with vanilla and fresh orange and lemon zest.

"Flora and fauna" is BIOTA, a new word to me, but it means just what it says, the animal and plant life in a biome.

I have never heard the end to the Churchill quote about the riddle wrapped in a mystery, etc.  It ends "...but perhaps there is A KEY."  The next sentence is also nearly always left off: "That key is Russian national interest."

The ION channel appeared on January 28.

The baseball hit ("just beyond the infield") BLOOP appeared on August 1.

Clever clues: "Elevators in an office building?" is HEELS. "Nurse" is SIP.  "Can-can dancing?" is TWERKING.  "Split personality?" is EX PARTNER.

And that's a RAP!  This took a dreadfully long time, but I enjoyed the challenge.  And now, I gotta HAUL ASS.

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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"...