Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Wednesday's New York Times crossword puzzle: November 28, 2018

My time: 17:35, a full seven minutes slower than average.

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Today's time was ridiculously slow, embarrassingly slow, even hilariously slow.  I don't know what the big problem was.  I just got stuck early on and never recovered.  I had an abnormally hard time with vague but not particularly devious clues (like "Strawberry, e,g," for FLAVOR --- I thought it might be about Darryl?).

David J. Kahn is the evil mastermind behind this puzzle that nearly did me in.  Six rings of squares, indicated by circles, spell out words that have something in common.  They are horn, pastry, cuff, poodle (this is the point I gleaned the common denominator), kiss, and door.  All of these can be preceded by French, and they form circles, so the grid-spanning Down answer "historical event suggested by each of the six groups of circled letters" is FRENCH REVOLUTION.  Get it?  Circles?  Revolution?

Why didn't this puzzle run on July 14?

"Staggering" is AREEL.  That took a while!  Probably because it's not a word!

I also had a hard time with "'I am not what I am' speaker."  This is IAGO, proclaiming himself to be a hidden devil disguised as a helpful counselor.

Hernando DE SOTO (1495-1542) was a Spanish explorer and conquistador who was involved in expeditions in Nicaragua and the Yucatan Peninsula, and played an important role in Francisco Pizarro's 1531 conquest of the Inca Empire in Peru, but is best known for leading the first Spanish and European expedition deep into the territory of the modern-day United States. He is the first European documented as having crossed the Mississippi River.

"Provided, as data" is FED IN, which seems a bit off to me.  Are we feeding the machine actual paper?

The third ALMA to appear in this blog is President ALMA Coin of the Hunger Games.  She is played by Julianne Moore in the movies.

For "veil material" I put *TOILE and then *TUILE.  It's TULLE.

RON Darling is a baseball pitcher and commentator.  During his 13-year career, Darling amassed a 136–116 won-loss record, with 13 shutouts. He had 1,590 strikeouts and a 3.87 ERA.

I've never been a huge Abba fan.  I put *BJORN instead of BENNY Anderson.  The other one is Bj√∂rn Ulvaeus.

The ISERE River, in southeast France, merges with the Rhone in Valence.  It is known for its white water kayaking.

"Govt. watchdog until 1996" is ICC, as showcased on June 21, when 1995 was noted as its end date.

Help wanted ad EEO also appeared on June 21.

We learned that ERTE was the cover designer for "Harper's Bazaar" on May 25.

Clever clues: "Tee off" is MIFF.  "Roast a bit" is RIB.  "Roast bit" is ONE-LINER.  "Surfing moniker" is USER ID --- that got me good.  "Emory board feature?" is DEANS.

Whew.  What a long, strange trip that was.  I'm A TAD worn out now.

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