Saturday, December 8, 2018

Saturday's New York Times crossword puzzle solved: December 8, 2019

My time: 20:20.

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Trenton Charlson and David Steinberg teamed up for this Saturday, which has no theme but features some pretty tricky and vague cluing!

For example, "out and about" is OPENLY GAY.  "Like Wonder Woman" is PG-THIRTEEN.  "Film villain with one eye" is HAL.  These aren't jokes, just cleverly vague.  This one is ridiculously vague: "post masters?"  That's SYSOPS.  System operators, who create posts on a blog.  Yikes.

I had no idea that the SABLE is a predator of the ermine.  I kind of think of them as the same thing.  Yet, there it is.  The sable tends to hunt small mammals and birds, and at times will even fish. Along with their high meat diets, sables also eat other protein-rich foods such as eggs, as well as a small amount of various berries and plants.

For "access to the slopes" I put *SKI LIFT but it's SKI PASS.  "John, overseas" is sometimes *LOO or *LAV but today it's IAN.

STEEL BLUE, "color achieved during tempering," doesn't appear to be a phrase actual blacksmiths use.

I've never seen MEAN GIRLS, but I guessed it immediately, because what other 2004 movie would have a clique called the Plastics?

It makes sense that Eric CLAPTON is the only three-time inductee into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, but I thought it might be George *CLINTON at first.

For "second-oldest national currency" I put *RUPEE but it's RUBLE, in use since the 13th century. The English pound is the oldest, having been in use since the 8th century.  The ruble is the oldest decimal currency.

The SARGASSO is a sea with no land boundaries, being actually a patch of the Atlantic Ocean, and named for a genus of free-floating seaweed called sargassum.

"2016 WNBA champs, informally" is LA SPARKS.  The Sparks have qualified for the WNBA Playoffs in sixteen of their twenty years in Los Angeles, more than any other team in the league. Why is "informally" in the clue, though?  isn't that their name?

The Greek letter TAU has come up a few times in this blog, but today it's clued as one "that once symbolized life and resurrection."  Mysticism!

For "2012 Nobel peace prize recipient, informally" I had a few letters: THE_U.  So, perhaps influenced by the "Dien Bien PHU" crossing it, my mind went to Vietnamese names:  *THIEU?  But no.  It's THE E.U.

I was not challenged by OONA CHAPLIN, who plays Talisa Maegyr on "Game of Thrones," because she has come up at least twice before.

Clever clues: "It follows directions" is ERN, which baffled me for a long time.  Then I realized it's the suffix for actual directions, as in northern.  "Really clicks with a partner, say?" is TAP DANCES.  "Plot device?" is HOE.  "Some Lord of the Rings characters" is RUNES, the other type of character.  "Forger's mark?' is ART DEALER.  "Long division?" is EON.  "Cool air?" is HIPNESS --- that's a good one.

This was a slowish time for a Saturday.  Those clues were just so tricky!  THANKS, OBAMA.

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Sunday's New York Times crossword puzzle solved: August 2, 2020

My time: 23:35 , not great but still faster than average. Theme: dropping the final "g" of well-known phrases, moving the "g&...