Saturday, February 16, 2019

Saturday's New York Times crossword puzzle solved: February 16, 2019

My time: 17:00.

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I enjoyed this challenging themeless by Andrew Kingsley and John Lieb.  It was a nice mixture of vague, playful clues and fun fill (PANSEXUAL, MANSCAPING, FLEX TIME), nothing really out of the ordinary --- just good smart puzzle construction.

The first clue that got me was "another moniker for the Empire City of the South."  Now we all know that New York is the Empire City.  But the Empire City of the South, it turns out, is Atlanta.  And another nickname that great city sports?  HOTLANTANo one calls it that!

Remember GO-BOTS?  I'm old enough to!  The Betamax of transforming robots.

For "couple seen on Raisin Bran boxes" I put *GLOVES but it's, duh, SCOOPS.  For some odd reason I was envisioning two gloved hands holding scoops, but it's the sun.

Walter LANG was a film director, known for The King and I, State Fair, and Cheaper By the Dozen (1950).

I don't remember ever hearing of SET, a game using 81 cards.  Each card contains four features: color (red, purple or green), shape (oval, squiggle or diamond), number (one, two or three) and shading (solid, striped or outlined), and players try to identify sets out of those qualities.

I figured that the 2004 autobiography The Soul of a Butterfly would be by Muhammad ALI (with his daughter).

I immediately thought GENIE for "someone who might say 'you wish!'" and discarded it.  But it's the answer, all right.  Doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me.  Why would a genie say that?

MONA Van Duyn published her first poetry collection, Valentines to the Wide World, in 1958, won the Pulitzer Prize in 1991, and became the U.S. poet laureate in 1992.  But is her work good?

I have never seen any "Downton Abbey," so it's a surprise to me that Lady SYBIL Branson is the rebellious daughter on the show.  How?  Does she marry a commoner?  Or just live a party girl life?  Maybe one day I'll find out.

For "Italian hors d'oeuvre" I put *ANTIPASTO, which is just a translation, and happens to fit.  But it's asking for a particular type of antipasto --- CARPACCIO, thin slices of raw beef with lemon juice and capers.  Yum!

"What Homer used to propose to Marge" is such a terrific clue for ONION RING.  Love it.

Is that a PISTIL in your flower, or is it just happy to see me?  The pistil is composed of the stigma, style, and ovary.  The stigma is the sticky knob at the top of the pistil. It is attached to the long, tubelike structure called the style. The style leads to the ovary that contains the female egg cells called ovules. And that's the anther to your question about flowers.

Kitchen gadget brand OXO last appeared on April 17, 2017.

"Some prep school wear" is ETONS, which as we learned on November 7, 2017, can be either a cap or a collar.

Clever clues: "You may train to get in it" is SHAPE.  "Kite grippers" is TALONS.  "Scratch" is CANCEL.  "Bullish figure?" is MINOTAUR.  "Third character to appear in 'Macbeth'" is CEE, ha ha.  "It may be made into spears" is PICKLE.  "It points sharply down" is ICICLE.  "Bob's relative" is PIXIE CUT.  "How many Oscar acceptance speeches are delivered" really fooled me good --- I kept thinking of what number that could possibly be.  It's IN TEARS, is how.  "Whipper snapper?' is DOMINATRIX --- that's a good 'un. "Cover letters for certain applications?" is SPF.

What a well-done puzzle, fun and challenging!  It was just to my TASTE.

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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&...