Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Wednesday's New York Times crossword puzzle solved: February 13, 2019

My time: 8:37.

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Ross Trudeau presents a puzzle that in my humble estimation is more impressive than fun.  Citing PLANETARY / ALIGNMENT, he constructs a grid in which five circled squares for Across answers running north to south along the center line: GESUNDHEIT, NO OVEN USE, HEARTHS, MARSUPIUM (more on that later), and TAKES A TURN ("rolls the dice and moves one's token").

See the hidden planets, lined up with the sun?  Of course you do.  Now what in God's green earth is a MARSUPIUM?  It is, as the clue suggests, a specialized pouch for carrying young.  Word of the day!  Use it in as many conversations as possible.

I thought of payment of bills when I read "I'll take care of that," so I put *ON ME, but it's really about accomplishing things, so it's ON IT.

Thank goodness someone finally had the courage to put ROOTY TOOTY in a New York Times crossword.

"Outer thigh stabilizers, in brief" is IT BANDS.  This is short for iliotibial band, a thick band of fibers that begins at the iliac crest (the border of the most prominent bone of the pelvis) in the pelvis and runs on the lateral part of the thigh until it attaches into the tibia. The glutes and the hip muscles join it, and the band acts to coordinate muscle function and stabilize the knee during running.

SAN Francisco we all know.  SAN Pedro is a community within Los Angeles and its pronounced "san pee-dro."

I'm ashamed that I did not know the name of Venezeula's president since 2013, NICOLAS Maduro, much in the news lately.

Here are two cities located on a bay: TAMPA, Florida, on Tampa Bay, and OSAKA, Japan, located on Osaka Bay.  Hmmm.  I sense a pattern.

There will never be a shortage of actors on TV that I do not know.  SARA Ramirez played Dr. Callie Torres on "Grey's Anatomy" for ten years and also plays Kat Sandoval on "Madame Secretary."

The USS Intrepid was an aircraft carrier that saw action in WWII and Vietnam.  Her notable achievements include being the recovery ship for a Mercury and a Gemini space mission. Because of her prominent role in battle, she was nicknamed "the Fighting I", while her frequent bad luck and time spent in dry dock for repairs (she was torpedoed once and hit by four separate Japanese kamikaze aircraft) earned her the nicknames "Decrepit" and "the Dry I".  She was decommissioned in 1982 and became the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum in New York City.

Letter after X is not why but PSI, which comes after chi, written as X, as noticed on January 28.

California's MENLO Park last came up on October 18, 2018.

Clever clue: "What bugs are found in" is BETA.  "Bad eye sight?" is STYE.  "One who won't serve the average joe" is BARISTA.

Putting a grid like this together is no small feat, but it wasn't a thrill to solve.  The solar system bodies' names are hidden in other words, so once the theme became apparent, it was easy to plug in the planet names in the circled letters.  Anyway, nothing to RAGE about.  I'm not IN AN UPROAR or anything.  I just found this one a bit of a slog, despite its cleverness.

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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&...