May 18, 2016 — Wednesday Crossword — NYTimes No. 0413 (originally published 4/13/16)
I suppose this is what happens when I show off on Monday and complete the crossword puzzle in ten minutes. Yesterday took me 23 minutes, and today was 43 minutes… I began to wonder if I’d ever finish!
The theme was nifty, but it took me awhile to catch a clue. The four long crossers were puns built on common phrases, or brand names: 17A: TELEVISIONCRUET (Oil dispenser on a Food Network show?); 28A: MOUNTAINDUET (Genre for “Dueling Banjos”?); 46A: VANITYFERRET (Weaslelike animal kept as a fashion accessory?); and 60A: MAGAZINERACQUET (Equipment endorsed by Inside Tennis?). You must love puns if you follow the crossword puzzle, so I’m sure you enjoyed this is much as I did.
Ok, it wasn’t easy for me today. I started in the NE with 16A: APNEA (Sleep clinic concern) and 13D: OATS (Proverbial “wild” things that are sown). I also got 10D: APR (Loan letters), but soon had to leave the corner and moved south, along the Eastern third.
I next got: 31D: ESPN (World Series of Poker channel); 37A: TIPSY (Slightly pickled); 32D: TYPE (Class); and 45A: ENNE (Cousin of -trix). 41A: OPP (Vs.) eluded me for quite a bit longer, and I wasn’t nearly yet ready to tackle the twelve-lettered crosser at 28A.
I attempted next the SE and ran into problems, some self-inflicted. 52D: LIEGE (Feudal lord) was next, but initially I placed it incorrectly next door, into 51D, plus I spelled it wrong, as “leige.” I quickly saw the misplacement, but the misspelling followed me for quite a bit longer.
I also got 53D: YETIS (Himalayan cryptids) and 65A: CGI (Certain special FX). I wasn’t prepared for 69A: TES (Your, French). I got 59A: AERIE (Place for a bald headed baby?) very late (loved the clue!). But my real problem in the quadrant came from 51D. First, I had already screwed up the squares by misfilling my misspelled liege, and then the correct word totally missed me [ERUCT]. I so wanted it to be “erupt” (clue: Burp), but I had never heard of “PGI,” and was wont to change that one. Luckily, my community college French kicked in and I got 69A (that I’ve been to Paris several times helps with that, but only a little, and I was only about 90% certain on this one). So I was stuck with “eruct,” which turns out to be correct. But really, who knew? Certainly not I.
Moving westward along the Southern border, I came to 68A: WANDS (They may be waved at concerts), which I am still questioning, but “hands” didn’t make much sense to me either, and I’m pretty sure 57D: GNAW (Nibble (on)) is correct. Should have known 62D: REN (Knights of ___, villainous group in “The Force Awakens”), but didn’t, and had to rely on crossers. Liked the clue for 65A: AGENT (Big player on draft day), and loved seeing Sonic the Hedgehog in the puzzle at 58D: SEGA (Its mascot is… ).
Pretty early I answered 24D as “Hopi,” and was sure I was right. I was not. The correct answer is ZUNI (Pueblo people of New Mexico). This is actually the very last thing I got today, when I finally solved 23A: SCHERZO (Lively moment) and completed the final “Z.”
Playing off the “G” in Giorgio, 39D: GETFUZZY (Comic strip featuring Satchel Pooch and Bucky Katt) wasn’t even fair, because it was practically staring me in my face as I was solving today’s crossword.
Got to mention 20A: HOSNI (Egypt’s Mubarak), purely for historical reasons. And also 26A: RISK (Hasbro board game in which armies conquer territories), since it is my second favorite board game. (Top five: Chess, Risk, Monopoly, Stratego, Boggle — you’re welcome).