Friday June 3, 2016 — NYTimes Crossword No. 0429
I finished today’s crossword puzzle in 25 minutes, which is pretty awesome for a Friday. One might think that means I had no problems. In fact, I have a number of problems with some of the words in today’s crossword, and even now I am not sure I’m correct on all of them. So, there could be errors still. It’s just that today I am feeling bold, I put my guesser on overdrive. Thus, the quick time, but the downside is also the possibility of lingering mistakes.
That gave me 17A: BYLINE (A ghostwriter isn’t given one). But that’s about it in the NW. I also saw the sports-related crossers at: 35A: PENALTY (Result of hooking or holding); and 25D: TREY (Shot from behind the arc, informally), but inexplicably (and out-of-character with how I attacked the rest of today’s puzzle) I did not fill in these two yet, and left the NW for greener pastures eastward. This early lack of boldness led later to one of my few mistakes of the day, at 36D: LMAO (“OMG I’m cracking up!”), which I misanswered “ROFL,” and then had to correct.
My courage immediately thereafter kicked in, and stayed with me the rest of the way. I next saw: 38D/10D: GOTO/BED (With 10-Down, turn in); confirmed it with crossers at 41A: ERGO (Conclusion lead in); and 49A: SNO (___ Balls), and off to the races I went.
The SE, when I did return, is also where I encountered my first real problem. I do not know 56A: TERCET (Sonnet-ending unit) [a set or group of three lines of verse rhyming together or connected by rhyme with an adjacent tercet], and had to ply my fledgling knowledge of the French language in order to noodle through 53D: ARME (Pistolet ou canon), so as to complete the quadrant.
From the SE, I returned straightaway back to my vomit at the NW. Once there I filled in 35A: PENALTY, 25D: TREY, noticed my mistake (and made the correction) at 36D: LMAO. I then finally got: 1A: FIVEAM (Graveyard hour), working entirely off the starting “V” in 3D; and 1D: FAB (Dynamite), which my instinct had said was “TNT,” but it never fit.
I had to use logic and spelling to finish the NW in resolving the trio: 15A: ACADIA (Nova Scotia, once), I just didn’t know this one; 4D: EDIE (“Desperate Housewives” housewife), never watched the show — maybe I should turn on a TV now and then? — NOT; and 6D: MAE (Questal who voiced Olive Oyl), feels like I should remember this one for later, it may come in handy one day.
Loved 27A: HAMSTERWHEEL (Squeaker in a cage), and for a moment considered this might echo a minor theme in today’s puzzle, but then I remembered, today is Friday, and when’s the last time a Friday NYT crossword puzzle had a theme (Will Shortz?)?
I do not know 30A: OREL (City on the Oka River), [I’m seeing a trip to Google in my near future — hoping I’m right! lol] and relied completely upon crossers, including: 22D: SHOP (Fill time at an airport, say); 2D: ICYSTARES (Hostile looks), a good word!; and 28D: SLAMPOETRY (Grist for a war of words?), which was my favorite clue/answer pair of the day.
Also noteworthy were: 7A: JETBLACK (Dark as dark can be); 7D: JIGSAWS (Fitting gifts for puzzle enthusiasts?), loved the pun on “fitting”; 11D: LATINLOVER (Valentino type); 29D: ETERNE (Ageless, ages ago), always enjoy the old-tyme spelling; 37A: WEAVING (Shot-putter’s activity), pretty sure I still don’t understand this clue; its crosser at 26D: SERA (Shot putter’s supply?), uber-crafty cross-meaning; 40D: FINLAND (First country in the world with universal suffrage (1906)), which is where I took a major flyer early on, and it paid off big time.