Thursday June 9, 2016 — NYTimes Crossword No. 0505
The theme was fun and interesting. I cracked the code in twenty minutes. But that didn’t save me today. I still had quite a bit of difficulty completing the NE, and overall took 69 minutes to finish the puzzle. Which, as I’m sure you know, I’m not proud of. But let me say this: if taking over an hour to complete the NYT crossword puzzle is the bane of my existence, then life is pretty darn good.
Shout out to 61A: JULESVERNE (Whom UNESCO lists as the world’s second most translated author, after Agatha Christie). I love 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Around the World in 80 Days. He’s one of my favorite authors, and an icon in France. There is even a Jules Verne Cafe in the Eiffel Tower.
The other themed clues, in the order I solved them, are: 51D: LIBER<ace> (Longtime Vegas performer), I was thinking Celine Dion, but then perhaps I am from another generation; 68A: VERS<ace> (Big name in Italian fashion), I was struggling with this one, but once Liberace came into view, the meaning became clear; 35D/56D: ADJ<ace>NTTO (Neighboring); 1A: <ace>TATE (Cel material); 13D: <ace>RBITY (Sourness); 12D/30D: CRET<ace>OUS (Period when dinosaurs became extinct), I so wanted the ending to be “era,” but I was wrong; 24A: AMAZINGGR<ace> (Spiritual that lent its name to a 2015 Broadway musical), this took me forever, but once I got it, the NE finally started coming together for me, and I knew the end was near.
I early on got 16A: BLACKSHEEP (Family outcast). Forever I believed I was the black sheep of my family. Until I needed help. And then every single person in my family came to my assistance, and I learned just how deeply I am truly loved. Which is an amazing thing to know, and it is a sad fact that most of us must first die before those close to us finally get the opportunity to demonstrate their devotion.
Though it took me a minute to see it, I enjoyed 1D: TOLIFE (“L’chaim!”). I misanswered 23D: LEGER (Cubist Fernand) as “Degas,” because I was guessing. I didn’t know 2D: ASANAS (Yoga positions), but 22A: TFAL (Nonstick pan brand) bailed me out.
I didn’t like 17D: STA (Stop: Abbr.), and am still not sure what word I have abbreviated? I misanswered 6D: ICELAND (European country whose telephone directories list people alphabetically by first name) [where on Earth are there still telephone directories in use?] — I had said Ireland, not realizing Iceland is considered to be part of Europe. Is It??
Other long verticals today include: 5D: BAHAMA (“Grand” place near Florida); 7D: BREEZIER (More carefree); 10D: NEARGALE (7 on the Beaufort scale); 11D: DEMORNAY (Cruise’s Risky Business co-star); 38D: ALEHOUSE (Tavern); 43D: DROPLET (Bit of dew); 47D: SLEETS (Precipitates in a bad way?); 49D: TERROR (ISIS activity); 50D: AMINUS (Not perfect, but close to excellent), which clue I really liked.