NYTimes Crossword

Thursday June 9, 2016 — NYTimes Crossword No. 0505

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. 


On to the theme … In a game of poker, as in today’s crossword, there are four aces. 


The reveal is at 52A: <ace>INTHEHOLE (Hidden advantage that this puzzle employs four times?). 


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 had wanted 35A: ARIETTA (Short piece at La Scala) to be “Operetta,” but it was too long. Also, I did not know 41A: DERR (Charlie Chan’s creator Earl ___ Biggers), and was reliant upon crossers. 


Had fun resolving the right angled pair 31A/32D: GAS/STOVE (… pilot’s place), of course I was thinking airplanes, and found the punnish meaning to be rather cute. 


Must mention the long verticals in the SW at: 36D: RELIESON (Trusts in); and 37D: IRONWARE (Some pots and pans).


Of course today was 60A: TSAR (Bolshevik’s target), as Tuesday was “Czar.” I love it when clues refer back like that. 


Also like related answers, like 57A: OPERA (Soap ___), with 35A (clue refers to La Scala, see above).


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?? 


Also unsure of 28A: ANION (Fluoride, e.g.), and will promptly ask my Chemistry Professor friend when done here…


I twice misanswered 34A: BLAU (Color of der Ozean), first as “Azur,” and then as “Bleu.” I guess I should work on my German language skills. 


Also missed 15A: DEER (A few bucks?), when I said “Herd.”


Finished on 29A: ANO (Julio is in the middle of it). I had again mixed up my languages when I incorrectly answered “Ete.” 


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. 


Finally, I must mention 39A: RIPLEYS (Classic Sunday newspaper feature that spawned multiple museums, informally). Because hey, Believe it or not…

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