Friday June 17, 2016 — NYTimes Crossword No. 0513
Started easily enough on this Friday morn. Saw 3D: JANIE (Girl with a gun in an Aerosmith hit), and knew I needed to tackle early the long horizontals if I wanted to have a chance today [three at the top, three at the bottom].
So I looked them over, and decided on 1A: PAJAMABOTTOMS (Bedroom set piece?). I got this because the question mark alerted me this was a punny or trick question, and due to the crossing “J” from “JANIE.”
I was pretty confident in my answer, and confirmed it with another three verticals: 4D: AGENDA (What a chair covers); 8D: ODWALLA (Big name in energy bars and smoothies); and 11D: OGLES (Checks out). This was enough for me to get 16A: VANESSAWILLIAMS (Celebrity with the fashion line “V”).
From there I got more northern verticals: 2D: AMAZE (Leave speechless); 6D: ANS (Puzzle hunt?: Abbr.); 7D: BEA (“___ dear …”) [took me a second to see “Be a dear …”]; 9D: TRIBAL (Like some councils) [Is this a reference to anything but the TV show “Survivor?”]; 12D: MOI (“J’accuse!” reply) [“Moi?”]. I now had enough for the final long northern horizontal, at: 14A: IMAGINEDRAGONS (Band with the 2012 double-platinum album “Night Visions”), don’t know the album, but I’ve heard the band on the radio. [Who even listens to the radio anymore??]
I didn’t like the clue/answer pair at 21A: NEED (Want), as I believe these two words have differing meanings, yet I do concede that in the World of Crossword, I can imagine nearly co-equal meanings for these two words [Def: lack or lacking]. I had to overcome my distaste for “NEED” to answer 1D: PIVEN (Jeremy of “Entourage”), which I did not know.
I next got 19A: ABLE (Hacking it); but it took me awhile the get the adjacent words. I did resolve: 10D: TALLY (It may be running), but not straightaway; and 23D: PAIL (Beach mold), which made me smile. I then also [later] solved 31A: ARIA (“Di quella pira,” e.g.). But it took me much longer to noodle through the centralish trio of clues at: 22A: SPLAYS (Flares), just wasn’t seeing it; 22D: SPRAT (Sardine relative), I went fishing deep for this one; 25A: APPALL (Fill with horror), which this clue did [fill me with horror], as I am hating the tortured spelling here.
I rounded out the northern third with: 20A: RAT (One tailed in the sewers), which I thought was a super clever clue, though simple enough to resolve; 13D: SNAREDRUM (Punch line instrument), my favorite clue of the day; 15D: SMARTCAR (Little something for the road?); 24A: ERE (“___ on my bed my limbs lay” (line from Coleridge)); 27A: HDTV (It has good resolution); 32A: FIERCE (Tigerlike); 39A: MRS (Half of a couple); 27D: HEH (Snarky syllable); and 17D: STEVENS (Piano-playing Cat), the capitalization of “Cat” gives this one away.
I didn’t like 36A: SICHUAN (Chinese province where a spicy cuisine originated), because I wanted it to be Szechuan [didn’t fit, too long], not knowing the geographical name is correctly “Sichuan” [is it?].
I had more troubles in the SW, when I confidently misanswered two three-lettered words at: 28A: SAG (Lose energy), I had said “Ebb”; and 50A: AKC (Org. with a name registration), American Kennel Club [I answered DAR, Daughters of the American Revolution]. I also less-assuredly answered correctly one short clue in the area at 43A: RCA (Big maker of 27-Acrosses).
I stared at this quadrant for a good ten minutes without another answer, before I started thinking I might have some problems. Finally I answered: 35D: RES (Thing, at bar), which was easy, once I thought about it; and 26D: PANS (Slams). This was enough for: 34A: ETERNAL (“___ life belongs to those who live in the present”: Wittgenstein); and 37A: ATTEST (Swear), which also, I think, should have been easier for me.
The at long last realization that I had some wrong answers in the area came to me with the inspiration of 29D: ATTACKAD (Mud spot?), I had been thinking four-wheeling or Spartan races, and not political dirt.
I still took a minute to get 28A: SAG, but when I did, 28D: SEAGRAM (Distillery eponym Joseph) came into view. This gave me: 50A: AKC; 40A: GABS (Doesn’t shut up); and then 30D: GETBACKAT (Wreak vengeance on).
At this point I reattacked the lower central area, with: 32D: FIRST (“That’s a ___!”); and 36D: SOUR (Bad way to turn); which finally handed me 36A: SICHUAN. Continuing south, I got: 38A: CORE (Fitness center?), earlier I was thinking “An en” [much too crafty]; then 38D: CRIMEAN (____ Peninsula (2014 crisis site)); 41A: TRUSTS (Targets of President Taft). I found easily enough the related crossers at: 41D: THONGS (Some beachwear); and 44A: TSHIRT (Souvenir item).
I also got: 44D: TAMIL (Source of the words “curry” and “pariah”); 45D: STINK (Perform poorly); 54D: ETA (H); 55D: AGO (Opposite of hence); and 57D: DEN (Place of corruption).
I found more challenging than the North, the southern long horizontals, including: 53A: MAKEMINEADOUBLE (Extra sauce order?); 57A: DATINGAGENCIES (Match.com competitors); and 58A: TALKSNONSENSE (Jibber-jabbers).
I rounded out today’s crossword puzzle in the SE, with: 46A: PRIG (Unlikely swinger), overly cute, or just enough so?; 42D: SPRUCE (Neat), not super familiar with this usage; 47D: RUBIN (Apply, as Bengay), I fought this one, as I was also considering “Put on”; 48D: IDLES (Lies around), the crossers made me more confident on this one; 49D: GEESE (Chuckleheads), don’t get this one. I finished at the crossing of: 52A: CRUDE (Lacking subtlety, say); and 52D: CONS (Takes in), which I had early on misanswered “Nets.”
43 minutes today. Not too bad on a Friday, but breaking no records. I’ll take it.