Tuesday August 9, 2016 — NYT Crossword Puzzle No. 0705 — Orig.Pub. July 5, 2016
I was a little confused by the timing of a pirate-themed puzzle in July? National Talk Like A Pirate Day is in September (I know this because it happens to fall on the birthday of my first born). But I’ll go with it…
There are seven (!!!!!!!) themed clues on a Tuesday. I first completed the SE corner, and early answered the reveal at 59A: TREASUREMAP (Pirate’s guide that’s hinted at phonetically by the starts of 17-, 29- and 44-Across). These three clues are: 17A: EXPOSTFACTO (Retroactively, at law), I knew this, but still started filling it in as “ipso facto” duh; 29A: MARXANDLENIN (Red giants), I was thinking Astronomy; 44A: DESPOTICALLY (How Ivan the Terrible ruled), by the time I got here, I was looking for the balance of the phonetic phrase, and I was quite pleased when I saw it. The beginnings of these three are “EX-MARX-DESPOT”; phonetically, “X marks the spot!” Clever, huh?
There were an additional three themed clues, at: 67A: ARRR (Pirate’s interjection), as I sit here wondering, how many pirates actually said, “Arrr”?; 11D: BUCCANEER (Pirate), a not-very-satisfying clue, really… ; and 35D: OLDSEADOG (Pirate, informally), which I did not know, and was not helpful to me at all in the SW corner, which took me FOREVER!!
Before I went to the SE corner, I first answered two clues, one correctly, and the other not. I started at 1A: ETTA (Jazz legend ___ James), whom I love. Next I misanswered 38A: YOLKS (“The ___ on you!” (classic gag line)), by filling in the non-punny alternative, “Joke’s” — this caused me some slowdowns later.
I love (Funnyman Carl) 15A: REINER. I like the word 10D: GROVEL (Abase oneself). I didn’t know 43A: PETREL (Long-winged seabird). My favorite clue of the day was 40A: SPELT (Went letter by letter, British-style).
I messed up twice on 29D: MAKEPAR (Finish a hole between a birdie and a bogey). First relying on my mis-answer at 38A, I said “Even Par.” Once I realized that was wrong, I then mistakenly said “Made Par.”
In the SW, I had my most difficulty, misanswering four clues. The only ones I got right on the first shot were: 65A: NOG (Yule beverage); and 52D: OMEN (Portent). I had troubles with: 52A: OHARA (Maureen of “Miracle on 34th Street”), I didn’t know it and mis-guessed “Omara”; 58A: MUD (Joe), I wasn’t thinking coffee, and wrongly said “Mac”; 62A: EGO (Roman “I”), I was way off base, and stabbing in the dark misanswered “Eta” — the correct answer is much more satisfying; this potpourri of incorrectness gave me a nonsensical reply to 53D, and only when I figured out it was “HUGO” (Science fiction award) did this corner finally come together.