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Friday May 26, 2017 – NYTimes Crossword No. 0421 

John Houseman, The Paper Chase (1973)

I haven’t posted in this blog since August 2016. I had valid reasons to take a break when it started. But after awhile, it just became habit. So, today we begin again. 

“All diplomacy is a continuation of war by other means.” – Zhou Enlai

Today’s puzzle was a little political. We have Richard Nixon, Dag Hammarskjöld, and Hello Kitty. That’s just a bit much for me. 

Dag Hammarskjöld, Swedish diplomat, economist, and author, who served as the second Secretary-General of the United Nations, from April 1953 until his death in a plane crash in September 1961.

Hello Kitty (born November 1, 1974)

 
I did enjoy the nod to Miriam Makeba. You might appreciate her 1960 “The Click Song.” https://youtu.be/Qg4Fp-A7IRw
And what’s not to like about Nancy Sinatra? 
https://youtu.be/SbyAZQ45uww

Altogether, this was a very 1960s-1970s themed puzzle. A little esoteric for my taste. Finished in 39:42. Call it forty minutes. 

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Blade Runner

All my nerdy friends shalt surely like this.

Typeset In The Future

After studying Alien in intimate detail, it’s time to look at the typography and design of Ridley Scott’s other classic sci-fi movie, Blade Runner. Based on Philip K. Dick’s novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, Blade Runner cements Scott’s reputation for beautiful, gritty, tech noir science fiction.

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NYTimes Crossword, Uncategorized

May 19, 2016 — Thursday Crossword — NYTimes No. 0414 (originally published 4/14/16)

May 19, 2016 — Thursday Crossword — NYTimes No. 0414 (originally published 4/14/16)
Thursday puzzles typically include some type of tricky solving mechanism, often involving a rebus or some other sneakiness. Today the inner puzzle clue was at the center, 37A: WATERSLIDES (Summer amusements … or a literal description of three answers in this puzzle). 


The three referenced answers are, in the order I encountered them: 51A: DONNYBROOK (Free-for-all), the “brook” being on a downward sloping diagonal (a “waterslide”); 21A: CHICKENRUN (Fowl territory?), I had issues with this definition of “run” as referring to a body of water (it took me awhile to “run down” this definition — Google lists it as the 11th definition of the noun run: “a small stream or brook” — feels like a stretch to me); and 28A: LAMESTREAM (Like traditional media, to some), I hadn’t heard this usage before, but it sounds fun, plus I had trouble spotting “stream,” as perhaps this flows across more geography than I expected. 


I started with some shorties in the SW-ish, with: 41D: IPO (Angel’s payoff, for short); 40A: CIA (Employer whose workers don’t discuss their jobs much, in short); and 40D: CAD (Stinker). Then moved south, where I solved: 63A: IDEA (Noodle concoction), one of my favorite clues of the day; 60D: IDS (Subjects of some voting laws); and 59D: VIE (Battle). 


I was also able to resolve: 45D: AYN (Rand popular with the Tea Party); 43A: APNEA (Nighttime irregularity); 37D: WANNABET (“Care to make it interesting?”); but I was having difficulty completing the corner, not the least reason being that 44D: ENNEAD (Santa’s reindeer, counting Rudolph) was eluding me — in fact, once I got all the crossers, I am able to confirm this word as being unknown to me. 


I then worked East along the southern border. 54A: ANNARBOR (Home of the Big House in college football) helped. I didn’t know this exactly, but it was easy to figure out, especially with the vertical crossers coming into view: 55D: ROAN (Equine color); and 57D: OMOO (Melville’s second novel), a crossword standard. 


The additions of 61A: ROOMY (Spacious) and 53A: MINNOW (Small fry) gave me 53D: MRYUK (Iconic green poison symbol), which was not really known to me, but came quickly, and the corner “K” helped me to spot “Donnybrook.”


I did have problems completing the South with the crossers: 56D: BOYO (Laddie); and 67A: SNOOK (Gesture made with the thumb and nose). I didn’t know either one, and had a hole where these two intersect. I used logic to place the “O,” which turns out to be correct. 


I liked seeing 39D: ELONMUSK (SpaceX CEO) and can’t help wondering: When is he running for President? 


Cute clues for: 50D: TWERKS (Moves behind); and 42A: DREIDEL (Top choice in December?).

But hands down my favorite clue of the day was 10D: CONNOR (Sarah ___, protagonist of “The Terminator”). 


I had fun, even if this crossword took me longer to solve than I like. 54 minutes. Happy Thursday. 

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May 18, 2016 — Wednesday Crossword — NYTimes No. 0413 (originally published 4/13/16)

May 18, 2016 — Wednesday Crossword — NYTimes No. 0413 (originally published 4/13/16)

I suppose this is what happens when I show off on Monday and complete the crossword puzzle in ten minutes. Yesterday took me 23 minutes, and today was 43 minutes… I began to wonder if I’d ever finish! 

The theme was nifty, but it took me awhile to catch a clue. The four long crossers were puns built on common phrases, or brand names: 17A: TELEVISIONCRUET (Oil dispenser on a Food Network show?); 28A: MOUNTAINDUET (Genre for “Dueling Banjos”?); 46A: VANITYFERRET (Weaslelike animal kept as a fashion accessory?); and 60A: MAGAZINERACQUET (Equipment endorsed by Inside Tennis?). You must love puns if you follow the crossword puzzle, so I’m sure you enjoyed this is much as I did. 

Ok, it wasn’t easy for me today. I started in the NE with 16A: APNEA (Sleep clinic concern) and 13D: OATS (Proverbial “wild” things that are sown). I also got 10D: APR (Loan letters), but soon had to leave the corner and moved south, along the Eastern third. 

I next got: 31D: ESPN (World Series of Poker channel); 37A: TIPSY (Slightly pickled); 32D: TYPE (Class); and 45A: ENNE (Cousin of -trix). 41A: OPP (Vs.) eluded me for quite a bit longer, and I wasn’t nearly yet ready to tackle the twelve-lettered crosser at 28A. 

I attempted next the SE and ran into problems, some self-inflicted. 52D: LIEGE (Feudal lord) was next, but initially I placed it incorrectly next door, into 51D, plus I spelled it wrong, as “leige.” I quickly saw the misplacement, but the misspelling followed me for quite a bit longer. 

I also got 53D: YETIS (Himalayan cryptids) and 65A: CGI (Certain special FX). I wasn’t prepared for 69A: TES (Your, French). I got 59A: AERIE (Place for a bald headed baby?) very late (loved the clue!). But my real problem in the quadrant came from 51D. First, I had already screwed up the squares by misfilling my misspelled liege, and then the correct word totally missed me [ERUCT]. I so wanted it to be “erupt” (clue: Burp), but I had never heard of “PGI,” and was wont to change that one. Luckily, my community college French kicked in and I got 69A (that I’ve been to Paris several times helps with that, but only a little, and I was only about 90% certain on this one). So I was stuck with “eruct,” which turns out to be correct. But really, who knew? Certainly not I. 

Moving westward along the Southern border, I came to 68A: WANDS (They may be waved at concerts), which I am still questioning, but “hands” didn’t make much sense to me either, and I’m pretty sure 57D: GNAW (Nibble (on)) is correct. Should have known 62D: REN (Knights of ___, villainous group in “The Force Awakens”), but didn’t, and had to rely on crossers. Liked the clue for 65A: AGENT (Big player on draft day), and loved seeing Sonic the Hedgehog in the puzzle at 58D: SEGA (Its mascot is… ).


Pretty early I answered 24D as “Hopi,” and was sure I was right. I was not. The correct answer is ZUNI (Pueblo people of New Mexico). This is actually the very last thing I got today, when I finally solved 23A: SCHERZO (Lively moment) and completed the final “Z.”


In the center, I appreciated 25D: ONEOFF (Something not repeated) and 39A: GIORGIO (Armani with a plaque on Rodeo Drive Walk of Style).


Playing off the “G” in Giorgio, 39D: GETFUZZY (Comic strip featuring Satchel Pooch and Bucky Katt) wasn’t even fair, because it was practically staring me in my face as I was solving today’s crossword. 


Got to mention 20A: HOSNI (Egypt’s Mubarak), purely for historical reasons. And also 26A: RISK (Hasbro board game in which armies conquer territories), since it is my second favorite board game. (Top five: Chess, Risk, Monopoly, Stratego, Boggle — you’re welcome).

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May 17, 2016 — Tuesday Crossword — NYTimes No. 0412 (originally published 4/12/16)

May 17, 2016 — Tuesday Crossword — NYTimes No. 0412 (originally published 4/12/16)

That was much more difficult for me than I would expect on a Tuesday morning. There were a number of words I didn’t know, and one square was a total guess (I guessed right — I checked after). Took me 23 minutes to solve. Definitely not fast. 


I didn’t bother to think through the inner puzzle until very late. It was kind of cute, but by then it didn’t help me much in solving the crossword. 57A: HAMONRYE (Common deli order … or a literal occurrence five times in this puzzle). I’ve circled the five examples of a ham on rye in the solved puzzle below. 


So what did I not know? Let’s start with: 1A: ATHOL (Playwright Fugard), sorry, never heard of him; and the crosser 4D: OME (Kipling’s “Follow me ___”), which is equally unfamiliar to me. That I also struggled with 5D: LURED (Brought in — which made sense to me, but I didn’t love it, and I was hesitating on the “L” because I was so uncertain about “Athol”) wasn’t helping. Finally, I grew a set and placed the “L,” leaving me with a hole at the intersection of: ATH_L and _ME. I was sure it had to be a vowel, so knew I had five choices (AEIOU and sometimes Y). “O” seemed the only palatable choice, and I went with it. (Correct, it turns out.) Sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good. 

I had a similar problem in the SE, but not nearly as vexing. 46A: ROOTLE (Look for truffles as a pig might) is foreign to me. I was questioning 35D: DIO (One worshipped in Rome), I knew it had to be right, but “Agnus Dei” was in my mind, and I was unsure. Then, for some reason, 47D: THREADS (Clothes, slangily), 48D: LAYETTE (Complete outfit for a newborn), and 49D: EMERSON (Poet/essayist who wrote “To be great is to be misunderstood”) all gave me problems. 58D: ORFEO (“___ ed Euridice” Gluck opera)) is also unknown to me, which only compounded my issues in the quadrant. And I had misanswered 61A: EER (Always, poetically) as “e’en,” which makes no sense, but hey. It’s been one of those days. Finally when Emerson dawned on me, the corner came together, and I made peace with “rootle” (still, rootle?! On a Tuesday?).

I started at 30D: MAI (___ tai), because although I may not drink alcohol, that doesn’t mean I never did. Followed that up with: 29A: LOAMY (Like good soil); and 26D: SYNDROME (Pattern of symptoms). So I felt pretty good at the start. Then as I ventured into the NE, I encountered 9D: ACCRA (Capital of Ghana), which as of this moment I still cannot tell you if that means it is the seat of the country’s political power, or its currency. 


As I’ve said, so far, it has been one of those days. I guess I had fun doing the crossword puzzle today, but right now my head hurts, and I need to set for a moment and think about it…. 

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