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.