NYTimes Crossword

Wednesday June 22, 2016 — NYTimes Crossword No. 0518

Wednesday June 22, 2016 — NYTimes Crossword No. 0518

Today I completed my crossword puzzle while having breakfast at my new favorite morning spot, Angel Platters, 2931 Sunrise Blvd., Suite 100, Rancho Cordova, CA 95742, http://www.angelplatters.com/. My waitress today was Chelsea. Excellent food, friendly service, a great value. 

I handled most of the today’s puzzle pretty readily. Did run into a couple of problem spots, primarily in the NW, which is where I finished this morning. 46 minutes. Breaking no records this week, but if having fun is the measure of success in life, then I am doing quite well. 

I got tricked. No other way to explain it. The theme was rather cute. The three long horizontals, 15-letters apiece, each had a punny crosser, which were also related one to another. I liked it. 

Now to how I got tricked… The first themed clue is at 17A: ANTARCTICCIRLE (Where the midnight sun can be observed). I had confidently said, “The Arctic Circle,” and had no doubt I was right — very Northern Hemisphere-centric of me, I know. This mistake trapped me in the NW for quite a time. I even built on my error in misanswering 2D: VONAGE (Internet-based phone provider) as “E-Phone,” a completely made up communications company, invented by me on the fly, solely so I could mis-solve this crossword clue. 

Eventually I worked out my Northwestern dilemma, and solved: 1A: AVA (DuVernay who directed “Selma”), didn’t know her; 14A: MOC (Comfy shoe), an integral part for me in figuring out this corner; 20A: ZAIRE (African nation renamed in 1997), which was giving me fits, as I wanted it to be “Congo” [didn’t Congo also change names? Not sure… ]; 23A: EGOISM (Diva’s problem), this one also helped; 27A: DEN (Place for a trophy case); 1D: AMAZED (Bowled over), which is where I started looking to the southern pole for my redemption; 3D: ACTION (Kung Fu movie genre), took forever to see, but this is where the quadrant finally came together for me; and 18D: ARI (Singer Grande, to fans).

The first of three themed crossers, this one paired with ANTARCTICCIRCLE, was at 4D: FORESEES (What 17-Across has, phonetically) [“Four C’s,” clever, huh?].

Before I got FORESEES, I first had to solve: 4A: FAMINE (Cause of 1840s-’50s emigration from Ireland); 15A: OCELOT (Spotted wildcat), which a discussion with a friend this morning reveals to be a bit of crosswordese; 5D: ACC (Georgia Tech’s athletic org.); 6D: METH (Crystal ___), not sure I approve of this being in the crossword puzzle; 7D: ILIAD (Tale of Troy); 8D: NOCHE (Night, in Nicaragua), a little Spanish lingo for you; 9D: ETC (And more, briefly); and 21A: HAH (“As if!”).

It took some effort, and most of the crossers, for me to get 25A: DEFOE (Daniel who created Friday), I immediately got the reference, but didn’t remember the author’s name [“Robinson Crusoe,” 1719].

I had no problems in the NE with: 19D: IRON (Pitching wedge, for one); 10D: STREETROD (Souped-up vintage auto); 11D: ARCS (Jump shot paths); 12D: MALT (Brewer’s ingredient); 13D: EYES (Some glass prostheses). Also: 10A: SAME (“___difference!”); 16A: TRAY (Airline seat part); and 22A: RESTS (Chills out).

The second themed pair, these in the center, were at: 38A: THATSAMOOTPOINT (“No need to discuss it”); and 26D: FORTIES (What 38-Across has, phonetically) [“Four T’s”].

Also in the Central District were: 38D: THE (Article with no equivalent in Russian), I speak a little Russian, and I never realized this; 39D: HAN (Chinese dynasty after the Qin), a logical deduction, and not from any knowledge of Chinese history; 40D: AID (Rescuer’s offering), I remember this movie; 34D: STRIKETWO (Worrisome call at home), cute clue; 24D: MENACES (Poses a danger to); 29D: LAMA (Mantra-chanting priest); 35D: TOR (Only non-U.S. MLB team, on scoreboards), when I was growing up there were two, including the Montreal Expos; 36D: OORT (___ cloud (source of comets)); 41D: PENITENT (Showing sorrow); 31D: AHI (Tuna at sushi bars); 32D: PEN (Word with pig or play); and 33D: EAT (Absorb, as a loss).

Other central horizontals include: 28A: EEL (___ pie (old British dish)), sounds delightful [??]; 30A: ONTAPE (Like early audiobooks); 34A: SENATOR (One out of 100), neat clue; 37A: RHEA (Actress Seehorn of “Better Call Saul”), I’m not great on the TV clues; 42A: HAIR (It may be put in a bun), or hamburger; 43A: CARRIED (Won, as a voting); 44A: ENDIVE (Bitter salad green), my favorite inclusion of the day; 46A: TEN (Decimal base); and 50A: KESHA (Singer with the #1 hit “TiK ToK”), which I got from the nifty capitalization.

The third and final crossing themers were in the South, at: 61A: FANTASYBASEBALL (Rotisserie League game); and 47D: FORAYS (What 61-Across has, phonetically) [“Four A’s”].

Southern verticals also included: 55D: IFSO (“In that case …”); 56D: RANT (Go on a tirade); 57D: KNOT (Macrame feature); 45D: VEDA (Hindu sacred writing); 62D: SPA (Place to wear a wrap); 51D: HOYAS (Georgetown athletes); 52D: ARBYS (“We have the meats” fast-food chain); 59D: EASE (Stress-free state); 63D: SIR (Elton John title); 54D: MOB (Unruly bunch); 48D: ANTLER (Half a rack, to a hunter); and 49D: TESLAS (Cars since 2006).

Southern horizontals are: 47A: FAT (“___ chance!”); 53A: SIMONE (Nina of jazz); 55A: IRKED (Ticked off); 58A: ORE (Great Lakes freighter load, perhaps); 60A: TORTS (Grounds for lawsuits); 64A: SNOW (Pre-Cable TV problem); 65A: PAYSIN (Contributes, as to a pool); 66A: YEA (Roll call vote); 67A: OTTO (“The Simpson’s” bus driver); 68A: ASSERT (State confidently); and 69A: SRS (Most univ. applicants).