0114-18 NY Times Crossword Answers 14 Jan 2018, Sunday

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Constructed by: Joel Fagliano
Edited by: Will Shortz

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Today’s Theme: Supreme Intelligence

There are six supreme court justices hidden in today’s gird. Each name is written in the across-direction, and extends over three clues. So, each JUSTICE is OBSTRUCTED by two black squares. Can you spot them in the grid? The justices are:

  • Row 1: ANTONIN SCALIA
    Antonin Scalia was appointed to the Supreme Court by President Reagan in 1986, and was the longest serving member of the court on the occasion of his passing in 2016. Justice Scalia’s minority opinions were known for the scathing language that he used to criticize the Court’s majority.
  • Row 3: ABE FORTAS
    Abe Fortas was a US Supreme Court Justice from 1965 to 1969. Fortas has to resign his position on the bench due to a scandal about payments received, allegedly for favors granted.
  • Row 7: EARL WARREN
    Earl Warren served as Governor of California from 1943 to 1953 and as US Chief Justice from 1953 until 1969. Earlier in his career, Warren served as district attorney for Alameda County in California (which happens to be the county in which I live). Warren lent his name to the Warren Commission that he chaired, which investigated the assassination of President Kennedy.
  • Row 15: ELENA KAGAN
    Elena Kagan was the Solicitor General of the United States who replaced Justice John Paul Stevens on the US Supreme Court. That made Justice Kagan the first female US Solicitor General and the fourth female US Supreme Court justice. I hear she is a fan of Jane Austen, and used to reread “Pride and Prejudice” once a year. Not a bad thing to do, I’d say …
  • Row 19: SONIA SOTOMAYOR
    Sonia Sotomayor is the first Hispanic justice on the US Supreme Court, and the third female justice. Sotomayor was nominated by President Barack Obama to replace the retiring Justice David Souter.
  • Row 21: STEPHEN BREYER
    Associate Justice Stephen Breyer was appointed to the US Supreme Court by President Clinton in 1994. Justice Breyer is from a San Francisco family. He and his brother are Eagle Scouts. In 2007, Breyer was given the Distinguished Eagle Scout Award by the Boy Scouts of America.

Bill’s time: 15m 39s

Bill’s errors: 0

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Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

8. Presidential advisory grp. : NSC

The National Security Council (NSC) was created by President Harry S. Truman in 1947. The NSC is chaired by the sitting president and meets in the White House Situation Room.

19. Major work : OPUS

The Latin for “work” is “opus”, with the plural being “opera”. We sometimes use the plural “opuses” in English.

21. Like the French directors Eric Rohmer and Jean-Luc Godard : NEW-WAVE

Éric Rohmer was a French film director, critic and journalist. He was regarded as one of the French New Wave filmmakers, along with François Truffaut and Jean-Luc Godard.
Jean-Luc Godard is a so-called “Nouvelle Vague” (New Wave) cinematographer, making movies that challenge the conventions of both traditional Hollywood and French cinema.

24. Kind of elephant : ASIATIC

There are only three species of elephant living today, with all others being extinct. These are the African bush elephant, the African forest elephant, and the Asian elephant (or “Indian elephant”). As is well known, the African elephant is distinguished from the Asian/Indian elephant by its much larger ears.

25. Last monarch of the House of Stuart : ANNE

Queen Anne was the last of the Stuarts to rule in the British Isles, and the first sovereign of the Kingdom of Great Britain (after England and Scotland united). Anne was the last of the Stuart line because she died without any surviving children, despite having been pregnant seventeen times.

26. Destructive sort : SABOTEUR

There is a story that disgruntled textile workers would kick their wooden shoes, called sabots, into the looms in order to disable them so that they didn’t have to work. This act of vandalism was named for the shoe, an act of … sabotage.

29. Photographer Adams : ANSEL

As an avid amateur photographer, I have been a big fan of the work of Ansel Adams for many years and must have read all of his books. Adams was famous for clarity and depth in his black and white images. Central to his technique was the use of the zone system, his own invention. The zone system is a way of controlling exposure in an image, particularly when there is a high contrast in the subject. Although the technique was developed primarily for black & white film, it can even apply to digital color images. In the digital world, the main technique is to expose an image for the highlights, and one or more images for the shadows. These images can then be combined digitally giving a final photograph with a full and satisfying range of exposures.

31. Android’s counterpart : IOS

iOS is what Apple now call their mobile operating system. Previously, it was known as iPhone OS.
Android is an operating system for mobile devices that was developed by Google. Android is mainly used on touchscreen devices like smartphones and tablets, although versions have been developed for cars (Android Auto), for televisions (Android TV) and for wrist watches (Android Wear). Android is the most successful operating system today, having the most extensive installed base.

32. ___ Xtra (soda) : PIBB

The soft drink on the market today called Pibb Xtra used to be known as Mr Pibb, and before that was called Peppo. Peppo was introduced in 1972 as a direct competitor to Dr Pepper.

36. Worked from home? : UMPED

Back in the 15th century, “an umpire” was referred to as “a noumpere”, which was misheard and hence causing the dropping of the initial letter N. The term “noumpere” came for Old French “nonper” meaning “not even, odd number”. The idea was that the original umpire was a third person called on to arbitrate between two, providing that “odd number” needed to decide the dispute.

41. Bug-studying org. : NSA

National Security Agency (NSA)

42. Steinbeck novella set in La Paz : THE PEARL

“The Pearl” is a 1947 novella written by John Steinbeck. The work was inspired by Mexican folk tale, and is about a pearl diver called Kino.

La Paz is the capital city of the state of Baja California Sur in Mexico.

46. Topic for Sun Tzu : WAR

“The Art of War(fare)” is an ancient military text that is attributed to a high-ranking Chinese general called Sun Tzu. I’ve even seen the principles in Sun Tzu’s book applied to modern business.

49. Shakespearean king : HENRY VI

The consensus seems to be that William Shakespeare wrote 38 plays in all. Seven of the plays are about kings called “Henry”:

  • Henry IV, Part 1
  • Henry IV, Part 2
  • Henry V
  • Henry VI, Part 1
  • Henry VI, Part 2
  • Henry VI, Part 3
  • Henry VIII

50. Retired chat service : AIM

Even though instant messaging (sending IMs) has been around since the 1960s, it was AOL who popularized the term “instant message” in the eighties and nineties. The “AOL Instant Message” service was known as AIM.

52. Perry of fashion : ELLIS

Perry Ellis was a fashion designer from Portsmouth, Virginia. Ellis was noted for his sportswear creations.

58. “Twelfth Night” twin : VIOLA

William Shakespeare wrote his comedy “Twelfth Night” as a Christmas entertainment (Twelfth Night being the end of the Christmas season). The play’s protagonist is a young woman named Viola. The plot calls for Viola to dress as eunuch named Cesario who goes into the service of Duke Orsino. Orsino has Cesario go to Duchess Olivia to express his love for her. But Olivia falls for Cesario, Cesario (Viola) falls for Orsino, and hilarity ensues …

62. Thin pancake : BLIN

A blintz (also “blin”, plural “blini”) is a thin pancake similar to a crêpe although unlike a crêpe, a blintz may contain yeast.

71. Stewbum : SOT

Our word “sot” comes from the Old English “sott”, meaning “fool”. The word “sot” started to be associated with alcohol and not just foolery in the late 1500s.

72. Noted brand of guitars : IBANEZ

Ibanez is a brand of guitar from Japan. Ibanez guitars are named after the Spanish guitar maker Salvador Ibáñez, who plied his trade in the late 1800s and early 1900s.

75. Online admin : SYSOP

System Operator (sysop)

77. Where a big bowl is found : PASADENA

The Rose Bowl is the stadium in Pasadena, California that is home to the UCLA football team. It is also host to the Rose Bowl football game held annually on New Year’s Day.

79. Indication to bow slowly, say : LENTO

A “lento” passage is a piece of music that has a slow tempo. “Lento” is Italian for “slow”.

85. Poe ode : TO HELEN

Edgar Allan Poe wrote two versions of his poem “To Helen”. The “Helen” in the poems might be the Greek goddess of light or perhaps Helen of Troy. If fact Poe wrote the poem in honor of Jane Stanard, who was the mother of one of his childhood friends.

89. Nicknamed : AKA

Also known as (aka)

90. Largest moon in the solar system : GANYMEDE

Ganymede is the largest of Jupiter’s sixty-seven moons, and is the largest moon in the Solar System. Ganymede was discovered in 1610 by Galileo. Astronomer Simon Marius gave the moon the name Ganymede, for Zeus’s lover in Greek mythology.

98. Frequent Twitter poster : BOT

A bot is computer program that is designed to imitate human behavior. It might crawl around the Web doing searches for example, or it might participate in discussions in chat rooms by giving pre-programmed responses. It might also act as a competitor in a computer game.

99. Thick hairstyle : SHAG

A shag cut is a layered hairstyle. Actress Meg Ryan famously sported a shag cut for many years.

103. For the case at hand : AD HOC

The Latin phrase “ad hoc” means “for this purpose”. An ad hoc committee, for example, is formed for a specific purpose and is disbanded after making its final report.

105. Hooded cloak : CAPUCHIN

The Order of Friars Minor Capuchin is an order of Roman Catholic friars, an offshoot of the Franciscans. The order split from the Franciscans back in 1520, and were forced to go into hiding from church authorities. The new order was helped by the Camaldolese monks, and in recognition of their assistance, the breakaway monks adopted the Camaldolese hood, known as a capuccio. It is this “capuccio” that gave the order its name, and indeed ultimately gave the name to the Capuchin monkey. The cappuccino coffee is named for the coffee-and-white colored habits worn by Capuchin friars.

120. Häagen-Dazs alternative : BREYERS

Breyers ice cream was introduced by William A. Breyer in 1866, in Philadelphia. Always known for using all-natural ingredients, Breyers products made in recent years contain more and more food additives in an attempt to cut costs in a competitive market. In fact, most Breyers products can’t even be labeled “ice cream” anymore as they don’t contain enough milk and cream and so are labeled “frozen dairy dessert” instead.

Down

1. Big name in Scotch : DEWAR

Dewar’s is a blended Scotch whisky introduced in 1846 by John Dewar. Dewar’s White Label is the company’s most popular Scotch, first created in 1899, with a taste that is described as “heather and honey”. Dewar’s also make some single malts, under the labels Aberfeldy 12 and Aberfeldy 21. Today, Dewar’s is owned by Bacardi.

2. Appliance brand : AMANA

The Amana Corporation takes its name from the location of its original headquarters, in Middle Amana, Iowa. Today, the Amana name is very much associated with household appliances. The company was founded in 1934 to manufacture commercial walk-in coolers.

4. Sporks have small ones : TINES

“Spork” is the more common name for the utensil that is a hybrid between a spoon and a fork. The same utensil is less commonly referred to as a “foon”.

9. Features of monarch butterfly wings : SPOTS

The monarch butterfly has very recognizable orange and black wings, and is often seen across North America. The monarch is the state insect of several US states and was even nominated as the national insect in 1990, but that legislation was not enacted.

12. Former Buick sedans : LESABRES

The Buick Special was a car produced by General Motors in various forms from 1936, making a final brief appearance in 1975. The Buick Special was given the name “LeSabre” in 1959, and a “Skylark” option was introduced in 1961. The engine was changed from a V8 in 1962, making the Buick Special the first American production car to use a V6.

15. Sleek fabrics : SATEENS

Sateen is a cotton fabric. It has a weave that is “four over, one under”, meaning that most of the threads come to the surface to give it a softer feel.

27. Jessica of “The Illusionist” : BIEL

Jessica Biel is an actress who was known by television audiences Mary Camden on “7th Heaven”. Biel’s first film role was playing Peter Fonda’s granddaughter in “Ulee’s Gold”. Biel married singer and actor Justin Timberlake in 2012.

35. Language with six tones : LAO

Lao is the official language of Laos. Lao is also spoken in the northeast of Thailand, but there the language is known as Isan.

37. Dallas pro : MAV

The Mavericks are the NBA franchise in Dallas, Texas. The team was founded in 1980, and the Mavericks name was chosen by fan votes. The choice of “Mavericks” was prompted by the fact that the actor James Garner was a part-owner of the team, and Garner of course played the title role in the “Maverick” television series.

42. Nickname for Springsteen : THE BOSS

Bruce Springsteen is a rock singer and songwriter who is famously from New Jersey. A lot of Springsteen’s works are centered on his home state and the American heartland. His most famous album is “Born in the USA”, which was released in 1984. Springsteen lives in New Jersey, with his wife Patti Scialfa and their children.

46. Actor Wheaton : WIL

Wil Wheaton is the actor who grew up playing Ensign Crusher on the best of the “Star Trek” TV series, “Star Trek: The Next Generation”. In recent years Wheaton has become a de facto spokesman for the so-called “geek” or “nerd” community via a blog that he writes called “Wil Wheaton Dot Net”. He has been playing Dungeons & Dragons for years, and is also someone you’ll see at celebrity poker games on TV.

48. Prefix with -nomial : TRI-

As we all recall from our algebra classes, a trinomial expression is a specific form of polynomial, one that has three terms, e.g “2x + 3y – 4z”, or “4a + 7b + c”. We do recall that, right …?

54. Insurance giant whose name begins with a silent letter : AETNA

When the healthcare management and insurance company known as Aetna was founded, the name was chosen to evoke images of Mt. Etna, the Italian volcano.

57. Marble marvel : TAJ MAHAL

The most famous mausoleum in the world has to be the Taj Mahal in Agra, India. The Taj Mahal was built after the death of the fourth wife of Shah Jahan, Mumtaz Mahal (hence the name of the mausoleum). The poor woman died in childbirth delivering the couple’s 14th child. When Shah Jahan himself passed away 35 years later, he was buried beside his wife Mumtaz, in the Taj Mahal.

61. Nail polish remover : ACETONE

Acetone is the active ingredient in nail polish remover, and in paint thinner.

63. Trivia venue : PUB

Trivia are things of little consequence. “Trivia” is the plural of the Latin word “trivium” which means “a place where three roads meet”. Now that’s what I call a trivial fact …

69. Range that’s home to the Mark Twain National Forest : OZARKS

The Ozark Mountains aren’t really mountains geographically speaking, and the Ozarks are better described by the alternate name, the Ozark Plateau. It’s not really certain how the Ozarks got their name, but my favorite theory is that “Ozarks” is the phonetic spelling of “aux Arks”, short for “of Arkansas” in French.

78. Raiders’ org. : DEA

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) was set up in 1973, while President Nixon was in office.

79. Big name in chips : LAY’S

Lay’s potato chips were introduced in 1938 by Herman W. Lay. Lay started selling his chips out the trunk of his car, travelling all over the US. In those days the chips were pretty much handmade, but Lay put an end to that in 1942. He invented the first continuous potato processor in 1948, and chips started to take over the world!

81. Hamlet’s plot in “Hamlet” : REGICIDE

In William Shakespeare’s “Hamlet”, the title character speaks the lines:

I’ll have grounds
More relative than this—the play’s the thing
Wherein I’ll catch the conscience of the King.

Prince Hamlet is trying to prove to himself that King Claudius murdered the former king, Hamlet’s father. He decides to insert a few lines about regicide into a play that is to be performed at court. The hope is that Claudius will react to the reference, hence convincing Hamlet of the new king’s guilt.

85. Bill : TAB

When we run a “tab” at a bar say, we are running a “tabulation”, a listing of what we owe. Such a use of “tab” is American slang that originated in the 1880s.

86. Italian castle town : OTRANTO

Otranto is a coastal city in the very southeast of Italy (in the “heel”). There is a lighthouse just a few miles southeast of Otranto that is the most easterly point in the whole country.

88. Nancy Drew’s boyfriend : NED

I loved the “Nancy Drew” mysteries as a kid (I know, as a boy I “shouldn’t” have been reading girls’ books!). The “Nancy Drew stories” were written by a number of ghost writers, although the character was introduced by Edward Stratemeyer in 1930. Nancy Drew’s boyfriend was Ned Nickerson, a college student from Emerson.

90. Roman Empire invader : GOTH

The East Germanic tribe called the Goths had two main branches, called the Ostrogoths and the Visigoths. The Visigothic capital was the city of Toulouse in France, whereas the Ostrogoth capital was the Italian city of Ravenna just inland of the Adriatic coast. It was the Visigoths who sacked Rome in 410 CE, heralding the fall of the Western Roman Empire.

93. Part of S.S.N.: Abbr. : SOC

Social Security number (SSN)

100. Short-story writer Bret : HARTE

Bret Harte was a storyteller noted for his tales of the American West, even though he himself was from back East, born in Albany, New York. One work attributed to him is “Ah Sin”, a disastrously unsuccessful play written by Bret Harte and Mark Twain. The two writers didn’t get on at all well during the writing process, and when the play was produced for the stage it was very poorly received. Nevertheless, Twain suggested a further collaboration with Harte, and Harte downright refused!

106. Kids’ character who says “People say nothing is impossible, but I do nothing every day” : POOH

Alan Alexander (A.A.) Milne was an English author who is best known for his delightful “Winnie-the-Pooh” series of books. He had only one son, Christopher Robin Milne, born in 1920. The young Milne was the inspiration for the Christopher Robin character in the Winnie-the-Pooh stories. Winnie-the-Pooh was named after Christopher Robin’s real teddy bear, one he called Winnie, who in turn was named after a Canadian black bear called Winnie that the Milnes would visit in London Zoo. The original Winnie teddy bear is on display at the main branch of the New York Public Library in New York.

107. What has casts of thousands? : IMDB

The website called the Internet Movie Database (IMDb) was launched in 1990, and is now owned by Amazon.com. It’s a great site for answering question one has about movies and actors.

108. Hair removal brand : NAIR

Nair is a hair removal product that has some pretty harsh ingredients. The most important active constituents are calcium hydroxide (“slake lime”) and sodium hydroxide (“caustic soda”). Other Nair components seem to be there to soothe the skin after the harsher chemicals have done their job. The name “Nair” probably comes from combining “no” and “hair”.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1. Mike who was the 2017 N.B.A. Coach of the Year : DANTONI
8. Presidential advisory grp. : NSC
11. Covers : ALIASES
18. Worked on some screenwriting? : EMAILED
19. Major work : OPUS
21. Like the French directors Eric Rohmer and Jean-Luc Godard : NEW-WAVE
22. Poseur : WANNABE
23. Kid’s creation out of pillows : FORT
24. Kind of elephant : ASIATIC
25. Last monarch of the House of Stuart : ANNE
26. Destructive sort : SABOTEUR
29. Photographer Adams : ANSEL
30. Lines in geometry : RAYS
31. Android’s counterpart : IOS
32. ___ Xtra (soda) : PIBB
34. Scoundrel : HEEL
36. Worked from home? : UMPED
39. Cease communication : GO DARK
41. Bug-studying org. : NSA
42. Steinbeck novella set in La Paz : THE PEARL
46. Topic for Sun Tzu : WAR
47. Has as a tenant : RENTS TO
49. Shakespearean king : HENRY VI
50. Retired chat service : AIM
51. Military term of address : SIR
52. Perry of fashion : ELLIS
53. “I knew that would happen!” : CALLED IT!
58. “Twelfth Night” twin : VIOLA
62. Thin pancake : BLIN
63. Spa treatment : PEEL
64. Flowery : ORNATE
66. ___ Nation (record label for Jay-Z and J. Cole) : ROC
67. Illegal interference … or what can be found in this puzzle’s 1st, 3rd, 7th, 15th, 19th and 21st rows? : OBSTRUCTION OF JUSTICE
71. Stewbum : SOT
72. Noted brand of guitars : IBANEZ
73. Use an ice pack on : NUMB
74. What a conductor might conduct : HEAT
75. Online admin : SYSOP
77. Where a big bowl is found : PASADENA
79. Indication to bow slowly, say : LENTO
80. Creator of the “Planet Money” podcast : NPR
82. Like a boiled lobster : RED
83. Buoy : HEARTEN
85. Poe ode : TO HELEN
89. Nicknamed : AKA
90. Largest moon in the solar system : GANYMEDE
91. Got down : ATE
92. Discharges : EGESTS
94. Reasons for sneezin’ : COLDS
95. They might be backless : BRAS
97. Fan favorite : IDOL
98. Frequent Twitter poster : BOT
99. Thick hairstyle : SHAG
103. For the case at hand : AD HOC
105. Hooded cloak : CAPUCHIN
109. Home to the historic Moana Hotel : OAHU
110. Connecticut city near New Haven : ANSONIA
112. ___ speak : SO TO
113. Kind of race : MAYORAL
115. Dum-dums : STUPIDS
116. In ___ (entirely) : TOTO
117. Bit of advice before taking off? : DIET TIP
118. Evasive basketball move : HOP STEP
119. Brooding sort : HEN
120. Häagen-Dazs alternative : BREYERS

Down

1. Big name in Scotch : DEWAR
2. Appliance brand : AMANA
3. Word before goat or state : NANNY
4. Sporks have small ones : TINES
5. Suffix with crap : -OLA
6. Bird bills : NEBS
7. Now there’s a thought! : IDEA
8. Sign by a pool : NO FOOD
9. Features of monarch butterfly wings : SPOTS
10. Add salt to, maybe : CURE
11. Santa ___ : ANA
12. Former Buick sedans : LESABRES
13. “Victory is mine!” : I WIN!
14. Covered with water : AWASH
15. Sleek fabrics : SATEENS
16. Closest to base? : EVILEST
17. Dry, as wine : SEC
20. Daze : STUPOR
27. Jessica of “The Illusionist” : BIEL
28. Empty : RID
33. Chocolate purchase : BAR
35. Language with six tones : LAO
36. 180s : UEYS
37. Dallas pro : MAV
38. Limit on what can be charged : PRICE CAP
39. “All right, let’s play!” : GAME ON!
40. Butcher’s stock : KNIVES
42. Nickname for Springsteen : THE BOSS
43. Comics superhero with filed-off horns : HELLBOY
44. Joins forces? : ENLISTS
45. Run off : PRINT
46. Actor Wheaton : WIL
48. Prefix with -nomial : TRI-
50. Joins forces : ALLIES
54. Insurance giant whose name begins with a silent letter : AETNA
55. Spoke tediously, with “on” : DRONED
56. Just for laughs : IN FUN
57. Marble marvel : TAJ MAHAL
59. Cuban province where the Castros were born : ORIENTE
60. Found (in) : LOCATED
61. Nail polish remover : ACETONE
63. Trivia venue : PUB
65. Margarine container : TUB
68. Sign of wind on water : RIPPLE
69. Range that’s home to the Mark Twain National Forest : OZARKS
70. Unit of 74-Across : THERM
76. It stands for January : ONE
78. Raiders’ org. : DEA
79. Big name in chips : LAY’S
81. Hamlet’s plot in “Hamlet” : REGICIDE
84. “To what ___?” : END
85. Bill : TAB
86. Italian castle town : OTRANTO
87. Advance warning : HEADS-UP
88. Nancy Drew’s boyfriend : NED
89. “Finally!” : AT LAST!
90. Roman Empire invader : GOTH
93. Part of S.S.N.: Abbr. : SOC
94. Wrap tightly : COCOON
96. Looks for purchases : SHOPS
98. Crested ___ (Colorado ski resort) : BUTTE
99. Like Santa’s suit on December 26 : SOOTY
100. Short-story writer Bret : HARTE
101. The slightest margin : A HAIR
102. Shows nervousness, in a way : GULPS
104. Taking action : ON IT
106. Kids’ character who says “People say nothing is impossible, but I do nothing every day” : POOH
107. What has casts of thousands? : IMDB
108. Hair removal brand : NAIR
110. Grate stuff : ASH
111. Potent venom source : ASP
114. “___-haw!” : YEE

14 thoughts on “0114-18 NY Times Crossword Answers 14 Jan 2018, Sunday”

  1. 52:49. Breezed through the top. Got caught up in 2 or 3 spots near the bottom. CAPUCHIN was completely unknown to me; I had to get it via crosses and guessing. Favorite was EVILEST for “Closest to base?”. I looked for the theme briefly after finishing but saw nothing. I kept looking for the word “justice” or things that could obstruct justice such as an ALIAS, FORT, WAR (??) but nothing else really fit after that. End the end, I whiffed on the theme.

    Best –

  2. 45:18. I filled in the entire top 2/3 with no trouble. The bottom left had me looking up 86 down and 110 across. Pretty much cruised through what was left. I did not figure out the theme.

  3. 45:22 Sailed through this until the bottom corners. I’ve driven through and near New Haven a million times and never heard of ANSONIA. I used to be a college basketball coach and never used the term HOPSTEP. In the other corner I had never heard of the author and I had trouble seeing two words for DIETTIP. Eventsully got everything but those two corners probably took me 10 minutes.

  4. 37:56, and miraculously, no errors. (Always amazed at Bill’s times; I don’t see how anyone can physically read, figure out and then fill in [whether by pen or by keyboard] 234 entries inside of 16 minutes!!!)

    Toiled **mightily* with the bottom left and far center right. Lots of really esoteric fills in here: GANYMEDE, ANSONIA, LENTO (the clue was pretty tricky….) IBANEZ (if you’re not a musician) … The long center fill occurred to me fairly early, but I couldn’t for the life of me find a single example until they were pointed out here. Pretty neat trick to *create* such a grid, I have to say… but if you’re so all-fired clever that you leave everybody else baffled, what good is all that effort, really? “Much ado about nothing” to quote another Shakespeare play title….

    1. @Allen … Well, for starters, there are only 137 entries, not 234. (Dale and I recently discussed this, among other things, at some length.) And, of course, if the clues were really easy (which, in this case, they aren’t), you could get by with just the 72 “across” clues or just the 65 “down” clues.

      I did today’s 21×21 super-easy Newsday puzzle (on paper) in just under 15 minutes; Bill could probably have done it a lot faster than that and some of the other guys who compete in the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament are a lot faster than he is.

      But yes, I am also impressed by Bill’s times … and I would quarrel with your phrase “everybody else baffled”. (Bill obviously wasn’t … and he figured out the theme, to boot!) … ?

  5. 41:49, no errors. Seemed to breeze through some sections, and then run into total roadblocks. The cross between ANSONIA and OTRANTO was a wild guess. Completely mucked up the lower right corner, initially entering KONA for OAHU, A NOSE for A HAIR, PACES then GASPS for GULPS; and some sort of TRIP before DIET TIP. This puzzle looked, initially, to be easy, turned into a challenge for me.

  6. 51 minutes, 1 error (on the Natick at 110-A/86-D).

    @Allen
    Just to second what Dave says, you’d be surprised what your true “wall” time is on these puzzles, if knowledge of the clues becomes a non-factor. You can tell my skill on the time I posted here, but for Newsday, I run similar times to what Dave posted when I do them (19 minutes on last week’s, handwritten, probably 12-13 if I had a way to do it on computer that I could be comfortable with).

    Of course, as I posted to someone else on here last Tuesday, a lot of a time has to do with being efficient with how you handle doing the puzzle. If you can write/type quicker, focus ahead while you write or a couple of other things, and have a bit of a memory to what the clues were so you don’t have to re-read, your time goes down. Of course, never having to look at certain entries in a grid always helps too.

    1. Had to go ahead and do it since it came up: 19:31, no errors (written) on the same puzzle Dave mentioned. I hit a couple of snags for time, along with a couple of missteps, so I know I could have done it even faster.

  7. I sort of grok what you’re saying about the number of entries… but, one still has to spend a little time “proofreading”, since some cross-fills can turn out to be wrong if you’re not careful. I’ve goofed, and made a number of forced errors by not doing this. Just as one example if you see MAN_E in a line or column, and the missing space isn’t crossed, you could easily fill in a S or a G…. to form MANSE or MANGE… and depending on that clue, be right or wrong. So, in *many* cases, you do have to look at the clues. Not to do so is at one’s own peril… 🙂

  8. As usual, took me many hours (not minutes) and still couldn’t get it and never got the theme. Come on, who ever heard of some of these things? Capuchin, Otranto, Oriente, etc. Who looks at “what a conductor might conduct” and immediately knows it’s “heat”. I thought of train, orchestra, choir, etc. I either have to stop doing these puzzles or stop reading how wonderfully easy you all think they are. Especially when I hear “I really struggled with this one — it took me 24 minutes.” Sheesh.

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