Finally subbed to NYT crosswords, after years of paper, piracy and pining. I probably should have started with yesterday’s to give myself a little ego boost, especially since I apparently can’t even finish a Tuesday, but alas. I’ll probably go back tonight and do some easier ones to get me back into the swing of things.
Today’s was constructed by Robert Cirillo. There was a fairly easy “this clue can come before/after this other clue” theme going on, which was nice, but not very rewarding or helpful as a fill. (Mostly because I have become a terrible, rusty solver.)
And because I like multimedia, and drinking at a OPENBAR at weddings, here’s my friends J&J’s wedding song:
Everything started fairly poorly with the 1A: Ad ASTRA per aspera (Latin, through hardships to the stars). I’m now going to spend some time (and a sporcle) looking at the US State mottos wiki page. I generally had a lot of trouble with the top left corner. “Alas” and “ah” are apparently SIGHTS. While (obviously) Curly hair or hazel eyes are TRAITS and being audibly shocked is AGASP. Meanwhile, 5D: Bad-mouth was a word I’ve literally never heard- ASPERSE, “To falsely or maliciously charge another”. I also didn’t know that a RASTA is a Haile Selassie disciple other than google.
The rest of the puzzle was a little better, especially the bottom half, but I still had trouble with some of these.
EIDER down is apparently one of the most expensive and effective types of pillow stuffing. It can be sustainably harvested from ducks (eider ducks are protected), but not very much per year.
BERTH is another word for a mooring. (Probably should have known this from work, especially since PIERS is a fill later on.)
TROOPER is one who keeps plugging along.
I am pretty sure I am too young to know that PRELL is a cheap, branded shampoo or to know of fictional detective LEW Archer - I kept going back to dashing dickface special agent Sterling Malory. And I am probably too poor and too adverse to skiing to know ESTES Park, Colo.
I also think using Jenna ELFMAN of “Dharma & Greg” is a reference and name that is quickly dating itself and turning into crosswordese. Speaking of, a fairly unusual shortening of station (STN) was used today.
RAP is apparently a radio format?
AIRBAG is an inflatable safety device. This is me being out of practice and failing to properly think in crossword. But me just being plain stupid is missing BIRTH canal or control or that HOG is a sharer’s opposite.
More things I should have known: the SEC was founded in 1934. I distinctly remember writing a paper on this period of legislation for my IB US History class.
OPENBAR is a place to get free screwdrivers, say. Cute. The constructor originally wanted to add in “rusty nail” to the clue, which would have probably confused me more.
Meanwhile, SETSHOT is a basketball term I haven’t heard in a long time. Just in time for NBA opening night (Go Bulls!)
When in doubt, guess LIRAS for various Eurasian currencies (Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Bulgaria, Croatia).
And finally, ALB – (from the Latin Albus, meaning white), one of the liturgical vestments of the Roman Catholic, Anglican, Lutheran, and many Methodist churches, is an ample white garment coming down to the ankles and is usually girdled with a cincture. (Thanks Wikipedia!) I’ve always said I should become a practicing Catholic and learn French to up my crossword game.
Anyway. I ended with a painful number of red triangles in Across Lite, but that’s why I’m doing this. ONE DAY I WILL COMPLETE A SATURDAY. BRING IT ON WILL SHORTZ.
Filed under: crossword